Foreign climbers arrive in Pakistan to summit K2 as COVID-19 curbs relaxed

K2 mountain Pakistan
A photo of K2, the world’s second-highest mountain, is displayed on a cell phone in Islamabad. Image Credit: AP

Islamabad: A group of 20 foreign climbers have arrived in Pakistan as the country has reopened tourism following the gradual drop in coronavirus infections.

On June 27, the mountaineers reached Skardu, the city of Gilgit-Baltistan (GB) surrounded by snowy peaks, to begin the “K2 and Broad Peak expedition 2021.” They are on a mission to summit the 8,611-metres K2, the world’s second-highest mountain, and Broad Peak, the 12th highest mountain in the world, which is considered one of the safer 8000m peaks.

At least “sixteen members will attempt K2 summit. Some of them will be attempting to ascend both K2 and Broad Peak,” Karrar Haidri of Alpine Club of Pakistan (ACP), told Gulf News. ACP finalized the formalities for the summit on behalf of the GB tourism department.

The expedition, organized by the US-based mountain guide service, Madison Mountaineering, comprises 10 Nepalese, five Britons, four Americans and one Ukrainian. The expedition leader Garrett Christian Madison is America’s premier Everest guide and climber. He led the first successfully guided ascent of K2 — the world’s most dangerous mountain — in 2014.

“Hopefully it will be good weather and we get to Jhola camp by the evening time, can set up camp, and start trekking the next day” wrote Madison in a June 27 post on the website. We are excited to be in Pakistan and begin our expedition” said Madison, the only American to climb K2 twice.

Besides Madison, the other American climbers include Conan Bliss, Chase Allan Mer-riam and Alexander Pancoe. 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.

The Nepali team includes Lakpa Sherpa, Mingma Dorchi, Sanu Sherpa, Pemba Sher-pa, Chhiring Sherpa, Mingma Sherpa, Pemba Sherpa, Lakpa Sherpa, and Tashi Sher-pa. The Nepalese climbers boarded a chartered plane from Kathmandu to Islamabad after Pakistan finally relaxed its ban on travellers from Nepal due to the threat of the Delta strain of the coronavirus.

The team members said they would continue to follow all coronavirus related precau-tions in Pakistan.


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