SKARDU , Pakistan – A team of Pakistani climbers will attempt the summit of K2 next summer, exactly 60 years after the first ascent of the second highest mountain in the word (8611 m). In the past, some strong Pakistani climbers reached the summit of the famous 8000er, often working as high altitude porters for foreign expeditions, but the mountain – considered by the most the hardest one to climb in the world – has never been climbed by a completely Pakistani expedition. Next summer a group of Pakistani climbers will try to reach the summit of K2. The expedition, carried out with an Italian support in the backstage, will attempt the route of the first climb, accomplished in 1954 by the Italian team led by Ardito Desio.
1954 , 2004, and 2014: here are the years of three historic expeditions on K2, tied each other in the sign of mountaineering , exploration and science. The first ascent of the mountain was accomplished in 1954 by the famous Italian expedition led by Ardito Desio: Achille Compagnoni and Lino Lacedelli reached the summit on July 31st climbing the Abruzzi Spur. It was a “conquest” not only from a climbing point of view, but also from a scientific one, since many important surveys were carried out by the expedition in the area of Baltoro Glacier.
In 2004, to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the first ascent, the Italian EvK2Cnr Committee organized a large scientific and mountaineering expedition, with a wide program of surveys and measurements on the 2 highest mountains in the world: Everest and K2. Now, in memory of the 60th anniversary of the first climb and as a sign of friendship that has joined Italy and Pakistan for the last decades, EvK2Cnr will support the Pakistani expedition that will be organized for the summer 2014.
The ” Pakistani K2 expedition 2014-60 years later” was presented in Islamabad at the end of January, during a press conference. The expedition will be organized within the Pakistani celebrations of K2 first ascent, aimed at promoting all over the world the beauty and tourist offers of the Karakorum National Park.
The conference was attended by the Secretary Forests and the Secretary Tourism of Gilgit Baltistan. Both said to be excited for the coming celebrations and expressed the intention to give financial and administrative support, in particular to the expedition. They also praised the work done by the Concordia Rescue Team, the first mountain rescue service in Karakorum created by the EvK2Cnr Committee in 2012 and composed by Pakistani staff specifically trained for high altitude rescue, emphasizing the will to make it become a permanent service in Gilgit Baltistan. The Secretaries signed also two agreements with Evk2Cnr to guarantee 6 years of collaboration for the tourism and socio -economic development of the area.
At the press conference in Islamabad was also announced a special event that will be organized in the framework of the K2 celebrations: next July 31st a great party will be held in Skardu: all the summiters of K2 since 1954 to date will be invited.
As in 1954 and in 2004, also the 2014 expedition will have a scientific program: a group of researchers from the Italian National Institute of Oceanography and Experimental Geophysics of Trieste will carry out a scientific survey to measure the thickness of Baltoro Glacier.
“I think it’s important to keep the memory of Italian and Pakistani history with such a great event for sport and mountaineering but also for culture and science – said Agostino Da Polenza, president of EvK2Cnr – . I met the climbers that will attempt K2 last summer on the Baltoro Glacier, after their climb on Broad Peak, and they seemed to me very determined and motivated”.
The climbers of the expedition “K2 60 years later” will be 6, coming from different villages like Hushey , Shigar and Sapara. According to plans , they will reach K2 Base camp early in the season in order to prepare personally the climbing route with fixed ropes, also for the benefit of anyone who will attempt the climb during the summer.
The expedition leader is Muhammad Taqi. The rest of the team is composed by Ali Durani, Hassan Jan, Ghulam Mehdi, Muhammad Hassan and Ghulam Nabi. The youngest of the group is 23 years old and the oldest 38. Their curricula include several expedition to 8000 meters mountains, sometimes as climbers, sometimes as high altitude porters. They are also working for the Concordia Rescue Team.
“Most of them attended the mountaineering and rescue training courses we have organized for the last 5 years in Gilgit Baltistan” said Maurizio Gallo, responsible for EvK2Cnr activities in Pakistan.
The coming Pakistani expedition to K2 will be in line with the activities promoted over the last years by EvK2Cnr in this area: the climbers, descending the mountain, will collect waste along the Abruzzi Spur, and will provide help and assistance , if necessary, as high altitude rescuers.
The collaboration of EvK2Cnr and the Government of Gilgit Baltistan has been working since several years, with projects like Seed and Karakorum Trust for the sustainable development of the area.