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Wednesday, 13 August 2014

How K2 Had One of Its Luckiest Seasons Ever


With 45 successful summits, this season on K2 seems too serendipitous to be true. But safely conquering the mountain took grueling amounts of work and skill, too.

At the end of July, during a rare instance of good weather, an estimated 45 people reached the summit of Pakistan’s K2. This is an unusually high number on a mountain where one in four people who attempt the climb die. A Spanish climber descending from the summit was this season’s sole casualty.
Though this year seemed like a summit free-for-all, climbers are quick to caution those who might think K2 is the next Everest. The combination of a great forecast, skilled climbers, and a bit of luck is to thank for the season’s successes.
This year a favorable 10-day forecast rolled in around July 22nd and triggered a wave of summits over the weekend of the 25th.
“The weather this season was excellent for this part of Pakistan,” said Garrett Madison of Madison Mountaineering. “We got lucky with the weather and the route conditions. Sometimes there is too much snow and it is too arduous to break trail.”
K2, 785 feet shorter than Everest, may be the world’s second-tallest mountain, but it’s regarded as more deadly. The weather is volatile and severe, and the climbing more technical. Only some 376 people have ever reached the summit of K2 and 84 have died trying. The number of Everest summits is 18 times that, at more than 6,000. 
The hazards of K2 are many, and end up reading like a plan to beat the last level of a video game: Avoid falling rocks and soft snow avalanches on the way up, scale the Black Pyramid to refuel at Camp 3, traverse the notorious Bottleneck above Camp 4, don’t fall off the side of the mountain and you’ll reach the magical summit.
From base camp late last month, Madison confirmed that his team had reached the mountain’s 28,205-foot summit, and more importantly, made it back down.
Other successful groups included the first ever Pakistani team expedition and athree-woman team from Nepal climbing to raise awareness for climate change and to promote tourism in their home country.
This is good news both for the climbing community and for Nepal, a country shaken by a recent landslide and the April avalanche on Everest that killed 16 Sherpas, many from a string of towns in one small area, the Thame Valley. The three Sherpas that climbed with Madison—Kami Rita, Kami Tshering, and Fur Kancha—are all from that valley.
“The whole climb was extremely difficult. You have to be on your game 100% and can’t make any mistakes,” said Madison, noting that climbers also need to be totally self-sufficient. “On Everest a helicopter can rescue you anytime up to 7,800 meters. On K2 there are really no helis, except from base camp, and they’re very complicated and expensive.”
According to climber Alan Arnette, it’s best to acknowledge the danger of the mountain, but avoid fixating on it. During the traverse of the Bottleneck just below the summit, the front two inches of Arnette’s crampons were his only point of contact with the mountain—the rest of his boots were hanging off the edge as he gripped a rope. “That was the point during the climb that I thought, ‘How am I going to climb down?'”
Madison’s team included two other American climbers, Matthew Du Puy, and Arnette. On July 27th at 8:00 a.m. local time they became the 16th, 17th, and 18th Americans to stand on top of K2, and Arnette, at 58, became the oldest American to summit. Arnette had also been climbing to raise awareness and money for Alzheimer's research, the disease that claimed his mother, Ida, in 2009.
“We pretty much climbed as a little pod the entire time,” said Arnette from his home in Fort Collins, Colorado. “There was not one moment where we had to wait on the way up or down. In Everest terms that’s unheard of.”
He summarized the feat that the team had just conquered succinctly: “K2 starts steep and ends steep. It’s unrelenting.” 
And the trek just to get to K2 doesn’t offer climbers a break either. Teams fly from around the globe to Islamabad, Pakistan and cross their fingers for a flight to Skardu. If they can’t get on one, then it’s a two-day bus ride to travel the 395 miles. From Skardu, it’s on to the “end of the road” in Askole to hire porters.
Madison hired more than 70 porters to haul gear and supplies for the 75-mile, 5-day trek over the rock and ice of the Baltoro Glacier.
“The trek to K2 is about twice as long as the Everest trek, and there are no villages or lodges like in Nepal,” said Madison, “It's tough trekking.”
And each porter needs their own porter to carry a personal food supply and gear. It took nearly 150 people to equip a six-man expedition. Since everything needs to be carried into base camp you just can’t afford to run out of supplies, said Madison.
Dawa Yangzum, part of the Nepali expedition, said that the trip across the glacier and the Karakoram highway was arduous. It took a week to reach base camp.
“It was very tiring, and it’s a very dangerous road,” said the 24-year-old. “And we drove through Taliban areas. It was scary.” 
The long journey makes getting to camp even more of a relief. And while base camp may not be the party that it is on Everest, the Madison Mountaineering camp was comfortable enough.
“We are definitely the 'high end' camp here,” said Madison. “And I don't mind other climbers stopping by to surf our wifi, or watch a movie on our big screen.”
The movie of choice? Ironically, Vertical Limit (a drama, yes, but one where everything goes wrong on K2).
Expeditions plan to spend around 45 days at base camp acclimating, setting up their high camps, plotting their route, and waiting for a good weather window to make a summit bid.
Roughly 32 climbers went for the summit the night of July 25 in order to reach the top the following afternoon. Since they were the first groups to go all the way up, a fair amount of lines still needed to be fixed, which made for a very long summit day. 
The Nepali expedition—Yangzum, Maya Sherpa, and Pasang Lhamu—reached the top at 2:30 p.m. on the 26th, hanging around for half an hour to take pictures and wait for friends. According to Yangzum, the group chose K2 precisely because of the challenge it posed.
“We call it the ‘mountain of all mountains’,” said Yangzum, whose previous summits include Everest and Ama Dablam. “It’s the most challenging 8,000-meter peak in the world.”
Madison’s group waited until that evening around 10:30 p.m. to head to the top, and as a result, had very little route fixing to do, making for a speedier ascent. 
The team was joined by just one other climber at the top, and otherwise had the summit all to themselves, spending about 45 minutes soaking it in.
“It’s a glorious morning, hardly any wind, views in every direction for 360 degrees,” Madison wrote on his blog. “Some clouds building on the horizon, but just a spectacular day.”
After losing three Sherpas in the Everest avalanche and two friends on Rainier in May, Madison had something to smile about. 
“We had a good time up there,” said Madison, who was en route to Tanzania to climb Kilimanjaro.
And after that?
“Maybe Cho Oyu.”


Sunday, 13 July 2014

Briefing/De-briefing at Alpine Club of Pakistan Islamabad (and faces rewind)

(Newsdesk/Karrar Haidri) ExWeb's correspondent in Islamabad has a short, official announcement to make for all climbers arriving Pakistan. On the occasion, have a look at his shots of great mountaineers visiting the ACP over the years. Click images for full view.

Here's from Karrar:

The mandatory Briefing/Debriefing Session , as provided under Mountaineering Rules & Regulations 1999, with the Foreign Mountaineering Expeditions / Trekking Parties, which visit Gilgit Baltistan region, will continue to be held by Alpine Club of Pakistan as already communicated via Government of Pakistan office order No.3(7)/2005-OP dated 27 August 2005. 

Sunday, 19 January 2014

Samina Baig and Mirza Ali has summit Mount Vinson 4,892 m Antarctica.

Five members team including Mirza and Samina successfully summit mount Vinson according to Pakistani time 01:00 AM today on 18th January 2014.
There are no countries, cities or villages in Antarctica since 98% of this region is covered by ice. It is the coldest region on the planet and some of the countries that are close to it are South Africa, Australia, Chile, Argentina and New Zealand.
On the 60th anniversary of Mt.Everest, since its first ascent back in 1953, where hundreds of thousands of mountaineers around the world celebrate this mega event of Mt.Everest, two Pakistani brother & sister carried  the green national flag of Pakistan and Samina Baig the first Pakistani woman and youngest Muslim to hoist it on top of the world. Mirza Ali & Samina Baig are the two Pakistanis participated in this great event and Samina Baig made history becoming first Pakistani woman to summit Mt.Everest on May 19.2013. the expedition was for Gender Equality and Women Empowerment through Adventure sports.  
While reaching the top yet the siblings are in quest to touch yet another impossible, the siblings are aiming to reach the seven summits on seven continents for Gender equality and women empowerment, this great feat in Adventure history is yet going to be remarkable, as to date no siblings have reached the summit of the Seven summits, as to date there are almost 200 people have reached the seven summits but any Pakistani and no  any siblings have attempted it from the rest of the world . This adventure is remarkable for the two siblings being Pakistani’s and making yet another history!
The expedition second aim is adventure diplomacy between the people and  connecting people through Mountains, this expedition also aims to raise awareness about Global warming and Climate change.
7 summits means the highest peak on each continent.
The Seven Summits # (Yes there are eight listed!)

Mountain 
Feet
Meters
Location
29029
8848
Nepal/Tibet
22840
6962
Argentina, South America
20320
6195
Alaska, North America
19339
5963
Tanzania, Africa
18481
5633
Russia, Europe
16067
4897
Ellsworth Range, Antarctica
16023
4884
Indonesia's (t/m) is Oceania's highest mountain.
7310
2228
Australia 

Friday, 22 November 2013

A Pakistani expedition to the top of K2. Da Polenza announces plans for the 60th anniversary of the first ascent



BERGAMO - 2014 will be an important anniversary in the history of mountaineering: July 31 will be exactly sixty years after the first ascent of K2, the second highest mountain on Earth, achieved by the Italian expedition led by Ardito Desio. In memory of the anniversary and as a sign of friendship that in the last decades has joined Italy and Pakistan, Agostino Da Polenza has announced plans to organize an expedition to K2 for next summer: this time, however, the Pakistanis will reach its top, with the support of Italy in the backstage.
 “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” - Da Polenza 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”.
“We thought it would be nice, this time, that Italy would support a totally Pakistani expedition” - said Da Polenza, who talked about the project in the video interview that today you can find on our play.montagna.tv - “An expedition that would give Pakistan a chance after 60 years of having its own group at the top of K2, to celebrate a historic day as of July 31, 1954”.
Da Polenza announced this project in recent days in Skardu, at the heart of the exhibition “The Italian Science and Cooperation at the Shadow of K2”, which for two weeks has lighten up Pakistan, from Islamabad to Skardu. The event, organized by the EvK2CNR Committee within the SEED Project, in collaboration with the Karakoram International University (KIU) and the patronage of the Italian Embassy in Pakistan, recalled decades of cooperation between Italy and Pakistan, including exploration and scientific research in Karakoram, through a series of events from a scientific conference “Karakoram Resources and Climate Change: glacier, water and ecosystem” to the photographic exhibition “The Rediscovery of the Abode of the Snow” dedicated to the explorer Filippo De Filippi, to the Mountain Film Festival, organized in collaboration with the Orobie Film Festival in Skardu, to the opening of the new headquarters of the Central Karakorum National Park.
The events were a great success with the public and the work that EvK2CNR Committee is carrying out has earned the congratulations of the Chief Minister of Gilgit-Baltistan and the Italian Minister of Foreign Affairs Emma Bonino, who said “The programs of Everest K2 Committee prove the excellence of the Italian scientific research and technologies, and are an effective model of international cooperation for a more sustainable global growth”. 




Tuesday, 12 November 2013

Alpine Club of Pakistan Assures Revised Security Measures for the Visiting Mountaineers, Trekkers and Adventure Seekers

Government of Pakistan is very conscious of the Nanga Parbat incident and has revised and enhanced security measures for the international mountaineers, trekkers, adventure seekers and nature lovers visiting Gilgit Baltistan and Chitral in Khyber Pakhtunkhawa ensuring their safety and security. This was stated by Manzoor Hussain, President Alpine Club of Pakistan (ACP) at the Annual General Assembly of the 67 member countries strong International Mountaineering and Climbing Federation - The Union of the International Alpine Associations, held at Pontresina, Alps, Switzerland on 5th October 2013 which was hosted by Swiss Alpine Club to celebrate 150 years of its existence.Earlier the General Assembly started its proceedings with observance of one minute silence for the slain mountaineers of the Nanga Parbat incident. President UIAA especially asked the ACP delegation comprise Col.Manzoor Hussain and Karrar Haidri to make a statement on the Nanga Parbat incident. Presenting Pakistan's case emphatically President ACP stated that the local population of Gilgit-Baltistan and Chitral, in general, and the local mountain communities, in particular, are very peace loving, and friendly towards guests and foreigners as part of their culture, traditions as well as for their economic interests. No untoward incident against the visiting foreign mountaineers, trekkers or tourists ever occurred in these areas in the past.

He informed details of the gory incident and mentioned that 15 terrorists managed to reach the 4,200 m high Base Camp as it is easily accessible from Karakoram Highway after two days trek, and killed 10 foreigner mountaineers and one local Pakistani staff.
He mentioned that Army helicopters arrived Dimer Base Camp immediately after first light and shifted bodies to Gilgit. Later the remainder surviving mountaineers from Nanga Parbat Base camp were evacuated to Islamabad by special aircraft for their safety and security. An extensive aerial and ground search was mounted by the government to apprehend the culprits,which could not succeed due to forests and terrain difficulties. He informed the General Assembly that whole of Pakistani nation was shocked by this heinous crime of the terrorists and Government of Pakistan took a very serious note of the incident. On behalf of Government of Pakistan and ACP, he once again expressed deepest regrets and offered condolences to the bereaved families and the federations.President ACP enumerated various actions taken and measures adopted by Government of Pakistan and ACP after the incident including supporting the evacuated mountaineers, holding of condolence meeting and condoling with the bereaved families. Government of Pakistan dispatched remains of the slain mountaineers and their belongings to their homeland by special Air Force planes. Security was also beefed up for the mountaineers and trekkers arriving Pakistan after the incident. He informed the gathering that mastermind of the incident and several culprits who took part have since been apprehended by the Government of Gilgit Baltistan. More arrests are on card and the culprits will be tried in the court soon.
They informed that Government of Pakistan and the provincial governments,
with inputs from ACP have revised their security plans and have decided to set up Karakoram Highway Police Force. Additional police check posts are also being set up enroute for the safety of the visitors travelling on KKH. All the personnel involved in mountain tourism are being registered by federal and local provincial governments. Police check posts are being set up on treks leading to the mountain valleys and the base camps of the frequented mountain areas. Permanent police check posts are also being established near Diamer and Rupal base camps of Nanga Parbat. He assured that all security measures, both explicit and implicit are being made by Government of Pakistan in this regard.
Explaining Pakistan's immense mountain wealth to the General Assembly, President ACP emphasised that Pakistan is its custodian whereas it is meant for the international adventure seekers to benefit from it in all its forms and manifestations.
President ACP thanked Asian federations of the Union of Asian Alpine Associations
(UAAA) for expressing their solidarity with Pakistan by attending the UAAA General
Assembly held recently at Islamabad on 30th September 2013. He also thanked President UIAA for visiting Islamabad to participate in the UAAA General Assembly on ACP invitation. He mentioned that aim of the terrorists was to deter and discourage the
mountaineers from their passion of climbing in Pakistan, at the same time harming the local mountain communities. He emphasised that these negative objectives can only be thwarted by increased visitation to the Pakistan's mountain areas by mountaineers, trekkers and adventure seekers from all over the world. He urged the UIAA to support Pakistan in the matter, especially during 2014 when Pakistan shall be celebrating 60th anniversary of the first ascent of K2 8611-M.
The speech of President ACP was supported by a slide show of the exquisite mountains and landscape of Gilgit Baltistan snapped by famous photographer and ACP Executive Council member Mr Karrar Haidri,who was part of the two members ACP delegation to the General Assembly.
Statement by Manzoor Hussain, President Alpine Club of Pakistan
on Nanga Parbat incident at UIAA General Assembly
Pontresina, Switzerland - 5th October 2013
Mr Frits VRIJLANDT President UIAA, distinguished Ladies and gentlemen, I wish to make a statement on behalf of Government of Pakistan and Alpine Club of Pakistan about the unfortunate tragedy which occurred at Nanga Parbat in June this year. At the very outset I wish to emphasise that local population of Gilgit-Baltistan and Chitral, in general and the local mountain communities in particular are very friendly towards guests and foreigners as part of their culture, traditions as well as for their economic interests. They always treat guests as God's blessing. No untoward or unfortunate incident against the visiting foreign mountaineers, trekkers or tourists ever occurred in
these areas prior to Nanga Parbat incident. This incident happened on the night of 22nd June 13 at about 22:30 pm by terrorists who arrived at the Diamer Base Camp, which is accessible from the Karakoram Highway after two day's trek. These 15 terrorists dressed in local paramilitary forces Gilgit Scouts uniform reached the 4,200 m high base camp after forcing two local porters to guide them. After taking all mountaineers and their staff out of tents they first looted them and later brutally killed 10 foreign mountaineers and one Pakistani staff member. Five of the local mountaineers, guides and staff were spared to tell the story. One Chinese mountaineer managed to slip away from his tent during the incident. The victim mountaineers included three Ukrainians, three Chinese, two Slovaks, one Lithuanian, one Nepali and a Pakistani staff. The terrorists also destroyed communication means and lap tops before they left the BC by mid night.
On learning of news of the incident on 23rd June morning everyone concerned
sprang into action. The local Army helicopters moved the victim’s bodies to
Gilgit. All the mountaineers on higher camps were asked to descend to BC and
were later flown to Gilgit and were flown back to Islamabad on 24th June for
their safety and security. In the mean time a mass aerial and ground search
was mounted to apprehend the culprits, which was of no avail due to various
forests in the area and terrain difficulties.
The whole Pakistani nation was shocked and grieved on this unfortunate incident. The general masses of Pakistan, the mountain communities and the civic society condemned this heinous attack on foreign mountaineers. We in the Alpine Club of Pakistan were devastated over this tragedy and undertook whatever was possible within our means.
At this juncture I, on behalf of Govt of Pakistan, Alpine Club of Pakistan and my
own behalf express our deepest condolence and sympathies with the bereaved
families, the concerned mountaineering federations and the international
mountaineering community. May God bless souls of these slain mountaineers
eternal peace in the heavens. Ameen.
Various actions taken by Govt of Pakistan and the Alpine Club of Pakistan after
the shocking incident were:
ACP officials met all the remaining depressed mountaineers evacuated
from effected Diamer base camp of Nanga Parbat to Islamabad on 24th
June, interacted, consoled and assured them about their safety and
security in Pakistan.
 Held a well attended Condolence Meeting on 25th June 2013 in honour of the
deceased mountaineers as well as to express solidarity with their living
colleagues and to assure the international mountaineering community
of Pakistan’s serious concerns on this unfortunate incident. It was
attended by mountaineers evacuated from Nanga Parbat, other foreign
and local mountaineers, the concerned Ambassadors/diplomats, besides
ACP members. The meeting which was chaired by a high ranking Govt
official was well covered by the national and the international electronic
and print media.
 ACP officials also condoled separately with relatives of the deceased
Chinese mountaineers who arrived Islamabad to collect bodies of their
slain kith and kin.
 ACP condoled with UIAA, the concerned country’s
federations/associations and the bereaved families.
 Government of Gilgit Baltistan with the help of Army shifted of the
equipment and belongings of all mountaineers from Nanga Parbat
Diamer base camp to Chilas by helicopters. Further ACP coordinated it’s
road transportation to Islamabad, and then handed it over to the concerned teams, including belongings of the deceased mountaineers at Islamabad, in the middle of the night of 29th June in the presence of Ukrainian Ambassador, Slovakian Counsel General, the local administration and the concerned tour operators.
 Coordinated with Pakistan International Airlines with the support of the
Government agencies for provision of extra flights and arranging top
priority seats on their flights from Islamabad to Skardu/Gilgit and back
for the visiting foreign mountaineers/trekkers to save them botheration
of the road travel.
 Government of Gilgit-Baltistan provided security measures to the visiting
mountaineering expeditions/trekking parties into the region ensuring
their safety during road travel to the main towns of the areas, further
provision of security to the mountain valleys and access to the base
camps as coordinated by ACP.
 I personally met all mountaineers and trekkers arriving after the tragedy
during their mandatory briefing and debriefing sessions at ACP for
reassuring them about their safety and security.
 Encouraged the Romanian mountaineers to continue climbing the Rupal
face of Nanga Parbat by asking the local government to set up a security
check post at Rupal base camp.
 Government of Pakistan despatched remains of all the deceased
mountaineers to their home countries with full honours by the Air Force
planes. Later the Govt also despatched the personal belongings of the
deceased through the Air Force planes.
The Minister Incharge for Gilgit Baltistan who attended the closing session of
the UAAA General Assembly which ACP hosted recently at Islamabad asked me
to inform you that Government of Pakistan’s security apparatus till date has
apprehended the master mind and three culprits of the Nanga Parbat incident
and arrest of the remainder culprits is expected soon. The Govt is soon going
to bring these culprits to trail. He also assured of the revised security measures
for the visitors to mountain areas.
Ladies and gentlemen, you can well imagine the economic fall out of the
incident on the local mountain tourism effecting the local mountain
communities. Out of the total 50 mountaineering expeditions which had
applied for and were issued climbing permits, 11 were immediately cancelled
after this unfortunate tragedy. A large number of trekking parties also decided
to cancel their trips to valleys of Northern Pakistan. For the next year lower
inflow of mountaineering and trekking traffic to our mountain areas is
anticipated.
Ladies and gentlemen, Pakistan is home and rendezvous of the most
spectacular and magnificent mountain ranges of Karakoram, Western
Himalayas and the Hindukush. Northern Pakistan, namely the areas of Gilgit
Baltistan and Chitral is blessed with over 720 peaks rising above 6,000 metres
including about 162 peaks rising above 7,000 metres and five eight
thousanders namely the 8,611 m high rocky pyramid of Chogory or K-2, 8,125
m high Nanga Parbat, 8,068 m high Hidden peak or Gasherbrum I, 8,047 m high
Broad Peak and 8,035 m high Gasherbrum II. You all know well that we have
some of the longest glaciers, enchanting valleys dotted with crystal blue lakes
and the roaring rivers. Gilgit Baltistan and Chitral, therefore can well be called
paradise for mountaineers, trekkers, adventure and nature lovers from all over
the world. We believe that nature has made Pakistan custodian of these
mountain areas for the benefit of adventure and nature lovers from across five
continents who wish to enjoy abounding charm and challenge of our mountain
areas.
Government of Pakistan is very conscious of the fact that until and unless we
have safe and secure mountain tourism environment in the country we cannot
benefit the international mountaineering community in their quest to climb
and face the ultimate challenge, and benefit the local mountain communities
who are dependent on the inflow of the mountaineers and trekkers for their
bread and butter.
Government of Pakistan, with inputs from Alpine Club of Pakistan, is reviewing
the security procedures for the visiting mountaineers, trekkers and adventure
and nature lovers which are:-
a          Registration and Police clearance of all Personnel Involved in Mountain
Tourism Measures are in hand for obtaining police security clearance of tour
operators, guides and high altitude porters. Registration of porters and local
communities who use the valleys leading to mountain areas is also in hand. It is
important that all personnel connected with mountain tourism and mountain
related adventure activities must be registered at local administration or
federal levels and are security cleared to prevent intrusion of extremist
elements in mountain tourism business.
b          Access to the Mountain Areas Accessing the mountain areas involves
road travel from Islamabad to the main towns of Chilas, Gilgit, Skardu and
Chitral and their further road travel to the intended mountain valleys. As a top
priority air travel is being ensured for the mountain tourists in first instance to
avoid the long road travel. However, measures to provide enhanced security
measures on main roads leading to the mountain areas and valleys frequented
by foreign mountain tourists are being undertaken by setting up of KKH
Security Force to patrol and secure the Karakoram highway. Besides additional
police check posts are being set up enroute. In addition, general scanning of
the private transporters operating from Islamabad to the main towns and back
is also being made.
c          Lodging Places The lodging places at Chilas, Gilgit, Skardu, Chitral and in
other areas frequented by foreign visitors are being registered alongwith their
employees. Further security is being provided at the most frequented hotels,
motels or guest houses during the mountaineering and trekking season.
d          Access to the Valleys leading to Mountain Areas
As demonstrated during the Nanga Parbat incident, the terrorist have developed the capability of reaching the heights and base camps of the high mountain.
Therefore, guarding valleys leading to mountain valleys beyond the last villages/inhabitation and base camps is essential. This is being done by
providing police security check posts covering all trekks leading to the
mountain valleys and the base camps with the authority to check and stop
unauthorised entries to these valleys. In some cases like Nanga Parbat
permanent Security Posts are being set up near the Diamer and other
frequented Base Camp like Rupal etc.
Ladies and gentlemen, the aim of the terrorists attack on peace loving
mountaineers was to deter and discourage visiting mountaineers, trekkers and
adventure and nature lovers to fulfil their passion, and from visiting Pakistan.
And at the same time deprive the local peaceful mountain communities from
their source of income. These insane objectives of terrorists can only be
thwarted by measures being adopted by Government of Pakistan for the safety
and security of the visitors to the mountain regions, and by the continuous
inflow of the visiting adventure seekers. We need support from the international mountaineering community to negate the terrorist’s designs.
At this juncture, I am proud to say that all mountaineering and climbing
federations of UAAA, in line with our best Asian traditions and culture
participated in the UAAA General Assembly hosted by Alpine Club of Pakistan
at Islamabad from 29th Sep to 1st Oct to express their solidarity with Pakistan
and ACP. Inspite of fears expressed from different quarters they chose to travel
to Islamabad where they enjoyed their stay. I am extremely thankful to all the
Asian mountaineering federations, and especially Mr Injeong Lee President
UAAA for asking the ACP to continue with UAAA General Assembly irrespective
of Nanga Parbat incident. I also avail this opportunity to pay my special thanks
to Mr Frits President UIAA for travelling to Islamabad and participate in the
UAAA General Assembly at my invitation. Mr Frits who has climbed extensively
in Pakistan knows our mountain communities well. I am indebted to you Mr
Frits for this kind gesture.
In the end, suffice to say that mountains shall be attempted and climbed till
the dooms day. Our beautiful mountain areas shall be there for all of you - the
mountain lovers, to exploit and cherish. You can fulfil your climbing instincts
and passions, and at the same time support us in Pakistan and our mountain
communities by visiting our challenging mountains. We need support of all of
you in the UIAA.

Thank you very much.

Sunday, 18 August 2013

Shandur Polo Festival cancelled this year


GILGIT: After all the delays and deliberation over the Shandur Polo Festival, the government of Gilgit-Baltistan (G-B) has finally decided not to hold the event this year.
“This has been officially decided and the festival has been cancelled,” confirmed Ghizer valley’s Deputy Commissioner Sibtain Ahmed on Saturday.
The move comes days after the K-P government contemplated holding the event from August 24-26 as suggested by the G-B government. “The decision has been taken in light of the destruction caused by floods, mainly in K-P,” Ahmed told The Express Tribune.
He said Malakand division was one of the areas severely affected by floods triggered by monsoon rains this summer. The annual festival had to be postponed earlier as a major road linking G-B to Chitral was blocked, suspending traffic between the two regions.
Gilgit’s senior administration official, Zafar Taj said organisers from K-P recently visited Shandur Top to see whether the area was still suitable for playing polo at 3,700 meters. “It was okay for the festival as far as availability of water in the channels was concerned,” said Taj, referring to the water that will be required for the thousands of spectators who come to watch the festival.
Apart from the devastation caused by floods, security concerns are also believed to be a potential factor in cancelling the festival. “Obviously K-P and now G-B are under threat from terrorists,” said DIG Ali Sher recently after gunmen shot dead three security officials investigating the murder of foreign tourists at Nanga Parbat base camp in June.
Shandur is the world’s highest polo ground where teams from G-B and Chitral play polo in its original form as it was played in the early 20th century. The festival attracts nearly 10,000 people including celebrities and public figures each year. It also boasts of folk music and dance, in addition to a camping village.
The Express Tribune


Tuesday, 13 August 2013

K2: Siren of the Himalayas

The climb retraces the Abruzzi route taken in 1909, the documentary examines the history and geography of the Karakoram mountains while contemplating the risks, rewards and personal nature of exploration.
courtesy K2: Siren of the Himalayas, 
(Newsdesk) "Nobody goes to the mountains to die, [...] we come here because this is where we feel most truly alive." "The element of danger in alpinism is a hundred present part of the game, as soon as you eliminate the danger it is just every other sport." These are some of the thoughts shared in K2: Siren of the Himalayas. 
Another K2 season has finished and the 8,611m summit has eluded yet another group of skilled mountaineers. A documentary, K2: Siren of the Himalayas, shows the adventure, peril and serenity of a group's attempt to climb the world's most challenging peak on the 100-year anniversary of its landmark expedition. Director Dave Ohlson sent news over to ExplorersWeb about the film. 
This film features alpinists Fabrizio Zangrilli and Gerlinde Kaltenbrunner with Jake Meyer, Chris Szymiec, Dave Ohlson and other climbers in a rare glimpse into the world of high altitude mountaineering. 
K2 is the second highest peak on earth and recond as one of the most difficult mountains to climb. Harsh weather conditions and demanding technical climbs have made producing documentary films on K2 extremely difficult, and footage from these expeditions is rare. 
Director Dave Ohlson joins a team of mountaineer’s epic K2 journey on the 100-year anniversary of the Duke of Abruzzi’s landmark expedition in 1909. The documentary also examines the history and geography of the Karakoram Mountains while contemplating the risks, rewards and personal nature of exploration in an age when there are few blank spots left on the map. 
Basic information
 Launched: January 2012
Genre: Documentary / Historical / Adventure
Studio: Ursus Films / 2R Productions
Starring: Fabrizio Zangrilli, Gerlinde Kaltenbrunner, Jake Meyer, Chris Szymiec
Directed by: Dave Ohlson
Written by:  Dave Ohlson, Jason Reid
Produced by: Andy McDonough, Dave Ohlson, Jason Reid
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