With mountaineers pouring into Gilgit-Baltistan to head out on expedition to the Karakoram range, Minapin valley of Hunza-Nagar district has become a major attraction for local and foreign expeditions.
A local resident, Syed Mujahid, said the reason for the influx is that the village provides the easiest access to three peaks that mountaineers are fond of scaling: the 7,788 metre-high Rakaposhi peak, the 7,266 metre-high Diran peak and the Miachar peak in the Karakoram range.
Mujahid said that already a number of foreign expeditions are staying in hotels in Mianpin, who will soon head out to scale the peaks. He added that many more foreign and local mountaineers are expected to reach the village in the coming weeks.
He said that on Sunday, a six-member member Czech Republic expedition set out to the Diran peak, which was last scaled in 1993. The group comprises mountaineers Pavel Matousek, Olga Novakova, Zuzzna Hofmanova, Antonin Belik, Vit Auermuller and Micheal Vyroubal, who are expected to reach their base camp in about two days.
According to a local expedition organiser, Raja Abbas, Diran is dubbed as the “killer peak”, as at least 40 mountaineers have died so far attempting to scale it. “The high number of casualties is due to frequent avalanches on Diran,” said Abbas, who has named his hotel in Nagar Valley after the peak.
Diran peak was first climbed in 1968 by three Austrian mountaineers, Rainer Goeschl, Rudolph Pischinger and Hanns Schell, said Abbas.
He said that aside from the peaks, foreigners are also impressed by the valley’s natural beauty and the hospitality, culture and traditions of the locals. The valley is also known for its delicious fruits produce, mainly including apricots, apples, mulberry, walnuts and pomegranates, which are then sold in markets across the country, he added.
Minapin village is also the birthplace of Syed Yahya Shah, a veteran conservationist who is the first elected representative from Nagar valley in the Gilgit-Baltistan Legislative Assembly.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 3rd, 2012.
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