Between The Mountains Adventure Podcast

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October 24, 2020  

Ep.72 - Investigating Glaciers In The Karakoram - The Karakoram Anomaly Project

October 24, 2020

If you started your career as a photographer, would you ever imagine you would find yourself in the Pakistani Karakoram, photographing glaciers, projects and mountain climbing? This episode brings together some of your main interests: mountains, glaciers, science, and expeditions. 

Hear how Tim and the team lived in isolation on the glacier for 2.5 months, measuring the glacier's movement, and making a first climb attempt on Yukshin Gardan Sar (7530m). 

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Before We Start 

Before we get into the episode, I want to mention the sponsor for this one: Sidetracked Magazine. Sidetracked is dedicated to adventurous storytelling at it's very best. They use stunning imagery and personal stories from expeditions and journeys from around the globe, and you can tell

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Getting To The Glacier 

Tim Taylor comes back for a second episode to chat about the Karakoram Anomaly Project. Previously, we interviewed Tim on his background and career. But he's not just a photographer, which makes him perfect for projects like these. Alongside his fantastic photography, Tim is also a Royal Marine Reservist and mountain climber, who had not long returned from the Himalayas before getting on board with the Karakoram Anomaly Project. 

Tim starts by describing the beautiful yet baron scenery you find in the Karakoram. The journey in was also a bit shaky, narrowly avoiding a flash flood on the way. 

The Karakoram Anomaly 

The project was a mission to investigate a little known but deadly hazard unique to regions with big glaciers. Glacial Lake Outburst Flood (GLOFs), or 'inland tsunamis' as they are known, was the potential threat and occurs when an ice dam containing a glacial lake breaches. The subsequent surge of water rushes downstream, destroying anything in its path. It is thought that over 80,000 people in the Karakoram are at risk from glacial lake outburst floods. 

The Anomaly actually comes from what the glacier itself appeared to be doing. Satellite data looked like they could be growing in length, but unsure whether it was stretching or gaining volume. This was what caused the concern; if it was stretching, then the ice dam cold already be building glacial lake water behind it!  

We talk about the floods that had occurred already from this glacier, referencing an article his friend did with UK Climbing. The glacier has the potential to do a lot of damage, which made the work the team did here even more paramount. 

But this type of weather seems to be the norm here. Just 4 hours after a huge landslide, Tim remarked how they had already opened the road again. Good to go! The journey and roadtrip to the Yukshin Glacier itself was enough of an expedition; at that point it would have made for an epic story back home. 

Hear more about this fascinating and captivating project in the podcast below! To top it off, hear how the team got stuck in a storm while attempting a first climb on Yukshin Garden Sar 

We have covered the Pakistani Karakoram before on the show, but this episode was such a pleasure to record and learn and dream. 


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