The year 2014 is incontestably a matter of celebration for climbers and mountaineers when some 60 years ago first successful expedition stepped foot on top of the most savage and merciless mountain of all- The Dreaded K-2. In the month of July 1954, Italian Expedition led by the legendary Ardito Desio conquered the mighty K-2 which has already devoured countless mountaineers and climbers by that time.
It was a feat of great courage and endurance to tame the gigantic 8,611m granite pyramid, overpowering numerous challenges enroute to the top. Those were the testing times for Italians who have come out of the second World War, stricken and wounded. This victory was a much-needed catalyst to restore the long lost national pride for the Italians.
Sadly though, the country that owns the mountain and which has seen hundreds of successful expeditions to the top of this second highest mountain on earth, has never been able to find a handful f climbers who would scale the peak and claim the honour. Marking the 60th anniversary of the first assent, EvK2Cnr- an autonomous non-profit organization operating in the Hindukush, Karakorum and Himalaya regions will be organizing Pakistan’s first K2 Expedition in summers this year.
With the back up support of the Italian mountaineering experts and climbers, the first Pakistani K-2 expedition will be led by Muhammad Taqi while the rest of the expedition consists of Ali Durrani, Hasan Jan, Ghulam Mehdi, Muhammad Hassan and Ghulam Nabi. The cumulative age of the team varies from 23 as the youngest and 38 as the oldest member of the expedition.
President of EvK2Cnr Agostino De Polanza presented the idea ” Pakistani K-2 expedition 2014-60 years later” in January this year and said;
“We thought it would be nice, this time, that Italy would support a totally Pakistani expedition. An expedition that would give Pakistan a chance after 60 years of having its own group at the top of K-2, to celebrate a historic day as of July 31, 1954”.
EvK2Cnr has been actively involved in social as well as scientific development in the Gilgit-Baltistan province and has conducted several projects for the social uplift of the people of the region, scientific researches on the Baltoro and adjoining Glaciers, the environmental impact of the human and climbing activities on these glaciers etc. EvK2Cnr also organized the 50 years of first assent celebrations of K-2 in the year 2004.
Speaking over the major circumstances which led to this idea Mr. Polanza said; “The idea was born this summer on the Baltoro, after meeting a group of energetic and motivated Pakistani mountaineers who have climbed the Broad Peak. They will be the protagonists of the expedition to K2 next year. I think it is important to keep in the memory both of Italians and Pakistanis this great sporting and mountaineering event, that is also cultural and scientific”.
The press conference was attended by the Chief Minister of Gilgit Baltistan, Secretary GB and the Italian Minister of Foreign Affairs.