A personal reflection by Dr Kate Baecher of two consecutive alpine emergencies in the Baltoro Region of Pakistan and lessons learnt when engaging commercial operators for expeditions. 

"In late September 2018, I decided - along with a couple of outdoor buddies - to sign onto a 25-day trek into the Baltoro Glacier region of Pakistan. We didn’t plan to do anything too hardcore (no summits, no climbing), just a good, old-fashion walk into some remote, harsh environments. Our ‘goals’ were pretty loose; a circle around Snow Lake. A meander onto Hunza. A traverse of the 5151m Hispar Pass.

As it turned out, two separate, serious incidents book-ended our adventure. Both were easily preventable and both highlighted a number of missed red-flags, poor preparation and a general lack of planning on our behalf. I sit here and write this as a reasonably ‘experienced’ outdoors adventurer. I’ve served in the ADF, travelled fairly extensively, climbed more than a few mountains and volunteered with medical deployments in some downright disgusting places.

However, I also sit writing this red-faced in shame, thinking of the very simple – and stupidly preventable – actions we should have taken but didn’t.

I wonder, a lot.

I wonder if part of the issue was that we had become complacent; that after years and years of self-travel through remote and volatile regions, the idea of being ‘on a trip’ with guides, led to a false sense of security and complacency.

I wonder if (as the sole female of the group), I was just pleased to have two burly alpha-males with me; perhaps I felt that I could step back a bit and let them make the decisions and initiate the necessary interactions.

I wonder if we were all just plain tired and that the trip came at a time when each of us needed different things from the expedition. From life.

I wonder if any of our goals really, ever, aligned."

Read the full article, printed by Austere Risk Management which can be accessed by this link.

Dr Kate Baecher, an ArmaSkin Ambassador, runs her own consultancy that specialises in the provision of psychological support in high risk or complex environments.

Related Posts

25 Jun
ArmaSkin News 25 June 2019
ArmaSkin // 0

ArmaSkin News provides stories from the adventures of our customers across the globe.  From Sweden to the Pacific Crest Trail to the fastest moving place on planet Earth, ArmaSkin wearers are enjoying their journeys blister free. ArmaSkin News brings you these stories as well as details of special offers and upcoming challenges. Click here and

04 May
Working in tough conditions, blister free with ArmaSkin
ArmaSkin // 0

Although ArmaSkin was designed for recreational pursuits from time to time we get good news stories from industry. Recently we heard from Diane of Australian Costing Removal which is a Brisbane based company specialising in removing paint and coatings from steel surfaces such as storage tanks. Hi ArmaSkin I purchased ArmaSkin socks almost in desperation

06 Apr
Camino Walk Underway

Shannon and Chris from the USA have started their 2018 Camino de Santiago trek from Portugal.  In the first couple of weeks they faced very rainy conditions with the paths muddy and at times completely flooded.


Leave a comment

ArmaSkin Anti Blister Liner Socks