Second chances: Pakistani mountaineer survives Nepal earthquake

Shaheen Baig, a founder of Shimshal climbing school, is in Nepal for an expedition


Shabbir Mir May 05, 2015
Shaheen Baig. PHOTO: FILE

GILGIT: Pakistani mountaineer, Shaheen Baig, was one of the fortunate ones who survived the deadly earthquake which tore at the very heart of Nepal recently.

Though his travel agency confirmed Baig’s safety, his relatives back in Pakistan have not been able to make direct contact with him since the 7.8 Richter scale earthquake claimed over 7,000 lives.

“We have not been able to speak to Shaheen but the travel agency he deals with in Nepal confirmed he is safe,” his younger brother Majeed Karim said on Tuesday.

Talking to The Express Tribune over the telephone from Islamabad, Karim said Baig had joined an expedition in Nepal on April 12, 2015 to cross the 5,700 metre Selele La Pass in Kanchenjunga.

“According to the trekking schedule, they should be at Kanchenjunga Base Camp today. However, we aren’t sure where his expedition is heading or has reached,” added Karim. Baig’s expedition was to cross Selele La Pass to reach Cheram Valley – a 15-day trek to Kathmandu.

“We are worried about our brother and pray for his safe return,” said Karim.

One of the eight-thousanders

Baig, 43, is a resident of Gilgit–Baltistan’s Shimal Valley which is at times referred to as the “valley of mountaineers”.

He is one of the co-founders of Shimshal Mountaineering School which has produced mountaineering giants like Samina Baig, her brother Mirza Ali, Meherban Shah, and Qudrat Ali, among others.

Baig scaled the world’s second highest peak K2 in 2004. In addition, he has climbed Gasherbrum I, II and the 8,047-metre-high Broad Peak.

The 43-year-old has also been part of various search operations to locate and retrieve missing climbers. In 2013, he led an international search operation on Gasherbrum-I to locate missing climbers after an avalanche.

Pakistani climber, Mirza Ali was also among the lucky ones who lived to tell the horror of April 25, 2015. His family learnt on April 28 that Ali survived the deadly avalanche on Mount Everest triggered by the earthquake.

Published in The Express Tribune, May 6th, 2015.

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