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ISLAMABAD: German, Polish and Italian mountaineers summited Gasherbrum I and II – which are 8,080 metres and 8,035m high respectively – last week, the Alpine Club of Pakistan (ACP) confirmed on Saturday.

The ACP said heavy snow altered German mountaineer Luis Stitzinger’s plans. He had initially planned to first climb the 7,082m Urdok Kangri II, but then chose to switch to Gasherbum I.

He summited Gasherbrum I on July 18 alongside Italian mountaineer Gianpaolo Corona.

Felix Berg from Germany and Adam Bielecki from Poland summited Gasherbrum II on July 16 in difficult conditions, the ACP added. Early indications suggested that the route they took may have been unique.

Their climbing partners Jacek Czech and Borys Dedeszko turned back at 7,500m and 7,800m. Adam Bielecki and Jacek Czech had then planned to move on to Gasherbrum IV, but changed their plans after Italian mountaineer Maurizio Giordano was killed by falling ice on July 11.

Two Hungarian climbers, David Klein and Suhajda Szilard had planned to summit Gasherbrum I and II without oxygen but were unable to after dangerously strong winds forced them to retreat.

The 7,300m Lupghar Sar West was also summited this year. The mountain is the 109th tallest in the world, but not as imposing as some of its neighbouring peaks.

However, ACP Secretary Karrar Haidri said tackling the mountain and its summit alone is an accomplishment; Austrian alpinist Hansjorg Auer reached the summit alone in July 8 after waiting out the unstable June conditions.

The first female team ever to summit the 5,300m Shifkteen Sar, in the Shimshal Valley in Hunza, also did so this summer. The team consisted of students from the Shimshal Mountaineering School, Hafeeza Bano, Afasana Shahid, Shakeela Numah, Nadeema Sehar, Samreen Afiyat and Zubaida Waheed.

Three Pakistani girls also scaled the 6,080m Manglessar Peak in Shimshal Valley. Amina Hanif, 13, Maryam Bashir, 14, and Siddiqa Batool, 15, hail from the Hushey Valley of Gilgit-Baltistan. They began climbing on July 16 and set foot on the summit on July 24.

Published in Dawn, August 6th, 2018