Graham’s dream to climb in the Pakistani Karakoram starts as a kid. After reading about it and seeing the incredible photos, it captured his attention immediately. But, perhaps like a lot of people’s dreams sadly, he thought it may never be achievable to climb there.
Fast forward to 2020, Graham joins the podcast to talk about his career and climbing experience in the Karakoram. Through hard-work and drive, he has now taken part in multiple expeditions there, experiencing the fantastic community and brilliant mountains first hand.
One Of The Most Special Places On The Planet
The Karakoram is a mountain range crossing India, China, Pakistan, and even as far as Afghanistan and Tajikistan. Some of the highest mountains in the world reside there, including K2 and other 8000m peaks.
What makes this place special for a climber, as Graham describes, is that most of the rock there is Granite or Granitoid; one of the best rocks for climbing on. Think about El Capitan, or the Mont Blanc Massif.
What comes with this strong and robust rock are some very steep and tall mountains. This is where Graham comes in!
It’s been at the forefront of his mind as a kid. Casting his thoughts back to High School, it was a National Geographic article and photos of some of the bigger peaks that sparked the fire for the Karakoram. But, Graham took a humbling and modest approach and just remained in total awe of the mountain ranges. He didn’t consider whether he should or shouldn’t climb these mountains, but he instead grew a complete appreciate for the range and detail.
Reaching The Karakoram
Before Graham reached the Karakoram, there were a few hurdles. When he first initially was able to go, he first wasn’t able to attain a permit in 2012, which was then followed unfortunately by Nanga Parbat massacre in 2013.
So, when they opportunity arose again, there was much convincing to be done. Not only Graham’s wife and Mum, but also Graham himself. Graham is widely renowned for his safe and expert climbing across the world. That extends to, quite obviously, potential terrorist attacks.
There’s also a lot of preparation both logistically and physically to be done. I cast the question further back and ask if there was a time during any of his climbing where he had ever put skills or ideas aside in case he was to reach the Karakoram.
Graham has worked hard at building progressions into his career. Breaking down his goals in to a step-by-step plan. With climbing in places like Alaska and Patagonia, he had a notion that he was making progress. Looking back, it seems obvious now that he was working towards the bigger mountains of the world.
But the other component, is that climbing is such a passion and just generally so fun for Graham that he’ll find his skills and experience build and grow naturally anyway.
A perfect example of living in the moment.
Then, he has that conversation, and confirms to take part in his first expedition to the Pakistani Karakoram. To say he was excited is an understatement!
Listen to the podcast to hear more detail on Graham’s passion and experience, training, gear, the the mountains themselves.
Graham is such a fascinating and fantastic individual. He has achieved so much, and is only growing his accomplishments as he continues to climb mountains and lead against climate change.
Listen to the podcast to hear in depth his views and answers on his climbing career and climate change. Also, make sure you check out the YouTube video “An Imperfect Advocate” – it’s a really inspiring video, and relatable in many ways.
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