ISLAMABAD, Aug 3: A major attraction of attempting peaks that are above 7,000 metres but less than 8,000m is that they are usually easier to summit, but this is not true for the Diran Peak, which remains unconquered for the past 45 years.
The pyramid shaped mountain in the Karakoram Range of Gilgit-Baltistan stands at 7,266m, and this year, the two expeditions that tried to reach its summit were forced to abandon the attempt and return home.
One of these teams was from Slovakia, which was led by Peter Skorik. The seven-member expedition attempted a climb on Diran Peak but called it quits soon.
According to the president of Alpine Club of Pakistan (ACP), Col Manzoor Hussain, the team had announced on July 1, 2013 during a press briefing at the ACP auditorium that it would attempt Diran Peak. This statement came a week after ten foreign mountaineers were murdered in a terrorist attack in June, of which two climbers were Slovaks.
Apart from the Slovak expedition, Pavel Matousek, who was leading the second four-member team from Czech Republic, was forced to abandon the attempt and had to return while the expedition was in the early climbing stages.
“Both teams did not make it past Camp I. The weather remained unfavourable and was too risky to summit Diran Peak,” said Col Manzoor Hussain. He added that among the famous 7,000m plus mountains such as the Spantik Peak (7,027m) and Rakaposhi (7,788m), Diran was the hardest to climb.
Avalanches, numerous crevasses, sub-zero temperatures, ice and incredibly thin air were all contributing factors which made an attempt at Diran Peak dangerous, said Mr Hussain.
“There have been few attempts and several casualties on Diran Peak,” said Mr Hussain, explaining that the treacherous mountain was famous which only few dared to take on.
According to the Alpine Club, the Diran Peak saw its first successful ascent in 1968 when three Austrian climbers, Rainer Goeschl, Rudolph Pischinger and Hanns Schell, reached the summit. Earlier attempts by a German expedition in 1959 and an Australian expedition in 1964 had been unsuccessful.
“There are certain mountains that command respect from even the most experienced climbers; peaks that continue to inspire awe and anxiety decades after their first ascent and Diran is one of them,” Mr Hussain said.
The ACP said because of the low success rate on Diran Peak, most expeditions from USA, Canada and Europe such as the British, French and Swiss, were attempting the Spantik Peak, the Shispare Peak (7,611m), the Passu peak (7,284m) and the 6,610-metre-high Paiju Peak to mention a few.