K2 tragedy and a first ascent marks Pakistan season

Membership, Mountaineering

The Alpine Club of Pakistan has published records of this year’s expeditions in the country. 2008 will probably be remembered most for the 11 deaths on K2, but the season also saw one first ascent.

Seventy-six expeditions were given permission to climb one or more Pakistani peaks in 2008. Two expeditions were not allowed to climb peaks close to the Siachen Glacier because of the military presence there.

2008 proved a very bleak year for K2, as 11 climbers died on the mountain on August 1. Attempting to summit the peak were 74 climbers from 10 expeditions, but only 17 of them from six expeditions were successful.

Another five climbers died on Pakistan’s mountains this year: one on Broad Peak, two on Nanga Parbat, one on Gasherbrum I and one on Muztagh Tower.

However, 2008 also saw a first ascent; Italians Simone Moro and Hervè Barmasse were able to make the top of Bekka Brakai Chhok (6,940m).

On Broad Peak, seven out of 12 expeditions were successful, with 29 climbers reaching the summit. On Gasherbrum II, 11 out of 17 expeditions reached the peak, while on Gasherbrum-I only four out of 12 expeditions managed to put climbers on the summit.

Reaching the peak of Nanga Parbat, (8,125m), proved difficult for the nine expeditions who attempted the ascent this season, as only three teams were successful. One of the climbers was Pakistani Nisar Hussain, who now has climbed all five mountains above 8,000 meters in the country.

Spantik Peak turned out to be an even bigger challenge as only one expedition – from Italy – reached the 7,027m summit, while 12 other expeditions were stopped by bad weather.

In total, 92 attempts were made on 24 peaks by 634 members of 76 expeditions. Out of these, 132 climbers reached the summits of 12 peaks.