By Dr. Saeed Ahmad Ali
LAHORE, Feb 13 (APP):Noted US historian and author David Guab Cullough said,’climb mountains not so the world can see you, but so that you can see the world’. Another US legend folk and freestyle wrestler, Danny Mack Gable, a world fame Olympic gold medalist and holder of the US Presidential Medal of Freedom, had said that, ‘gold medals are not really made of gold.
They are made of sweat, determination and a hard-to-find alloy called guts.
Interestingly, five of the 14 highest mountain peaks in the world are located in Pakistan (four of which lie in the surroundings of Concordia, the confluence Baltoro Glacier and Godwin Austen Glacier, the mountains’ statistics reveal.
Most of the peaks of Pakistan lie in the Karakoram mountain range of which almost all are located in the Gilgit-Baltistan (GB) region of Pakistan. Karakoram range is considered to be a part of the greater Himalayan range, but some high peaks above 7,000 metres are also included in the Himalayan and Hindu Kush ranges.
Moreover, Pakistan is home to around 7,000 glaciers, a highest figure, more than anywhere except in the Polar Regions. According to Pakistan Tourism Development Corporation (PTDC) statistics, there are more than 108 peaks above 7,000 meters high and 4555 above 6,000 meters above sea level.
There is no count of other peaks which lie above 4000 to 5,000 meters, it reads.Muhammad Ali Sadpara renowned mountaineer of Pakistan has many titles in his credit as he had successfully climbed four Eight-Thousanders in a year including a total of eight in his career.
To exhibit the same spirit , Muhammad Ali Sadpara and his 21 year old son Sajid Sadpara, who had
climbed K-2 in 2019, again teamed up last week with Icelandic mountaineer John Snorri Sigurjónsson and Chilean mountaineer Juan Pablo Mohr Prieto, for a joint K2 ascent, leaving the highest camp on the evening of February 4, 2021. Muhammad Ali Sadpara and his team, on February 5, 2021 (late Friday) had successfully summited the 8,611-metre K-2 which is the second highest mountain in the world, a month after when their first attempt was failed, Sajid Sadpara, son of Ali Sadpara claimed in a statement on Wednesday.
But on February 5, 2021, Ali Sadpara and his two team members went missing unanticipated, Sajid Sadpara said.
Since then their support teams in which Sajid Sadpara was also included as a member of expedition had continuously cautioned that after communication suspension, the climbers’ status was unclear and there was no signal from their side who were in the bottle neck area of the peak (the death zone).
Sajid also had been the part of the mountaineering team expedition that successfully achieved the first ever winter summit on Nanga Parbat during 2016. Also both his team-mates, Simone Moro and Alex Txikon, in their record stating communication had admitted that they could not have done the summit without Sadpara’s brilliance.
Sajid said that he this time, too reached the bottle-neck area of the K-2 with other team members and had to descend due to a technical issue leaving the others close to the summit. His father, Snorri and Mohr kept on climbing up, however they didn’t come back by night as they planned for it, he said.
A rescue mission with two army helicopters was organized on February 6th, but to no avail as the three climbers are still missing.Alpine Club secretary Qarar Haideri told APP that the search mission to locate the three climbers was continued on Thursday but the harsh weather conditions did not permit.
One thing is clear that the climbers went missing over 8,000m on the peak and that area was known as the Death Zone, he said adding that the helicopters and helping teams had a very difficult and hard reach to the locality, he informed.
Head of the operator of ‘Karakorum Expeditions’ Mirza Ali Baig told APP that a search operation on K-2 had been launched for the missing mountaineers by the two Pakistan Army helicopters at an altitude of 7,800 meters since last Sunday evening.
He said though the search operation was still continued, the hopes to find the ill-fated mountaineers had diminished.It is worth mentioning here that Ali Sadpara with his team successfully scaled Nanga Parbat In 2015 winter. He led his team again in 2016 and summited the peak, Qarar said, adding that Sadpara had climbed Nanga Parbat four times. In June 2018, he was enlisted by speed climber Marc Batard to undertake a five year programme titled “Beyond Mount Everest”.
This plan included to summit Nanga Parbat, K-2 and Mount Everest respectively in 2019, 2021 and 2022, and the current expedition was a part of this plan, he informed.It is pertinent to mention here that on Thursday a special forward looking infrared (FLIR) mission by a C-130 aircraft along with four high-altitude porters (HAPs) from Sadpara village was used in the search operation. FLIR will be used for the search mission of the missing mountaineers.
High altitude climbers have also been engaged for ground search as a result of any location spotted through FLIR mission. The entire nation through spiritual and social expressions has been praying for Ali Sadpara often described by his spiritual leader (peers) as a tough as nails climber with a good humored sense and nature.
As days are passing by and the weather conditions remain a challenge, countrymen are trying their best not to lose hope, rather counting on a miracle to bring Sadpara back home.