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GILGIT: A record-breaking number of climbers have ascended the world’s deadliest peak, K2, in the last three days.

By Monday, a total of 63 mountaineers scaled the peak of which 31 had ascen­d­ed on Saturday while 32 climbers summitted K2 on Sunday.

The number of mountaineers to summit the peak is expected to rise in the coming days as more climbers are on their way.

The 63 climbers, who were on four different expeditions, belong to various countries, including Japan, China, Ireland, the US and Poland. However, one of them did not survive.

Nazir Sabir, head of a tour company, told Dawn that Japanese climber Kojiro Watanabe, 41, had died while descending the peak. He dropped around 8,300 metres during descent at about 6pm in the Bottleneck, a well-known challenging area. The climber was accompanied by five Japanese teammates, but his body has not yet been found.

The Japanese climbers who scaled K2 are: Takashi Higashiyama (37), Masaaki Yusa (55), Kyoko Hayashi (45), Kojiro Watanabe (41), Masato Iizawa (32) and Atsushi Taguchi (30). The Pakistani climbers who were part of the summit are Fazal Ali Shimshal and Sarbaz from Hunza.

According to Nazir Sabir, it is the highest record of climbers to summit K2 so far and the number will increase.

A US team comprising 22 members, headed by Garrett Madison, has also ascended the peak.

In a message posted by the leader of the USA Internatio­nal K2 Expedition 2018, Mr Madison said: “We reached the summit of K2 today!! Second highest mountain in the world! We had a beautiful day. We left high camp about 9:00pm and got to the summit about 6:30-7:00am — all members were on top.”

Renowned mountaineer Alan Arnett said July 22 saw another 32 summits on K2, taking the total for 2018 to 63, adding that it was the biggest year for the world’s second highest peak.

With this year’s success, there are a number of climbers who have achieved multiple K2 summits. They are: Fazal Ali Shimshal, 45, who ascended for the third time, Garett Madison (two summits), Dawa Sangay Sherpa, Ngima Dorchi Sherpa, Chhiji Norbu Sherpa and Lakpa Temba Sherpa.

Mexican Viridiana Alva­rez became the first Latin American woman to summit K2 while Mongolian mountaineer Badamgarav Gangaa­maa became the first person from the country after Mount Qomolangma to succeed at the feat.

Published in Dawn, July 24th, 2018