An expedition to the Karakoram mountains
The soldier with the sub-machine gun had just left our small bus.
We were travelling on the Karakoram Highway, which is generally thought to be the most dangerous in the world — dangerous, that is, on two fronts: parts of it are subject to attack by insurgents – hence the soldier sent to protect us – and the Highway itself often has frequent landslides which can send a vehicle crashing two hundred feet or more down the mountainside.
In fact, our journey to Askole via Skardu took longer than anticipated when news reached us that the road had become impassable north of Dassu.
Yet this was a journey none of us would miss...
For six weeks we followed Colin Prior as he began a four year project to document the Karakoram mountains. The hardships we faced – both getting to the mountains and on a trek that is described as one of the world's most arduous – soon vanished.
We brought the kitchen sink...
One of our key objectives was to reach Concordia, high up the Baltoro Glacier where – together with a couple of other expeditions – we established what to all intents & purposes was a small village.
It was arduous for both Colin and the film team to work in such a harsh & remote environment. Our work was made more enjoyable by the enthusiasm of our team who did not mind carrying our cameras, tripods, computers, solar panels and other gizmos. We may have been a small team, but this was a full-scale mountaineering expedition!
As the expedition came to an end, we all agreed that the mountains – K2, Trango Towers, Broad Peak and many more – share the spotlight with Colin as the stars of the film.
Working with Colin and the team was one of my most memorable experiences in 30 years of making documentary films in extreme locations.
I hope I have managed to capture both a real flavour of the expedition, together with an understanding of what motivates Colin to undertake a project that will almost certainly define his career as a top photographer.