Saturday, February 4, 2023

Pakistan’s tallest peaks attract record 1,400 foreign mountaineers this summer

Pakistan climbing season touches new heights with 1000 plus foreign mountaineers initiating expeditions on lofty peaks

Pakistan is enjoying a heavy climbing season with nearly 1400 overseas mountaineers putting up bids to scale its lofty peaks — including hundreds on the 8,611-metre (28,251-feet) K2, the world’s second highest peak.

“It is a record number,” Raja Nasir Ali Khan, tourism minister of the Gilgit-Baltistan region, told reporters.

The country is home to five of the world’s 14 mountains higher than 8,000 meters, and climbing them all is considered the ultimate achievement of any mountaineer.

57 expeditions were planned for 23 Pakistan peaks this season, according to Secretary of the Alpine Club of Pakistan, Karrar Haidri, with 370 climbers having a crack at K2, known as “the savage mountain”.

In addition to being far more technically difficult to climb than Everest, the savage mountain’s weather conditions are notoriously fickle and has only been scaled by 425 people since 1954 while more than 6,000 people have climbed Everest till date after Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay first reached the top in 1953 — some of them multiple times.

Around 200 climbers will attempt to scale the 8,051-metre Broad Peak, while similar numbers will try Gasherbrum-I (8,080 meters) and Gasherbrum-II (8,035 meters).

Mountaineers summiting the K2

A Lebanese-Saudi fitness expert, Nelly Attar alongside mountaineers from Pakistan and nearly a dozen other countries, is on her way to summit K2, the ‘Savage Mountain’.

Climbers representing Pakistan as well as the United Kingdom, New Zealand, United States, Nepal, Lebanon, Philippines, Hong Kong, Estonia, Argentina, Turkey, and Australia are part of the group.

“I am embarking on the most challenging journey to climb K-2 on June 20,” Attar told Arab News during an interview in Islamabad last month.

“I feel like there’s so much unknown, there’s so much to this journey that we will be embarking on, so I’m very excited,” she added.

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