GILGIT: Training camps for local high altitude porters to impart them skills of ice climbing concluded at Malangudi Glacier in the Shimshal valley of Hunza district.

The training ranged from basic techniques and mountaineering fundamentals to advanced ice climbing and rescue methods.

The total 30 high altitude guides, 12 from Baltistan, and 16 from Shimshal, including seven girls, three K2 summiteers, participated in the training.

The Pakistan Youth Outreach Foundation (PYOF) in collaboration with Karakoram Expeditions organised its eighth annual training camp from January 5 to 10.

PYOF founder and famous climber Mirza Ali said Pakistan was home to five peaks above 8,000 meters, including K2, the second highest and the hardest peak in the world, and more than 100 peaks above 7,000 meters, thus offering immense opportunities for mountain adventure and trekking.

He said great adventure tourism potential was source of survival to locals to earn their living.

Mr Ali said mountaineering and tourism industry had not yet been considered an industry in Pakistan due to lack of training to locals.

The locals are losing jobs related to mountain adventures as Nepali Sherpas are frequently employed, he added.

“These platforms will enable the locals to get training and other necessary steps to safeguard local mountaineers,” he said.

A participant, Fida from Baltistan, said they needed training to improve their climbing skills.

Ahmed Baig, a young climber from Shimshal, aims to work on K2 and believes this camp polished his skills and hopes to assist fixing rope on K2 this coming season. The trainers were mountaineers Jalaluddin, Eid Mohammad and Arshad Karim.

Published in Dawn, January 14th, 2019