The K2 winter ascent mission went from exciting to heart-wrenching in matter of days, following the news of the missing climbers at the hands of the deadly mountain. As news circulated on social media, it was rather surprising to see many people resorting to criticism, calling the mission a suicide since the team wanted to achieve the feat without any supplementary oxygen.
It is easy to lambast someone from the comfort of your home. In reality, only a handful dare to dream big and a few actually follow that dream. Seasoned climber Ali Sadpara was one of them. Not only is he our national pride but his legacy is an immense source of motivation for those who need a push to do something great. We all can learn a thing or two from this brave heart. However, we should avoid glorifying it by saying he died doing what he loved. Death or loss should never be romanticised. From a medical standpoint, a person has to face several phases of worsening conditions before their body succumbs at such a high altitude. From frostbite to vital organs failure, it must have been a painful ordeal. The worst part is that it is a story where no one will ever know for sure what truly happened. It is now up to us to continue living that dream.
Honoring Sadpara’s last wish should be a priority, which was to gift his wife a sewing machine. Even though no material gain can ever fill the void left behind, the government should immortalise his passion through a national monument, or perhaps a film encapsulating his life story to inspire generations to come. The courageous Sadpara wanted to attract more tourists with his mission. We should strive to make that possible by empowering mountaineers and uplifting adventure activities in Pakistan.
Published in The Express Tribune, March 1st, 2021.