The Pakistan climbing season has already kicked off as the "Killer Mountain" swings back in action with no fewer than two climbing teams working on two different faces.
Being world's ninth highest and second deadliest mountain in the world, Nanga Parbat soars to an unfathomable height of 8,125m above sea level and marks the culmination of the Western off-shoot of the Himalayas.
The Russian/American team headed by the world renowned Romanian Zsolt Torok (K2 attempt in 2010) is climbing Diamir face with Americans Kathy Koslicki and Bob Semborski.
Edging up the old route followed by numerous mountaineers before, Zsolt is not finding it any easier to tackle the formidable Diamir Face of the 8000er. They were rattled by a huge glacier on Thursday that blanketed the Base Camp and the Camp-1 at almost 6000m.
Zsolt has called in for help from the local porters for rebuilding the Base Camp from scratch.
For the moment, the Romanian hard climber has managed a few acclimitisation trips over the mountain and had to bivouac in a survival blanket at 4 am in the morning.
Click here to Zsolt informed the Base Camp that he was stuck in deep snow and was hit hard by ceaseless snow storm and had to spend the night in order to save himself.
He has managed to reach 5900m so far and the mainstream expedition is yet to kick
off. The team is currently waiting for resumption of activities at the Base Camp which is again under construction.
Zsolt is considered as one of the experienced climbers who know the Karakorums better than most of the Russian climbers who visit Pakistan to scale the giant peaks.
Approaching Nanga Parbat Base Camp Layout of the mountain The core of Nanga Parbat is a long ridge trending southwest-northeast. The ridge is an enormous bulk of ice and rock. It has three faces, Diamir face, Raikot and Rupal.
The southwestern portion of this main ridge is known as the Mazeno Wall, and has a number of subsidiary peaks. In the other direction, the main ridge arcs northeast at Raikot Peak . The south/southeast side of the mountain is dominated by the massive Rupal Face, noted above.
The north/northwest side of the mountain, leading to the Indus, is more complex. It is split into the Diamir face and the Raikot face by a long ridge. There are a number of subsidiary summits, including North Peak some 3 km north of the main summit.
This is with reference to a news report carried on June 9. It is going to give a rude shock to the people of Chitral. The last time they got one was when the government declared Sharia in Chitral when Sufi Mohammad asked for it in Swat.
The report mercifully mentions ‘ambassadors, diplomats, international NGOs’ when describing a ‘foreigner’ to avoid the word ‘tourist’.
Even if the Home Department of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa spares tourists from obtaining an NOC ‘a fortnight or at least 12 days in advance’ (impossible for any tourist), the soldier manning the barrier is unlikely to differentiate between one category of foreigner from another when demanding an NOC.
The order will have little impact on the daily lives of people living in D.I. Khan, Tank, Hangu and other parts of Malakand mentioned in the report. It will have a serious impact on the functioning of small hotels and on the lives of guides, porters and shopkeepers of Chitral.
This is a district wrongly placed in the Malakand division of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
The people of Chitral have struggled hard to keep their cultural values intact and have consequently succeeded in maintaining peace and harmony in their district despite what is happening in the rest of
Malakand and on Chitral’s direct border with Afghanistan.
Their scenic valleys and majestic mountains have been a major attraction for adventure-loving tourists from all over the world who have been contributing immensely and directly to the local economy.
There are no other profitable avenues available in this harsh terrain where only six per cent of the land is cultivable, mostly with a single crop. Then there are places which are too high for any crop to grow at all and where people live mainly off animal products and from money earned by working as porters for trekking groups.
It is time the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government treated Chitral as a special area when looking at it as part of the Malakand division. Failure to do so will cause resentment among the peace-loving people.
Tourists who have entered Pakistan with a valid visitor’s visa are going to get a huge shock when they are asked to get an NOC “12 days in advance” by the government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
The negative impact of this order will really be felt on tourism in the next season when the current lot of visitors to our country returns with horrible stories about their vacations in Pakistan.
Disabilities may be a matter of concern for some who go through the various discrepancies in life in attempts to coup with the disadvantages and discrimination.
For Swede Anneli Wester, her handicap of living with just four fingers on the right hand have given a new meaning to life. After spending a night at the top of Muztagh Atta, the highest mountain on the Chinese side of Karakorum, Wester is all set to spend a night on top of Gasherbrum-1, a feat which remains unprecendented in the history of mountain climbing.
Wester had a troubled past when she had to go through child abuse and a broken family saga and in a failed attempt of trying to kill herself, Wester suffered colossal injuries on both hands and was deprived of all the fingers on the left hand.
She graudally pulled herself together from the ordeal and spend seven years couping up with the mental trauma she had to go through. with a Masters degree in Law, Wester soon realised the fake surroundings and illicit drama of the corporate world and decided to pursue a career in Hard Climbing, fighting her handicaps.
She has now landed in Pakistan and after spending a few days in the siltering weather of Pakistani Capital, she is now in Skardu, organising her gear for the mindless feat.
Elaborating the reasons behind her decision to be the first climber to spend the night on top of an 8000er, Wester said:
"It actually started by focusing on possibilities for me to climb a mountain. I used to have very poor legs and I couldn’t walk long distances. I had to shorten the distance between camps, and also between high camp and the summit. It was also a matter of safety, there is a lot of theft in the mountains and I was afraid someone would steel my gear if I left it in the tent when going for the summit.
So one day I started to play with the thought of carrying everything up with me and it didn’t take long until I realized this is the way to do it".
sharing some insights about her troubled past, Wester said:
"I had been trough bad abuse when growing up, and my mum was a bit of a broken soul, and my reaction to this was to hurt myself. I burned my self so badly that I have lost 6 fingers. Mistreatment from the health care made it even worse. After seven years I started my struggle back to life. I was in a terrible condition, both physically and mentally and every day was a battle. As I said, I’m very creative and have now put all my energy and focus on life. Slowly, slowly I have found ways to cope. It's a miracle that I survived those years, but it's an even greater miracle where in life I'm today. I use the same methods in climbing, or whatever I do out there, as I did returning back to life. I’m still disabled in many ways, both physically and mentally, but focusing on possibilities and what I can do instead of what I can’t do it seems to me like there are no limits out there".
Pakistan Explorer (www.pakistan-explorer.com) wish her all the best in her meteroic endeavour. Good luck Anneli!