China 2000

Expedition leader: Paul McGreavy
Assistant Leaders: Bronwyn White, Izzy Murray, Andy Cass
Trainee leaders: Adam Milner, Helen Margerison
Expeditioners: Donna Barker, Tommy Hunter, Jonathan Scrimshaw, Josie Nevill, Vikki Johnson, Jamie Knibbs, Caroline Sherrard, Clare Gould, Loveday Redgate, Laura Benson, David Evans, Tom Banister, Tom Revell, Rosa Clements, Gemma Richmond, Tom Wiseman, Sarah Blick.

Expedition leaders comments

Having spent upwards of 18 months planning the YSES 2000 Expedition to K2 it took less than 2 minutes in Yecheng for the purpose of the expedition to come crashing down around my ears.

Li Li-Jun and Zhuang Shen the expeditions Chinese guides informed me that the single track road between Yecheng and the road head at Mazar had been washed away and that some 20km of road was missing! Our plan to travel to Mazar in order to meet our camel train was in tatters, the journey being too dangerous. I had to break to news to the expedition members, which I was dreading. They had spent the last 12 months raising a massive amount of money and undergone some very wet training weekends in order to trek to K2 base camp.

The unanimous reaction of the expeditioners speaks volumes for their attitude and performance throughout the trip. Yes they were disappointed, but the general reaction was “lets get on with it and do something else”. Which is what we did.

I hope that the revised itinerary contained an element of all the challenges that we would have faced in the Karakoram. We still met the inhabitants of remote and beautiful areas of China, trekked in the mountain and desert environments and travelled with camels, plus a range of other experiences that make, expeditioning such a rewarding activity.

I was certainly pleased with, and proud of the way which the expeditioners conducted themselves throughout the highs and lows of the “Not K2 2K Expedition”! The flexibility of the expedition members was complemented by the skill of the leader team. None of us would have achieved our personal goals had we not had Izzy, Andy, Bron, Adam, and Helen to help us. Their enthusiasm, experience and resilience helped me at times when my moral hit rock bottom. Thank you!

Paul McGreavy
Extracts from the Expedition Log Book
31st July

An hour after we had climbed aboard the buses for the last leg of our journey to Kashgar we were stopped by a landslide across the road.

We managed to get the vehicles over the first part of the blockage by pushing and towing them, but the second part of the landslide proved to be more difficult. We ended up having to almost build a new road higher up the slope. One broken hub cap and a damaged bumper, (and Adams thumb), later we were back under way wondering when we would stop for lunch.

A few more Kilometres down the road and all thoughts off food disappeared, the Ghez river was in the process of washing away the road as we watched. The KKH was getting narrower and narrower as chunks fell into the fast flowing river.

We had to abandon our vehicles and carry our bags to the other end of the fast disappearing road whilst it was still passable. This had to be one of the scariest moments of the trip so far, way scarier than the toilets!

We settled down for a long wait for fresh transport, we waited until 7pm for our lunch!
4th August

(The following was apparently dictated to Jamie Knibbs by Shaun the Sheep)

“Baaa . . . I’m fed up of being tied to a tree. Baaaa… the journey to this place was bad enough… stuck in the back of a truck for six hours has made my woolly coat dirty and knotted. Baaa…. I haven’t a clue where I am now, all I know that it is dry and sandy with not much to eat.

There are lots of humans wandering around here. I wish that they would feed me. Wait a minute, one of the humans is approaching me. He’s got a bright pointed object. I think that he has come to free me – Wait a minute – HELP! NO!! Baaaarbaric!!! . . . Sheep Heaven”.
10th August

We loaded all our bags onto the horses and set off to walk up a side valley to Bogda Feng Base Camp. The cloud was very low and later in the day it began to rain.

We soon came to our first river crossing, it looked easy . . .However!!!

Between well rounded, greasy boulders the water was deep, cold and fast. Donna experienced these features first hand. Then Loveday also took to the water and managed to trap herself between two boulders. It took us quite sometime to get her out.

We decided to cross the next river on horse back!
12th & 13th August

We set off towards Bogda Feng Base Camp up a valley that provided us with never ending false summits. The snow remained frozen as we continued up hill.

There were no obvious tracks, so we had to explore the route by trial and error. One false summit later and we’d made it, Bogda Feng Base Camp. The mountain’s glacier swept into a green lake, with snow reaching from the lakeshore to the mountain summit. We had spotted a nice green patch on which to pitch our tents, but on closer inspection it was prone to avalanches. We eventually erected YSES camp 1 by a memorial to a Japanese climber who had died on the mountain in 1987.
20th August

Our last morning at Tian Chi. The weather this morning was sunny and warm. We took down our tents and carried everything to the lakeside to load onto the boat that was to take us to the road.

The boat had to make two journeys. The first group crossed without problems and with no baggage. The second group loaded themselves and the baggage onto the boat – the boat became stuck on the lake bed.

The ferryman threw all the people off the boat and poled it off the rocks. He then made six people get onto the boat and took them off-shore.

We watched as he made them get out of the boat at the foot of a cliff. He then turned around and came back for us, leaving the six expeditioners marooned. We got on the boat and he returned for the castaways.

We unloaded the boat at the northern end of the lake and after a long wait we loaded the bags onto a golf buggy. This was our transport down the hill to where we could meet our bus.

This took four journeys, the last one involved The Expedition Madman and the Ginger Ninja sitting on top of a pile of rucksacks on the buggy as it swayed down the hill to the carpark. Lots of Chinese tourists were pointing and laughing at the sight.