Scores of wild Peacock, which roam the desert of Tharparkar in The Nagarparkar district, are feared dead after the outbreak of one of the deadly bird diseases, The Newcastle Disease, locally known as the Ranikhet.
News of the outbreak reached the Sindh Wildlife department when the local natives came over with the dead birds and apprised the authorities of the weird circumstances.
“Wild peacocks have become susceptible to bacterial and fungal attack, which further suppressed the immunity of the birds that paved the room for viral attack,” said a Wildlife Ministry official.
Scores of birds have reported to have been dead although the government officials deny the severity of the outbreak as portrayed by the media. One of the major reason cited for the swiftness of the outbreak is the lack of immunity among the birds. Delayed Monsoon and lack of vegetation has severly afected the strenght of the birds thereby reducing their immunity towards diseases.
“We are vaccinating wild peacocks protectively for suspected viral disease, as in 2003 when a few peacocks died from the same symptoms that later proved to be Ranikhet,” said Lajpat Sharma, an official in the provincial wildlife ministry.
Newcastle disease is a worldwide problem among birds and sporadic outbreaks can occur frequently. Thar Desert is home of at least a strong 30,000 wild Peacocks adding to the biodiversity and the beauty of the region.
Sindh Wildlife Minister Dr Daya Ram Essarani has strongly denied the death of 100 birds as reported by the local media earlier.
“The confirmed figure is 11 deaths while 14 birds are suffering from Rani Khet, a viral disease that occurs in chickens,” the minister said.
The Minister however, also admitted that there were no facilities for remedial measures within the Wildlife department and therefore help was sought from the Animal Husbandry department.
He added, “The wildlife department has no doctor of its own. Therefore, we sought the help of vets of the animal husbandry department. The animal husbandry department also provided medicines which are sufficient for treating 30,000 peacocks,”
Tharparkar, also considered as the only fertile desert in the world, is also home of some of the rare species of birds and animals which are fast vanishing in other parts of India, are found in the desert in large numbers such as the Blackbuck (Antilope cervicapra), the Indian Gazelle (Gazella bennettii) and the Indian Wild Ass (Equus hemionus khur) in the Rann of Kutch.
The Thar desert is also home of no fewer than 141 migratory and resident birds which includes eagles, harriers, falcons, buzzards, kestrel and vultures. Short-toed Eagles (Circaetus gallicus), Tawny Eagles (Aquila rapax), Spotted Eagles (Aquila clanga), Laggar Falcons (Falco jugger) and kestrels.
Indian Peafowl (Peacock) is one of the most magnificent and prominent birds in the desert and can be often spotted sitting on trees and around villages.
Iranian Big Wall Climbers pulled in a meteoric effort to scale one of the Granite Spires of the Trango Towers, also known as the Nameless Tower, thus becoming a handful of climbers and mountaineers in the Karakorum this year to summit a peak.
The team comprising of Hasan Gerami , Hosein Bolandakhtar , Abbas Mohamadi, Sed Saed Najafi, Mojtaba Saghafi , Saeid Mahmoodi, Hamid Shafaghi, Mehdi Farhadi, Ali Karimi, Pejman Zaafari, Farshad Meyjooji and Hamid Amiri started the expedition on June 7, 2012, in Islamabad, Pakistan and finally managed to reach the 6200m Granite tower on July 14th at around 3-4 pm local time. They later successfully descended to the famous Sun Ledge of the tower.
The achievement is being considered as a watershed in the history of hard climbing in Iran and the mode has been that of fiesta and celebration.
The Nameless Tower which soars to 6200m starting from a low of 1200m, required colossal hard climb with a maximum of difficulty level. Out of the eight most followed routes on the tower, the Iranians followed the Slovenian Route, pulling in the feat neatly and within the schedule.
Nameless Tower was first successfully climbed in the year 1976 by the legendary
British climber Joe Brown, along with Mo Anthoine, Martin Boysen, and Malcolm
One notable route is Eternal Flame (named after a Bangles album), first climbed on 20 September 1989 by Kurt Albert and Wolfgang Güllich. This route ascends the South-East Face of the Tower, and was climbed almost entirely free (in stages, using fixed ropes to return to a base each night). This helped inaugurate an era of pure rock-climbing techniques and aesthetics on high-altitude peaks.
Gasherbrum-1, the 11th highest mountain in the world is fast becoming a notorious one too after denying summit to consecutive hard climbers in a span of eight months. Canadian Louis Rosseau, who was attempting to summit the 8,080m peak last week and was hoping to locate the missing winter expedition on the mountain, has now decided to give up after being swept away by a huge avalanche.
This is the second expedition on G-1 after Austrian Gerfried Goshcl and two other teammates Swiss Cedric Hahlen and Pakistani Nisar Hussain lost their lives in March this year. Their bodies were never found despite several recon flights over the 8000er.
Rosseau, a long-time friend of Goschl and who scaled the adjacent G-2 in the previous summer along with Goschl, was hoping to pitch this recon expedition in order to find the truth and probably the remains of his friend.
Following the most frequently adopted route via the Japanese Couloir, Rosseau and his team was hit by a massive avalanche and were swept some 500m down, fortunately however, no casualties were sustained.
"The great news is that no one was seriously hurt. The bad news is that our summit push ended when a large avalanche swept down the Japanese Couloir, knocking 5 of the 6 climbers down the mountain. Over the last 5 or so days, we moved up from BC to Camp 1, spending a night there, then on to Camp 2, where we spent 2 nights
waiting for good weather”.
Rosseau backed up by Rob, Jacob, Mehdi, Luca, and Jacek set out to cross the Japanese Couloir early at 3 am in the morning, following an encouraging weather report on July 18th.
The team had moved steadily up and reached Camp-2 in a matter of few days and was hoping to summit the peak depending on the weather reports ahead.
Describing the horrific ordeal, Rosseau said, “I was looking down at the rest of the team when I felt the initial surge of snow against me. The first feeling was of a small wave against my body. As I turned, the full force of the wave of snow hit me and knocked me off my position. The 5 climbers below me were quickly knocked down and sent into a freefall down the Couloir. Only Jacob, who was just to my left and saw the snow coming, was able to dig in his ice axes and avoid being taken down”.
Rosseau being the expedition leader has now decided to abandon the expedition citing fresh snow over the peak, posing serious threat to the climb.
For the moment, Rosseau has returned and now regards G-1 as his own Annapurna after second consecutive failed attempt to scale the mountain. Rosseau also attempted to summit the peak last year but had to abandon the mission at 6600m.
This was Rosseau’s third unsuccessful attempt to scale the mountain. He has now decided to be complacent with 13 eight-thousanders in his career and has vowed never to return to G-1.
He added, “G1 is my own Annapurna. It took everything from me and I have to rebuild myself again. Yesterday in BC during dinner, two important new friends told me, 'Louis now you'll you have to find yourself'. This is exactly what I will do... and the adventure continues. Next update will be from Skardu, I’m leaving BC tomorrow!"
Everest Summiteer Cathy O’Dowd may not have made it all the way to the summit of the mighty Nanga Parbat, but surely paved the way for her teammates Rick and Sandy Allen who have now reportedly scaled the 8,125m summit via the Mazeno Ridge for the first time.
Cathy and her team comprising of Rick, Sandy and three sherpas from Nepal, undertook the unprecedented feat of scaling the world’s second deadliest and ninth highest mountain via the 10km long Mazeno Ridge.
Starting off with supplies of seven days which could be stretched to 11 days, Cathy gave in just few hundred meters short of the summit, giving into weariness and an unfortunate failed attempt.
Mazeno Ridge which is considered as the longest ridge on any of the 8000ers in the world and has no fewer than eight 7000m peaks in her lap, was never climbed all the way to the summit before.
Marred by unforeseen circumstances where Cathy’s tweeter messages were misinterpreted, a failed attempt on July 11th and almost out of supplies and gas, Cathy decided to abandon the expedition and headed to the Base Camp via the Diamir Face.
Rick and Sandy however persisted to pull in a last attempt to scale the summit despite of bad weather forecasts. The duo reached the summit of Nanga Parbat on Saturday July 14 at 6.12 pm.
Exhausted and drowsy, three Pakistani Mountaineers Sadiq Sadpara (renowned Mountaineer from Baltistan and brother of Everest summiteer) and Shabbir Sadpara from Skardu, with Shams from Chilas rushed to BC and high camp with supplies and helped Sandy Allan and Rick Allen safely back to BC.
The first woman to summit Everest from both South (1996) and North (1999), Cathy O'Dowd of South Africa did the climb - considered the longest ridge on any 8000er - with British Rick Allen, Sandy Allan and Nepali climbers Lhakpa Rangdu, Lakpa Sherpa and Nuru Sherpa.
World’s most beautiful mountain, arguably though, Laila Peak is back in the business again, but this time around-for all the wrong reasons. A group of four snowboarders and sky skiers are now attempting to ski the 6096m mountain, which, if successful, will be an unprecedented feat undertaken on Laila Peak.
Paul Holding (splitboarder), Brendan O’Sullivan (splitboarder), Edward Blanchard Wrigglesworth and Luca Pandolfi (snowboarder)
are now climbing their way up the tricky cliff to ski their way down a the North-west Face.
The four climbers/sportsmen reached the Base Camp of Laila after trekking the perilous terrain of Baltoro and Biafo Glacier for a long seven days and are now all set to acclimatize and attempt to reach the top in a short period of 18 days.
Paul shared some details of their ordeal to reach the remote mountainous region of the Karakorum.
“I’ll spare you the details of the trip there (and back. It was the same) but suffice to say after an epic 26.5 hrs non-stop drive on the famous Karakoram highway to Skardu which was pretty uncomfortable and sleep deprived with the odd armed
police escort, we were all more than ready to get to Laila Peak base camp, recover, rest and acclimatize”.
Following in the footsteps of late Fredrik Ericsson who attempted to scale the mountain in 2010 and whose attempt was thwarted by avalanche risk but inspired splitboarder Paul Holding and his friends to attempt the feat. Ericsson later lost his life in an attempt to snow-board the mighty K-2.
Laila Peak may present a beautiful sight to the adventure lovers and photographers but poses a serious challenge to the mountaineers and snow-boarders alike. The huge serac at the top of the peak, piled up in a span of several decades can be easily converted into a colossal avalanche by a simple crack at the bottom.
The severity of the situation can be amply described by Ericsson and his partner Trey Cook’s views regarding their failed attempt in 2010.
Trey said, “The northwest aspect of Laila is a massive, flat and featureless 45-50 degrees-steep tabletop and it was easy to imagine that any kind of fracture would release the entire face. It’s times like these that I find it useful to pause for a moment to reflect on my priorities in life”.
Regardless of whether Paul and his teammates will be successful in their mission, Laila Peak’s astounding beauty has awestruck the team for the moment.
Paul says, “It’s not a particularly well known mountain outside the climbing world but I think all would agree that seen from this perspective, Laila Peak would be vying for top spot on the podium of a Miss Mountain World competition”.
Alpine Club of Pakistanannounced today, the successful assent of the 7,027m Spantik Peak, jointly undertaken by the Pakistani and Chinese climbers.
The press release stated:
“The China Pakistan Friendship Expedition to Spantik Peak, by the Grace of Allah, has successfully scaled the summit of 7,027 metre high Spantik Peak today. In a call from the mountain summit, the Expedition leader Lt Col (Retd) Dr Abdul Jabbar Bhatti said that the Expedition members took turns to reach the summit between 1:45 pm to 2:15 pm on Sunday 15th July. Earlier the summit team, which had started from Camp II (5,600 meters) on 14 July established Camp III (6,200 metres) the same day and started for the summit from Camp III today in the morning. The summit party comprising five Chinese and five Pakistani members including two high altitude porters successfully hoisted flags of China and Pakistan jointly on the Spantik summit. It was partial cloudy with light snow fall throughout their ascent from Camp III. The Expedition is scheduled to descend to Camp II today by evening and to the Base Camp on 16 July. All its members are stated to be in good health.
It may be mentioned that the Expedition has been launched to celebrate the 60th Anniversary of the Establishment of the Diplomatic Relations between China and Pakistan, under the aegis of Government of Gilgit Baltistan. It comprises six Chinese and six Pakistani members and is being led jointly by Mr Luo Shen of the Chinese Mountaineering Association and Lt Col (Retd) Dr Abdul Jabbar Bhatti, Vice President, Alpine Club of Pakistan. The Expedition which had set out from Islamabad for Skardu on 27 June had reached Mt Spantik Base Camp situated at a height of 4,200 metres on the Chogolungma glacier on Tuesday 3rd July. Later they established their Camp I (5,400 metres) on 5th July and Camp II (5,600
metres) on 8th July.
In his message, Lt Col (Retd) Manzoor Hussain, President Alpine Club of Pakistan has congratulated both the Chinese and Pakistani leaders for climbing the peak with maximum of their team members in a record time of 13 days. He commended Expeditionâ€â„¢s close knit joint cooperation and hard work of making route and humbling the peak together. He hoped that their success will not only bring the mountaineering communities of China and Pakistan more closer, but will also assist in planning many joint China Pakistan mountaineering and climbing projects in the future, in line with the close friendly relations that exist between China and Pakistan.
Spantik or Golden Peak is a mountain in Spantik-Sosbun Mountains
sub range of Karakoram. Its northwest face features an exceptionally hard climbing route known as the "Golden Pillar". It lies east of Diran and northeast of Malubiting.
The summit was also scaled last year by Australian Pakistan Expedition led by Army High Altitude School Rattu .Lt Col Abdul Aziz.
The “Killer Mountain” has now pulled in a hat-trick as Romanian Zsolt Torok who was attempting to scale the mountain from the Daimir side, has now abandoned the mission, marking third unsuccessful expedition on Nanga Parbat in eight months.
Following consecutive failures to climb the mountain from the infamous Diamir Face where he barely escaped a 300m Avalanche and had to bivouac at 5900m, Torok finally decided to abandon the expedition in wake of bleak weather reports for next two weeks.
Earlier on Wednesday, July 11, South African Cathy O’Dowd who was attempting the summit via the Mazeno Ridge for the first time in the history, also succumbed to the unflinching giant, who denied access to its peak.
Cathy and her team Rick Allen and Sandy Allen and two Nepali Sherpas were trudging along the Ridge for continuous eight days and were now short of supplies.
Going a further four months back, Italian climbing legend Simone Moro and his climbing partner Cory Richards who were hoping to bag the first winter assent of the Nanga Parbat returned empty handed, after consecutive attempts to scale the summit.
Torok, who was also part of the K-2 Romanian Expedition in 2010, was accompanied by two American climbers but waned to scale the summit in a solo run. Torok insists he will return next year to fulfill his dream.
Confused, disgruntled and weary, Cathy O’ Dowd decided to abandon the expedition on the Mazeno Ridge on Nanga Parbat and is now descending from a height of 7,950m, a few hundred meters short of the peak.
Confusion stepped in on Wednesday, July 11 when Cathy’s Twitter message was wrongly translated from Catalan. The message read:
“Summit! NP climbed via Mazeno ridge for 1sttime. We did it!!”
Later, however, Cathy’s associates apologized for the wrongly interpreted message as the tweeted location of Cathy and her team marked a spot almost 1000m away from the summit.
The same day Cathy tweeted again saying:
“Now most successful Mazeno exp ever, only team to finish ridge & climb on up peak. V tired & high winds coming so summit not inevitable”.
The subsequent tweets later confirmed that the team has now completed their climb on the Mazeno Ridge but have not scaled the peak as yet.
The team comprising of Sandy Allan, Rick Allen two Nepali Sherpas and Cathy herself have been trudging on the longest Ridge on any 8000er in the world for consecutive 11 days and were now short of supplies to carry on with the mission.
Continuous snow fall and unpredictable weather also hampered the progress of the expedition. As if this was not enough, two f the Nepali Sherpas accompanying the expedition mistakenly took the wrong path leading to strenuous climb for no reason.
For the moment, Cathy has abandoned the mission and will be returning to the Base Camp via the Diamir Face.
“It’s over for me, not in the triumphant way. Left high camp 1am turned round 7am, too tired cold windy. 11th day since we left BC”.
She added, “The new route isn’t yet lost: Rick Sandy Rangduk Zarok all still climbing - tough bastards the lot but all tired, & the wind still blows”.
The first woman to climb the Everest from both North and South, Cathy had been contemplating to take the ninth Highest and the second deadliest mountain in the world in a fashion never undertaken before.
The Mazeno Ridge, considered as the longest Ridge on any of the 8000ers in the world, has never been climbed all the way to the summit standing at an elevation of 8,125m above sea level.
The ridge is known to have no fewer than eight 7000ers in its lap.
Nathiagali and the adjacent hill resorts are one of the most sought after tourist destinations in the country and the tourists are flocking the hill station as the approaching Holy month of Ramadan will be inadvertently cutting the season short.
The hotel owners and guest houses have now increased their rates two-fold citing an early end to the season due to Ramadan.
The plains of Punjab and Sindh in particular, witnessed soaring temperatures in the month of June and the increased load-shedding forced many to move to these serene hill stations and cool off their irritated nerves.
“We’ve been here for the last two weeks,” said Sajawal Butt a Lahore-based businessman, adding that it had become unbearable for his children to pass hot days with frequent power outages and the rising
mercury back home.
Shumaila Kanwal, a college professor said that her husband, a civil servant had booked a room for their family of four, where they were enjoying the beauty of the Nathiagali.
The electricity short-fall has in fact proved to be a welcome respite for the hotel-owners in Murree and Nathiagali and the street vendors have also observed steep profits in wake of the heavy tourist influx.
A hotel room which would have cost around 4000 to 6000 in the same season last year, now costs around 8000 to 15000.
“How can I pay salaries to my staff, pay utility bills? Prices have soared and the peak season has been delayed and is expected to last till the 15th or 18th of the month,” said Sardar Waheed, the owner of a guest house.
He added that a typical tourism lasts a good 50 days-running from the end of April till the middle of June. However, the season has been cut short to about 25 to 17 days, owning to a late summer and an early Ramazan.
Also the disruption of the Ayubia Chairlift due to an accident last week, also triggered mass shifting of the tourists to Nathiagali. The chairlift is back in operation despite an on-going enquiry which has not yielded any result as yet.
After a near-fatal accident where a woman and her son almost lost their lives, the Galiyat Development Authority (GDA) has allowed the Ayubia Chairlift authority to resume operations, although the case is still in pending and the verdict is still to be determined regarding the person responsible of the accident.
The chairlift resumed operation on Friday, July 6 just after three days of the accident where the rope connecting the chairlift, snapped over the pulley. The chairlift bearing Afia Bibi and her five-year-old son Hamza Faisal fell some 10 feet and although both survived the fall, Afia has incurred severe injuries to her spinal cord and was moved to Ayub Medical Hospital and later to Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences Islamabad.
Abbottabad DCO Syed Imtiaz Shah ordered the service to be suspended after the incident. Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Senior Minister Bashir Ahmed Bilour also ordered an inquiry.
While the inquiry in the matter is still in progress, the resumption of the chairlift operation turns out to be a serious joke with the lives of the innocent tourists who flock the famous and one of the oldest functional chairlifts in the country.
GDA Director Ikhlaq Khan denies that the chairlift has been extended approval by the GDA to resume operations and said will look into the matter. The chairlift however, is fully functional at the moment and despite of heavy charges per head, people are flooding the resort everyday.
Spread over nearly 33 square kilometres, Ayubia National Park, popularly known as Ayubia, comprises four picturesque hill stations, Ghora Daka, Khanaspur, Khaira Gali and Changla Gali.
The current chairlift, situated on a spur in thick alpine forests, was installed in the 1960s at Ghora Daka. Having a length of one and a half kilometres, the manually operated chairlift consists of 55 two-seater units and attracts tourists of all ages and income groups from across the country. The two-way trip takes about half an hour.
In winter, the units hover over a beautiful white blanket covering the hills beneath; picnickers from all over the country flock to Ayubia for the splendid view.