GILGIT: Almost 60 years ago, when Achille Compagnoni and Lino Lacedelli became the first to ever summit K2, their team included a Pakistani member Muhammad Ata Ullah. But on Saturday, just five days shy of that anniversary, six mountaineers from Gilgit-Baltistan became the first ever Pakistani team to reach K-2's summit (8,611m). The day, though, saw nearly 20 climbers reach the summit.
The six Pakistanis including Hassan Jan, Ali Durani, Rahmat Ullah Baig, Ghulam Mehdi, Rozi Ali and Muhammad Sadiq managed to reach summit from the Abruzzi Spur shortly after lunch on Saturday, four of them without supplemental oxygen.
They are part of a Pakistan-Italian K2 60 years later team that was attempting to mark 60 year anniversary of Achille Compagnoni and Lino Lacedelli maiden summit of the 'savage mountain' with a group summit by the first ever Pakistani team.
But their trail and the summit will be quite crowded with a total of 60 climbers in seven teams are currently attempting to summit K2 in two waves over 48 hours as the mountain afforded a rare extended weather window.
“Muhammad Sadiq is part of the six member team that has made it to K2,” tour operator Hasan Khan, confirmed on Saturday, soon after the conquest. They were among the first of the climbers to reach the top on Saturday.
Sadiq is a resident of Gilgit-Baltistan and younger brother of famous mountaineer Hasan Sadpara. Four of the mountaineers hail from Hushe valley of Baltistan, while one is from Shimshal of Gojal. Ali Durrani is the youngest at just 23 years of age.
“Another 30 mountaineers in another group are following and soon will make it to the summit," said Khan.
Two Italian mountaineers, Michele Cucchi and Simone Origone, and a documentary-filmmaker and climber, Daniele Nardi, are also accompanying the Pakistani group. However, Origone returned to camp-4 due to a headache. Pakistani climber Muhammad Hassan also returned to camp-4.
Of the 10 member team, only eight attempted the summit on Saturday. Team leader Muhammad Taqi did not summit.
The venture is supported by the Gilgit-Baltistan government and the Italian organisation Ev-K2-CNR.
However, that was not the end of the good news.
At least a dozen other climbers managed to reach the summit on Saturday.
Among the climbers was Czech mountaineer Radek Jaros at the head of his own team. This was reportedly Jaros' 14th summit over 8,000m, thereby becoming the 31st person to complete all eight thousanders and the first Czech to do so. Czech Trávníček also managed to summit right after him.
Members of a Nepali women team had also reportedly managed to reach the summit on Saturday.
Not to be left behind, an Italian expedition with one Pakistani member also managed to reach the summit on Saturday in a near repeat of Compagnoni and Lacedelli's feat. It also brought the number of Pakistanis summitting K2 in a single day to seven.
The groups who managed to summit today are: International expedition members Adrian Hayes and Al Hancock; Chris Burke, Tsering Sherpa and Lakpa Sherpa; the Italian expedition members Giuseppe Pompili, Tamara Lunger, Nikolaus Gruber and Amin Baig; Czech expedition with Radek Jaros and Trávníček, Greek duo of Alexandros Aravidis and Panagiotis Athanasiadis; Spaniard Ferran Latorre, Pakistani-Italian Expedition (10 members, eight summitted) and a Nepalese all female expedition.
The savage mountain
K-2 is located on the border between Baltistan, in the Gilgit–Baltistan region of northern Pakistan, and the Taxkorgan Tajik Autonomous County of Xinjiang, China.
The first attempt on K-2 was in 1902 by Aleister Crowley and Oscar Eckenstein. They led a team of six climbers and tried to climb the northeast ridge. They failed after 68 days. It was a very bold climb when high-altitude climbing was still getting started.
However in 1954 two Italians - Achille Compagnoni and Lino Lacedelli - reached the top of K-2 on 31 July 1954, making K-2 an all time attractive back in Italy.
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