Its been four months since my last post - the long months of summer. It’s a busy time both job and family wise and also being the school holidays but as it winds down into autumn the chances to start going back to the local hills start again.
It’s also the time to start seriously training for the upcoming season objectives. A small group of us are planning a trip to the Northern areas of Pakistan. There, we will trek up the Baltoro glacier considered the most concentrated arena of great peaks in the world including K2 , and then and up over the Gondogoro pass and into Hushe valley. From Hushe we will move onto Kandi glacier to do some mountaineering. During the trip I plan to try and make a film about the local Balti mountain people who are the Pakistani equivalent of the Sherpa’s in Nepal - even to the extent of being Tibetan . These unheralded people form the bulk of the mountain workers in the Karakorum and they mostly come from the villages of Kandi and Hushe which we will be visiting.. The idea of the film is to show the contrasts ‘s between their humble village lives and the harsh environments on the glaciers where they labor every year to make their meager incomes. The trip is planned for July and August of this year.
The late summer has also seen two rather sad events.
One was the passing of an old friend , Lee Chapman who I have known since I first started cycling some 38 years ago. A more interesting and positive person I’ve rarely meet, and his passing was a great loss to all who knew him.
More recently,in Christchurch some 400kms south of my town of Motueka, a lone killer massacred 50 people in an act of terror here for no other reason than their Muslim religious beliefs. Here in New Zealand far from the problems that beset so many peoples of the world it has often been easy to believe that terror and violence of this magnitude would never visit these Islands. It has come as a great shock to us all to see that even here at the far ends of the earth extreme hatred and bigotry can be turned into cold blooded murder. There is hope though in the great reaction by the people of New Zealand on the whole to this violence. Special mention must be also made that the Muslim community which is very small here but has taken this loss very well not asking for retribution or punishment but only for sympathy and due justice .