ISLAMABAD: After climbing all the way up to Makalu – the fifth highest mountain in the world –without oxygen, Mingma G from Nepal now has set his eyes on the world’s second highest peak, K2.

This was highlighted by the Alpine Club of Pakistan (ACP) on Sunday. His team of sherpas will reach K2 Base Camp on June 13 and 14 to take the lead on the rope-fixing work this season, ACP Secretary Karrar Haidri said.

‘Imagine Nepal’, the group that has organised the expedition, confirmed that while climbing Broad Peak was on the cards, their main focus this summer was K2. Members of the expedition also intend to climb Nanga Parbat in the off season during the second half of August into September.

Mr Haidri said in addition to better conditions, Imagine Nepal’s strategy sat well with one of its visually impaired members, Jill Wheatley from Canada who climbed Dhaulagiri, Kangchenjunga and Makalu this past spring. “And now, she hopes to climb K2, Broad Peak and Nanga Parbat, before the summer ends,” he added.

Climbers who start with Nanga Parbat then have to hurry to finish K2 and Broad Peak before unstable weather hits the Karakoram in August, he said, adding that Ms Wheatley had been living and training in Nepal in order to improve her climbing skills.

She was in the shape required to tackle the three mountains on her summer wish-list swiftly, Mr Haidri said.

As a member of Imagine Nepal’s team, she was one of the few who reached the summit of Manaslu.

Mr Haidri said climbing multiple 8,000 metre peaks in a season was harder in Pakistan than anywhere else in the world. Hurricanes, extreme temperatures and fatigue usually gets the best of mountaineers. Apart from the usual risks and hardships, he said, climbers must consider the unpredictable Karakoram weather and the fact that there are no rest areas on the peaks before deciding that they want to be part of the expedition.

Meanwhile, an international team of mountaineers has arrived in Pakistan to attempt to reach the peak of Nanga Parbat (8,126 metres).

Published in Dawn, June 13th, 2022

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