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Norwegian in Chitral to mark ’64 Tirich Mir scaling

August 14, 2014

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Norwegian climber Ralph Hoibakk speaks at a function in Chitral on Wednesday. —Dawn
Norwegian climber Ralph Hoibakk speaks at a function in Chitral on Wednesday. —Dawn

CHITRAL: A Norwegian national, who had scaled Tirich Mir, the highest peak of Hindukush mountains in 1964, has arrived here to celebrate the golden jubilee of the event at the foot of the peak.

Only one of his porters, a local resident, is alive.

Ralph Hoibakk was one of the three Norwegians, who had scaled the Tirich Mir peak for the second time in 1964.

His compatriots touched the summit in 1950.

“I decided to commemorate the unforgettable day in the base camp of the mighty peak with the porters who had extended help to our team but one of them was surviving,” he said during functions organised here in connection with the celebrations.The mountaineer said two of his companions, Andreas Opdal and Per Vcerust, were other surviving members of the team.

He said he was 26 at the time of the expedition, while the surviving porter was in early 30s.

Ralph Hoibakk recounted the fierce skirmish of the team with blizzards and hostile winds, which, he said, tended to repulse them with each moment of the vertically upward scramble when they faced certain death hovering over them.

“It was only enthusiasm and a passion to go to the highest peak of one of the world’s mightiest mountains. Fortunately, that worked despite all odds and difficulties,” he said.

The mountaineer said the team leading to the Oveer valley, the base camp of Tirich Mir, consisted of 98 porters but only one of them was alive after 50 years.

He stressed the need for inspiring Chitral’s youths to climb the mountains saying the district was a paradise of mountaineers, where there are more than 100 peaks with over 5,000 metres altitudes.

Earlier, the people accorded warm welcome to the mountaineer on arrival in Oveer valley and Chitral.

The Norwegian was excited to see 81-year-old Abdur Rahim of Oveer valley, the only surviving porter of the expedition.

He remained with him for a lot of time. Various functions were organised in his honour by the Chitral Association for Mountain Areas Tourism, a local tourism promotion organisation.

Shahzada Sirajul Mulk, Dr Inayatullah Faizi and Professor Rehmat Karim Baig spoke on the occasion.

Published in Dawn, Aug 14th, 2014