Thursday, 1 August 2013

Pak China Friendship Expedition 2013 arrives back Islamabad after Climbing Mt Muztagh Ata (7,546 m) in China

1.            In line with the close friendly relations which exists between China and Pakistan in all walks of life, Alpine Club of Pakistan (ACP) enjoys close relations with Chinese Mountaineering Association (CMA). In the past, eight joint expeditions were launched to climb all five Pakistani peaks rising above eight thousand metres, and Mt Everest from Tibet China side (1995 to 2007). Last year a joint Pak China Friendship expedition comprising six mountaineers from both sides successfully climbed 7,027 m high Spantik peak in Skardu to commemorate the 60th Anniversary of the establishment of the Diplomatic relations between Pakistan and the People’s Republic of China.

2.            This year Joint Pak China Friendship expedition was launched to Mt Muztagh Ata (7,546 m) situated in Xinjiang Autonomous Region, China by ACP and CMA about 180 kms from Pak China borderto express solidarity with the Chinese mountaineers after the Nanga Parbat Diamer Base Camp tragedy and to pay tribute to the two slain Chinese mountaineers. The Pakistani team comprised of members as under:-

a.    Mr. Rehmatullah (Gilgit Baltistan)  - Pakistani team leader
b.    Mr.Ahmad Mujtaba (Islamabad)  - Member
c.    Dr Naveed Iqbal (IKhyber Pakhtunkhwa)  - Member

3.          The Pakistani team was seen off by the Minster of Inter Provincial Coordination (IPC) Mr Riaz Hussain Pirzada in a ceremony held at Pakistan Sports Board offices, Islamabad  on 4th July during which Pakistani flag mounted on an ice axe was handed over to Mr Rehmatullah Pakistani team leader for hoisting it on Muztagh Ata summit. The Minister for IPC, on the occasion, offered prayers for the success of the expedition and asked the team to promote Pakistan as a safe destination for mountaineers and trekkers during the expedition.


4.            The Pakistani team left Islamabad by road for Pak China border at Khunjerab Pass on Karakoram Highway on 5th July and was received by officials of CMA after crossing over the border and arrival at Tashkurgan on 7th July. Later, the team travelled to Kashgar to meet the Chinese side which comprised Mr. Youngfung, Vice President CMA, expedition leader and five Chinese members and later arrived 4,200 metres high Muztagh Ata Base camp on 10thJuly.  

Ata Abad Lake Upper Hunza Gilgit Baltistan

Farewell dinner at Kashgar 

Camel Caravan at Muztagh Ata BC.

Group photo of the Expedition Members
 at Muztagh Ata BC.

5.     For their acclimatization climbs the expedition climbed to Camp I (5,200 m) on 12th July and returned back to Base Camp the same day. On 14th July the expedition climbed to Camp II and spent two days in this camp and descended back to Base Camp on 16th July and waited for good weather window for their final push.

Camp III

Muztagh Ata (7546-M) Summit 

 6.         In their final attempt for the summit the expedition climbed to Camp I (5,200) on 21st July and then were in Camp II (6,000 m) on 22nd July. The expedition was able to reach Camp III (6,900 m) on 23rd July inspite of high winds and bad weather with high clouds. Inspite of persistent bad weather the three Pakistani members Mr Rehamtullah, Dr Naveed Iqbal and Ahmad Mujtaba accompanied by five Chinese members departed from Camp III at midnight for their summit bid under dark night with the support of their head lamps. After negotiating the ice slope the expedition managed to reach the summit of 7,546 metre high Mt Muztagh Ata at 07:00 am on 24th July. Team member Ahmad Mujtaba was forced back half way to the summit due to strong winds. Rehamtullah and Dr Naveed Iqbal reported cloudy weather with very high winds in the range of 35-45 kms an hour which did not allow the climbers to stay for long on the summit. The team leader Mr Rehamtullah speaking from Muztagh Ata summit thanked all well wishes for their prayers for their success. The expedition members quickly retreated to the safety of Camp III later and to base camp the same night in view of the ongoing bad weather. The team arrived home on 30th July 2013 after their arduous climb and long road journey from Kashgar.

7.           Lt Col (Retd) Manzoor Hussain, President ACP and all ACP members congratulated the Pakistani Team on their successful climb of 7,546 metre high Mt Muztagh Ata. President ACP praised their dogged determination, strength and climbing skills and congratulated the team on attaining the laid down objectives of the expedition. He also thanked the Chinese side for their support in launching this expedition.