ISLAMABAD: As rains caused floods and landslides in several parts of the country and the temperatures dropped by about 15 degrees during the longest days of the year, expeditions wait to see whether this may affect climbing conditions in the mountains, said Alpine Club of Pakistan (ACP) on Sunday.

“Although mountaineers are no strangers to unusual weather in Pakistan’s Karakuram Range, they will have to include patience in their tactics,” said ACP Secretary Karrar Haidri, adding some wondered if the unpredictable Karakoram weather could be equally abnormal this summer season.

Mr Haidri told Dawn that climbers attempting to summit the 8,126-metre-high Nanga Parbat in the Himalayan Range admitted that the snow that had accumulated for the past several days would make rope fixing difficult.

“Yesterday, climbers reported that it was snowing at Nanga Parbat’s base camp for the fourth day in a row and estimated that 80cm of fresh wet snow had fallen just in the last 24 hours,” he said.

Snowfall over last several days would make rope fixing difficult on Nanga Parbat, says official

Snowfall had also delayed alpine-style teams, including the French climbers on Pumari Chhish East and the Americans on K7, according to the ACP.

However, meteorological experts were working with several climbers and paragliding expeditions currently in the Karakoram.

The difficult conditions had thwarted Carlos Garranzo’s K2 attempt even before it began. The Spanish climber and blogger slipped on an icy rock and broke his leg. He was now back in Islamabad, ready to depart for home.

“Overall, waiting is just part of the game for the adventure seekers in the Karakoram. The weather test patience of many who are record-seeking climbers eyeing several peaks before August,” Mr Haidri said.

This season could break records for the number of climbing permits. The biggest crowds were flocking to the second highest peak in the world - K2 - and Broad Peak, which is the 12th highest mountain in the world at 8,051 metres. More than 350 permits have been issued so far, he added.

Also making news this summer is mountaineer Naila Kiani for the 8,611-metre-high K2.

Kiani is a Dubai-based Pakistani banker and an amateur boxer, whose love for the mountainous regions inspired her to carry out her wedding ceremony right at the K2 base camp in 2018. In 2021, she summated the world’s 13th highest mountain, the Gasherbrum II 8,035 metres, right after giving birth to her child.

In a meeting, Kiani said she was on a mission to promote Pakistan’s tourism and empower Pakistani women.

Mr Haidri said this year Kiani and Samina Baig have set their eyes on reaching the top of K2.

Baig and Kiani became the first Pakistani women to climb Everest in 2013 and Gasherbrum II in 2021, respectively.

Published in Dawn, June 27th, 2022

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