Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Pakistan 2013: Nanga Parbat Empty, Progress Elsewhere

The tragic events that occurred on Nanga Parbat this week have left the climbers in Pakistan stunned and saddened. It has been a difficult couple of days, even on the peaks that are nowhere near the site of the murders and fear and uncertainty have taken hold to an extent. But these teams are there for a reason and work has continued across the Himalaya and Karakoram despite the unexpected challenges that have arisen.

It should come as no surprise that the teams have all but abandoned Nanga Parbat altogether. Many climbers avoided the massacre simply because they were in Camp 1 and 2 when the gunmen attacked Base Camp on the Diamir Face. Those men and women were escorted safely off the mountain as soon as the Pakistani military could get onsite. A lone Romanian team remains on the Rupal Face where they await word if they will be forced to leave as well. The climbers have expressed that they would prefer to stay and attempt to climb the mountain, but the Pakistani government may ask them to depart in order to maintain safety.

Elsewhere, things are much quieter. The German team climbing Broad Peak has now gone up to Camp 3 as part of their acclimatization process and only learned of the events on Nanga Parbat upon their return to BC. They indicate that Pakistani military has moved into the area and have secured the trail to Concordia, a cross roads for those trekking to BP or nearby K2. The Germans say that the weather has been perfect for the past two weeks, although there are indications that a storm could bring snowfall before the end of the week. After that, they'll start eyeing the summit and hope to have an opportunity to make their push starting as early as this weekend.

Over on the Gasherbrums the Polish team is now in Base Camp and beginning their acclimatization rounds. Artur Hajzer is part of this squad that hopes to bag both GI and GII in the same season. They're also scouting the area for a possible return in the winter. We all know how much the Poles enjoy their winter climbs in Pakistan.

Al Hancock and Adrian Hayes have their sights set on K2 this summer, but at the moment they can't even get out of Islamabad. Adrian reports that the Pakistani government has halted travel for foreigners into the mountains for the time being while they sort out the situation and look to secure the area. As a result, a number of teams (and trekkers) are currently stuck waiting for an opportunity to leave the capital and get on with their adventures. There is no indication as to when that might happen, so for now they sit and wait. He does note that things are absolutely safe in Islamabad and that his team has heard from a number of Pakistanis who have expressed outrage and sympathy over the Nanga Parbat murders.

These stories give you an indication of where things are at in Pakistan at the moment. Some of the teams are waiting their opportunity to move out of Islamabad while others are either already on their mountain or in transit now. Those that were on Nanga Parbat are mostly back in the capital now and are preparing to head home. I can only imagine how they must feel.

I'll post more news as it comes in.

2 comments:

Keerat Kaur said...

It is a sad blot in climbing history. As if climbers didn't have enough challenges. Word is that with the US pulling out of Afghanistan, terrorist organisations are renewing their attacks in Pakistan and Indian Kashmir. Peace is so transient for this beautiful land.

shehzad Amc said...
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