A team of multi-national climbers have scaled K2, Broad Peak and G-II (Gasherbrum-II), the biggest success of the current summer expedition season, sources in a private tour operating company told The Express Tribune on Wednesday.
“This is an incredible feat on K2 which had defied success from Pakistan side for last three years,” said Nazir Sabir, a world acclaimed mountaineer and first Pakistani to climb Everest in May 2000.
The 23-member team, including 16 Nepali sherpas (tigers in Nepali language for high altitude porters) three Chinese, an Iranian, a French and a Turkish climber of the International Seven Summit Trek, led by Chhang Dawa sherpa made it to the top of the 8,611 meters (28,251 feet), second highest mountain in the world in the early hours of Tuesday (July 31) via the Abruzzi ridge, Sabir said.
The Seven Summit Treks team, led by Chhang Dawa Sherpa from Nepal reportedly put about 20 climbers including 10 of the 16 Sherpas on K2 top at 10.55am. Summiteers included Tunc Fındık from Turkey, Fabrice Imprato from France, Adam Bielecki from Poland and Azim Ghaychesaz, an Azeri Turk reportedly topped out without oxygen.
Two Iranian brothers Reza and Sohbatollah Bahadorani reportedly climbed Broad Peak and Andalucia climbers G2.
Few more from other teams are said to have reached the summit but the names are not available putting the total to 23 ever reaching K2 summit in a single day, he said.
Mingma Sherpa was the first Nepalese to have climbed all 14 peaks of over 8,000 meters high in the world.
While supporting his elder brother and chasing his own dreams Chhang Dawa Sherpa also crowned 12 of these peaks. Dawa led this large international team of 16 Nepalese Sherpas to achieve his last Karakoram peak and reached the top of K2 today at around 10am, followed by his colleagues.
Speaking from the summit, Dawa gave the brief details of their success to Nazir Sabir Expeditions office who was handling the team in Pakistan. “He was ecstatic about this great success and informed many of the team members were already at camp four while others were descending there,” Sabir said.
Meanwhile famous Chinese climber Wang Jing and her compatriot Zhang Liang accompanied by two sherpas also scaled Broad Peak around the same time as K2.
“It turned out to be a historic day on K2, a notoriously difficult mountain,” reports the Adventure Blog, quoting some top mountaineers. Tunc Findik from Turkey and his climbing mates had topped out and were safely back in camp 4, but with the weather window wide open there was hope for success out of other teams as well. At least 23 climbers stood on the summit, the most ever for a single day, putting a triumphant exclamation point on a Pakistani climbing season that has been difficult to say the least, the blog said.
Others who put their feet on the summit included Azim from Iran and Fabrice from France 16 Nepalese Sherpas led by Chhang Dawa who claimed his 12th 8000-meter peak. Dawa relayed the news of the team's success to Nazir Sabir, who is handling the group. Most of the climbers had already safely descended back to Base Camp on Wednesday.
Dawa said that there were three other climbers on the summit as well, but their identities were not given at the time.
Meanwhile, there is news of further summit success on K2 as Peter Hamor and Pavel Bem are now confirmed to have topped out as well. They reached the top at 11:15am local time and arrived safely back at Camp 4 a few hours later. The men completed the climb without the use of supplemental oxygen and are now resting before continuing their descent, the Adventure Blog reported.
An Iranian team of Reza and Sohbatollah Bahadorani were able to finally complete their climb on Broad Peak, said Sabir adding that Chinese climbers Wang Jing and her partner Zhang Liang also climbed with the assistance of their two Sherpa guides.
Another website ExWeb says that a team of Andalucía climbers have also managed to summit Gasherbrum-II, another peak that had turned back all previous attempts this season.
It appears that patience has paid off for the teams that were able to stay in Pakistan and wait for the weather to turn in their favour. Most of the climbers have headed for home but the few that had open travel plans were able to stay and take advantage of the shift in conditions. How long this current window will stay open remains to be seen, but it is great to see these dedicated men and women finally getting their opportunity.
The last success on K2 in 2008 was marred by tragedy as 11 mountaineers and high altitude porters from different nationalities lost their lives in avalanches, exposure to cold and other mysterious circumstances.
Two young climbing supporters from Shimshal, Jahan Baig, and Mehrban Karim and several sherpas lost their lives attempting to rescue the trapped climbers around the elusive bottleneck that is famous for ice avalanches high on the Abruzzi ridge. Two Dutch climbers were rescued by helicopter from K2 days after the mountain claimed 11 lives.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 2nd, 2012.
Correction: An earlier report had incorrectly cited that Nazir Sabir had successfully scaled the Everest in 1998. This is incorrect. The error is regretted.