An international mountaineering outfit, comprising 20 climbers, has come to Pakistan to summit K2 (8611-metre) and Broad Peak (8047-metre), an Alpine Club of Pakistan (ACP) member said on Sunday.
The expedition has been organised by the US-based boutique mountain guide service, Madison Mountaineering, which includes 10 Nepalese, five British, four US and one Ukrainian national. ‘The team led by renowned US mountaineer Garrett Christian Madison proceeded to Gilgit-Baltistan on Sunday,” ACP Secretary Karrar Haidri shared.
The mountaineers are scheduled to complete their expedition by the end of August, he added.
According to Haidri, “sixteen members of the team will attempt K2 summit while as many will be scaling Broad Peak. Some of them will be attempting to ascend both peaks,” he added.
Pakistan relaxed its ban on Nepali citizens two weeks ago amid concerns for Covid-19’s Delta strain. “They (Nepalese climbers) are considered an essential part of any mountaineering expedition. Hence, the Pakistan government has allowed their entry under strict measures. They are required to provide proof of complete vaccination and two PCR tests,” Haidri maintained.
He said formalities for the expedition were completed by the ACP on behalf of the Gilgit-Baltistan Tourism Department, which is the climbing permit issuing authority. The mountaineers have also been asked to strictly adhere to environment preservation measures while they are on the Baltoro glacier in accordance with the ACP guidelines.
In addition to co-leader Lakpa Sherpa and Mingma Dorchi, the Nepali team includes Sanu Sherpa, Pemba Sherpa, Chhiring Sherpa, Mingma Sherpa, Pemba Sherpa, Lakpa Sherpa, and Tashi Sherpa.
Dorchi holds the speed record of six hours for linking the summits of Everest and Lhotse in 2019 and has ascended K2 twice previously. He has also led teams to Annapurna and Everest and will be trying to accomplish one more feat this year by climbing K2, the secretary informed.
Besides Garrett Madison, the other US climbers include Conan Bliss, Alexander Pancoe and Chase Allan Merriam.
The British climbers include Jonathan Gupta, Robert Smith, Robert Richard, Rebecca Jane Ferry and Kenton Edward. Ukraine’s Oksana Litynska is also part of the team.
He appreciated the Pakistan government’s decision to ease visa restrictions and facilitate tourists as highly commendable. “I believe this will bring an end to a period of nothingness [due to Covid-19] and there will be a lot of climbing activities in this country,” he added.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 28th, 2021.