Meet our Spantik guide, and tempt yourself with a 7,000 metre peak!
We are excited to show off our confirmed Spantik expedition, heading out later this year, July 2022.
Spantik gives our aspiring climbers a unique opportunity to climb above 7,000 metres in a straightforward expedition. The route we use, as pioneered by Karl Kramer’s team in 1955, follows the spectacular south-east ridge, encounters few technical obstacles (it’s graded PD) and enjoys a very high success rate.
This fully-supported expedition gives you the chance to not only test yourself at these 7,000 m + altitudes, but also offers a fantastic introduction to this incredible mountain area, its friendly people and fascinating culture. In comparison to other expeditions of this length, the Karakoram is still a relatively inexpensive place to climb, but the treks are just as rewarding!
Keen to join?! We have 2 places up for grabs! As ever, with any expedition, leadership is key to the success and enjoyment. We are delighted to make an introduction to our guide for Spantik, Scott Webster (check out his 360 team profile here!).
Scott has just come back for Antarctica, where he has been working alongside Rolfe for the past 3 months, and we found him for a quick chat on all things adventure and expeditions…
360: Scott – welcome back from the ice! Antarctica must feel like home for you! How was the season??
Scott: Thank you! It’s been a long season but an incredibly rewarding one. Since 2011 I have been going to Antarctica every year – with the exception of 2020 when the Covid-19 pandemic hit. It has been strange to be away from Antarctica for so long but absolutely wonderful to get back down this season. My job as a guide in Antarctica is varied and this season I made 3 ascents of Mount Vinson (highest in Antarctica), an ascent of Mount Shinn (3rd highest) and an ascent of Mount Sidley (highest volcano in Antarctica). Additionally, I spent some time working on the sea ice at an Emperor Penguin colony, visited the South Pole and did a spell as the camp manager for our luxury camp in the mountains.
360: On December 4th last year, you and the teams in Antarctica were treated to clear views of a total solar eclipse. How was the experience?
Scott: It’s actually quite hard to put this experience into words…generally I’m not the sort of person who gets over-excited by things, but the solar eclipse was genuinely mind blowing! To be standing there under blue skies and bright sunshine one moment and then to be plunged into darkness and see the stars becoming visible within seconds was phenomenal!
360: You’ve spent 10 summer seasons and even had 2 winter seasons in Antarctica now! What is it about the location that keeps enticing you back?
Scott: I’m completely addicted to Antarctica! It’s such a beautiful, remote and unspoilt part of our planet where you can really feel the power of nature and our insignificance within it – it’s a very humbling place to be. Over and above the landscape I also feel very fortunate to be part of a small team of amazing people who make the annual migration South.
360: You’ve climbed all over the world – Alaska, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Mongolia, the Caucasus Mountains and the European Alps to name a few! How did you get started!?
Scott: Growing up in Scotland the outdoors has always been a big part of my life. As a child I would enjoy exploring remote parts of the Scottish Highlands with my Dad and skiing in the winter. The progression to adventures in far-flung destinations happened quite naturally. I suppose an expedition to East Greenland when I was 15 really opened my eyes to the world of expeditioning.
360: Can you tell us a little bit of your highlights in the world of mountaineering and adventuring?
Scott: One of the best trips I’ve done involved travelling overland from Scotland to Central Asia. Travelling slowly through 27 different countries provided the opportunity to properly experience the various cultures while also giving us the freedom to explore off the beaten track on our own agenda.
360: We are so excited that you are heading to Spantik to guide our expedition in the spectacular Karakoram. What are you most excited about the climb, and have you any tips for our climbers as they prepare?
Scott: Having not yet been to the Karakoram Mountains myself I am absolutely thrilled to be leading this expedition. Every mountaineer has dreams of visiting this giant mountain range and being amongst some of the world most beautiful and iconic peaks.
My number 1 tip for preparing for this expedition (as with any mountaineering expedition!) is to get as fit as possible. We will climb at a slow pace but the fitter you are, the easier you will find it and therefore the more enjoyable the experience will be.
360: We have a few spots left on this expedition – give us your main reason why you’d jump on board, if you weren’t already 😉
Scott: This expedition provides the perfect opportunity to experience remote, high altitude mountaineering in the greater ranges. The hospitality in the Hunza region of Pakistan is also legendary!
360: Everyone has their style of packing – we are big advocates of lots of stuff sacs! What are your top tips for packing and have you any bits of favourite kit that you think everyone should have?
Scott: Packing an expedition rucksack is a real skill! There are 2 main aims when packing…
firstly – organisation so that you can find what you are looking for without emptying the contents out into the snow! And second – distribution of kit to get the weight in the right places and make it comfortable for long days carrying. Stuff sacks are a great way to organise your pack, and I’d advise also to use items such as down jackets to fill in the odd shaped gaps that develop when packing. Items you aren’t intending to use until you get into camp, like your sleeping bag, should be right at the bottom and items such as water, food, spare gloves etc should be accessible near the top. You also want to keep heavier items at the bottom of the pack where possible.
Every bit of kit I take on an expedition has a purpose and a value! It’s hard to single out one item that is my favourite…but a good insulated coffee mug is pretty important!
360: We all love taking a good book or two with us on expedition, perfect for the long evenings and time out… what’s your go-to expedition read?
Scott: At home I love to read mountaineering and adventure literature but on an expedition it’s nice to occasionally escape into an alternative reality…so on expeditions I like easy to read murder mystery/detective novels! I particularly enjoy the Peter May books set on the Isle of Lewis.
360: And working on the packing theme – when you’re out on remote expeditions, what’s the one luxury item you never travel without?
Scott: I’ve recently started carrying a good quality pillowcase up mountains with me! You can stuff your down jacket inside it to make a very comfortable pillow. Good quality rest is important so I feel the minimal extra weight is totally worth it!
360: One of our favourite travel quotes here at 360 is “Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty & well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out & loudly proclaiming ‘Wow! What a Ride!’
What quote makes you smile, or particularly resonates with you?
Scott: I’m not sure who said this but I love the quote “travel is the only thing we can buy that makes us richer…” In a world of extreme consumerism, where we are constantly subjected to the items we “need” to buy, this quote is a good reminder that experiences count for so much more than material possessions.
360: And finally, when you are back home in Scotland, what’s your go to chill out activity?
Scott: It’s very sad but one of my favourite things to do is chopping firewood! I love being outside doing something active and I find that splitting wood for a few hours is a great way to chill out while also getting a bit of a workout!
Thanks so much to Scott for taking the time to chat – and we can’t wait to get our teams out to Pakistan!!
Not only do we have Scott and his team heading to Spantik, but 360’s Rolfe will be with his group on the mighty Karakoram 8,000m giants Gasherbrum II and Broad Peak, plus we’ll also be trekking to the basecamp of the legendary K2… it’s going to be an epic summer!! Get in touch if you’re keen!
Dream it. Plan it. Live it.