Ok, so this is the era of modern technology and social media. People discuss important stuff no more in a press-conference, they rather do it here on social media (ahem ahem). So ladies and gentlemen, let me take this opportunity to announce before the world – we have locked our expedition for the year 2016 and we are going to Chilinji (Inshallah) !!!! 🙂
Those who have met me would know there is a long list of to-dos in my trekking wish-list. It is therefore an interesting exercise every year to decide which pass to attempt. Many factors play their part. One important factor for me is the remoteness and not-so-commonly-traversed thing. And this is the reason I have not yet done K-2 basecamp and don’t plan to do it anytime in near future (confessions of an old trekker).
I started trekking back in 2005 with Fairy Meadows. I continued with smaller few-day treks for a couple of years in Kashmir and Kaghan. In 2008, I couldn’t do any trek other than that of my wedding (the biggest trek :] ). And then since year 2009, I have not had any break in major treks. It was Shimshal Pass in 2009, Karomber in 2010, Biafo Hispar in 2011, Mazeno in 2012, Haramosh in 2013, Dadreli in 2014 and Asumber in 2015. We couldn’t cross Haramosh in 2013 due to bad weather. We took a big group of 12 members and that experiment didn’t go very well. I decided to keep team short for treks and so we were only three the following year for Dadreli. Last year I tried the new heights of freedom with a solo trekking trip to Asumber Pass and really enjoyed it. Solo trekking however cannot work for bigger passes plus going with an amazing circle of close friends has its own charm and gives one a chance to spend some quality time with them. So this year, we will be going in a mid-size group (6-8 people) to Chilinji.
Our plan is to attempt this trek in late August. We will start from Chapursan valley, will cross Chilinji to descend into Ishkoman and will eventually cross the Karomber to end up in Kishmanja (Chitral). It’s going to be a long expedition involving 8-9 trekking days. Back in year 2011 when we did Karomber Lake trek, Chilinji was part of our original plan. We were on our plan till Sokhtarabad and Swinj when the local porters refused to go with us for Chilinji because of apparent difficulty from this side and we were forced to end up in Ishkoman. Karomber lake and Broghil turned out to be such fascinating places that we are very much tempted to be there again though through a different route.
Chilinji has remained inaccessible because of security concerns for past many years. It borders Afghanistan’s Badakshan province. Though this side has remained all peaceful even on the Afghan side, our security agencies didn’t allow the trekkers to pass through. Last year however, a couple of groups managed to get permission and cross Chilinji successfully. That gave us the required motivation and we are all set to attempt it this year Inshallah. Fingers crossed 🙂