If one gazes up at the ‘throne room of the mountain gods’, as photographer Galen Rowell had once described it, one might then look down and find oneself staring at a more desolate barrenness. In the direction of Concordia, evidence of an army outpost was unmistakable from the rubbish thrown along the glacier. It was a bilious thing to see, as it would never be consumed by the frozen landscape. There were long rows of mules and horses, poorly kept and emaciated, bearing loads of kerosene. Since 1984, Baltoro has been burdened by military encampments, and by daily helicopter flights and distant noise from artillery strikes, reminding those who come here that the long-simmering conflict between Pakistan and India over the adjacent Siachen Glacier is far from resolution.