Kitchens are still the center of activity - even on Baltoro. Photo © Ahsan Iqbal 2010

The hiss of the kerosene stove whistles out of the cook tent where two or three or ten porters are cooks are gathered making chipatie, rice, dal, or whatever other delicacy will be laid on our table tonight. The ‘slap-slap’ of fresh chipatie being made mingles with the sound of running water and clinking kitchen utensils. Ibrahim, sporting his red Masherbrum hat and blue white and red striped jacket – and another helper are washing the dishes on another boulder to the left. A blue tarp is spread out outside of the kitchen tent where the dishes go to dry. Five blue barrels form a hedge around our table where Misha, Anisa, Jeff and Rich are playing cards – Iloobilo or the matching game – no doubt. Ahsan and Iza sit at the opposite end taking photos and reading. Ayub is handing out fresh chipatie – dressed as usual in his red fleece and blue boots – the ones we fixed the sole on earlier this week. He comes to deliver me chipatie and a smile and Ignacio , Adil, Ahsan and the guide for the British group head down to the army outpost to see if they can catch a glimpse of Masherbrum and one of the Gasherbrums.

Night has now descended on our camp. Ibrahim and Asif sit across from me, their card game illuminated by two double A batteries and a small lightbulb. We had dinner outside under the sky looking out over the glacier. Tomorrow is a long day to Goro 2.

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