It has been six difficult days for the world, waiting in anticipation of good news. Sadly, it seems it is time to conclude that Muhammad Ali Sadpara and two other mountain climbers (JP Mohr from Chile and John Snorri from Iceland) may not be alive. People continue to play for them, but chances of their survival are getting bleaker by the hour. There is no official confirmation by the summit yet.
Last Week – When It Began
Ali Sadpara and his two colleagues prepared and started their journey to the top of the K2 Mountain last week. They were set with all the protective gear needed to face the treacherous weather of K2. There were bound to be strong winds, the deadly cold of the snow in extremely low temperatures.
They knew what they were up for and prepared to make history. This time, the trio was attempting to push their way to reach 8,611 meters (roughly 28,251 foot) high. To make it even more of a historic achievement they decided to go without supplemental oxygen to make history.
According to reports that came on 6 February 2021, immediately there was a problem, the trio was almost at the snow-capped tip of the K2 and approximately 411 meters away. Those following up on their progress reportedly lost contact just a few hours after Alpinist Atanas Skatov the Bulgarian colleague, fell into a fissure of the mountain, and died.
The Pakistani President joined the entire nation and lovers of the mountain climbers to pray for their rescue. However, the harsh weather led to delays in the rescue and search team’s progress. Once the weather settled, the rescue teams dispatched again, but so far, there has been no news.
The Pakistani army is using the best equipment possible to track and rescue or retrieve them.
Remembering Muhammad Ali Sadpara
Ali Sadpara is a global sensation and recognized as the climber who summited Nanga Parbat in winters. Nanga Parbat is popular as the western anchor of the Himalayas. He also climbed the K2 Mountain four times before, once with his 20-years old son. K2 is also popular by the name “Savage Mountain” because of the harsh conditions it has. Therefore, Sadpara made headlines for his unique talent.
He was a footballer before he became a climber.
Ali Sadpara was 45 years old, born in 1976. His origins were Sadpara village, which is situated in the remote areas of Skardu (Northern Gilgit-Baltistan). Neighboring Sadpara is the Chinese border.
Ali Sadpara was the only Pakistani in history to scale eight peaks that measure more than 8,000 meters. Five of these are in Pakistan and three of the peaks are in Nepal.
He also climbed the 8,126-meter high Nanga Parbat without Oxygen in 2016, which made headlines and brought him a lot of fame.
In 2019 January, he had tried to climb the peak of Mount Everest with his Spanish colleague Alex Tixon. However, they had to abort the climb due to harsh weather.
The secretary of Alpine Club of mountaineering organization, Karrar Haidri reportedly said that Sadpara hoped to join the elite club of those who climbed all 14 “eight-thousanders.”
How His Career as a Climber Began
Karakoram, Himalaya, Pamir, and Hindukush have recently started seeing huge developments and brain gain. Before, they were part of the Pakistan-administered state of Jammu and Kashmir. These areas are among the greatest mountain ranges in the world, and K-2 is a global sensation for mountain climbers.
However, the locals in these areas have to work as porters and movers of loads for foreign climbers who visit these areas. The people here lack training and have financial constraints, which prevents them from making a name in this field.
Despite the challenges, Sadpara began a career as a mountaineer in 1990. He was a low-altitude porter in the beginning. This meant he could only accompany foreign mountaineers to their base camps and help carry the load.
By 2005, Sadpara became known as a high-altitude porter. This allowed him to reach the maximum height for camping. Within a year, he was one of those who scaled the world’s thirteenth highest mountain, named Geeshabroom-2. It is 8,035 meters high (i.e. 26,362 feet), and is situated in Gilgit-Baltistan.
Friends Remember Ali Sadpara with High Esteem
Qasim Butt, his childhood friend said Football was his first love. In the Government College of Skardu, he played as a midfielder, achieving success for several years.
A local journalist told Anadolu Agency “Climbing was his second choice. He developed a passion for climbing when he started going with international climbers as a porter, which is one of the few income sources for area youths.”
Sadpara’s son, Sajid Sadpara told Anadolu Agency, “Scaling the K-2 in the winters and without (supplemental) oxygen was his longtime dream. He was very excited about this expedition,”
He also said he was part of the ill-fated expedition. However, he returned to the base camp after getting to a height of 8,200 meters because of issues with the equipment. His oxygen tank was not working.
Sadpara’s Last Words to His Son
Sajid sadly recalled, “I saw him on Feb. 5 at the height of 8,200 meters from where the bottleneck (a steep, narrow gully on the edge of the ice on the glacier surface east of the summit) starts. He was a few meters away from me.
Sajid sadly added that, “He asked me to use (supplemental) oxygen to ascend the bottleneck as the oxygen level had dropped to a dangerous level. These were his last words. I cried out to tell him about the issue, but he disappeared by that time. I never saw him again. “He might have sensed the danger ahead. That is why he had asked me to use (supplemental) oxygen to climb further. God knows better.”
Losing Ali Sadpara is a Great loss
His loss will affect mountaineers for a very long time, Nazir Sabir (the first Pakistani to climb Mount Everest in 2000 and veteran mountaineer often associated with Sadpara) said.
“He was brave and tough. Sabir,” Nazir told Anadolu Agency.
He added, “Mountaineering is a risky business. And it becomes riskier in the case of climbing a mountain like K-2, which is the most beautiful yet most dangerous and challenging mountain in the world,”
Sabir had climbed the K-2 Mountain in 1981 and become the second Pakistani mountain climber to have done that.
He said, “Heroism doesn’t work while scaling a mountain like K-2. You have to be extra careful and concentrated, otherwise one wrong step, and it’s over,” hoping that this huge loss will not dishearten aspiring climbers to pursue greatness.
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