Bad weather hampers rescue operation for Shehroze Kashif, Fazal Ali on Nanga Parbat

Published July 7, 2022
<p>(L-R) Sharif Sadpara and Imran Karim have died on Broad Peak.</p>

(L-R) Sharif Sadpara and Imran Karim have died on Broad Peak.

• Two high altitude porters die on Broad Peak
• Stranded climbers being monitored through telescopes from control room

GILGIT: Two high altitude porters lost their lives on Broad Peak while two mountaineers remain missing on Nanga Parbat as expeditions set out to conquer the over 8,000 metre high mountains in the country’s northern region.

Sharif Sadpara from Skardu and Imran Karim from Hunza died on the 8,051 metre high Broad Peak on Tuesday. Sadpara was part of an international expedition team while Karim was in a hiking group.

A total of 1,400 climbers will be attempting to summit peaks in Gilgit-Baltistan. As many as 100 permits have been issued to international climbers for Nanga Parbat and over 50 permits issued for Broad peak. As many as 400 international climbers will attempt to climb K2.

According to the tour operator, Sharif Sadpara slipped from the peak at around 8,000 metres altitude and fell into a deep ravine. His body is yet to be recovered as the operation is highly risky.

Sadpara was considered to be a strong and experienced high altitude porter.

In another incident, Imran Karim, 35, died when he fell into a crevasse while hiking on the Broad peak base camp on Monday. The recovery of his body was not possible.

(L-R) Sheroze Kashif and Fazal Ali are missing on Nanga Parbat.
(L-R) Sheroze Kashif and Fazal Ali are missing on Nanga Parbat.

On the other hand, two mountaineers, Shehroze Kashif from Lahore and Fazal Ali from Shimshal of Gilgit-Baltistan’s Hunza district, went missing from camp 3 – which is at an altitude of around 6,700 metres – while descending from Nanga Parbat, the ninth highest peak in the world at 8,126 metres, on Tuesday morning.

Bad weather did not permit Pakistan Army helicopters to rescue the stranded climbers on Wednesday while ground rescue team could not move up to camp 1.

The Gilgit-Baltistan government had started the rescue operation within hours. However, on Wednesday morning, the regional government announced that police officials and climbers present at the base camp had confirmed that telescope visuals showed the mountaineers descending from camp 4 and were “okay”.

The news was also confirmed by the tour operator and managing director of Summit Karakoram, Sakhawat Hussain, and Diamer Deputy Commissioner Fayyaz Ahmed.

According to an update shared on Kashif’s official Facebook page on Wednesday, the two mountaineers had “spent the night in the open to wait for the weather to clear and resumed their descent early in the morning on Wednesday”.

The duo is showing great resilience and willpower to manage things themselves in the death zone and are now approaching camp 3, the update added.

Talking to Dawn, Diamer Deputy Commissioner Fayyaz Ahmed said the high altitude police, local porters and Nepalese Sherpas present at the base camp were monitoring the stranded climbers from the control room set up at the base camp through telescopes.

“The search team were of the view that both climbers had descended from camp 4 to camp 3 on Wednesday morning, and were resting in their tent where they had deposited food and other items,” Mr Ahmed said.

He said the ground rescue team had planned to start climbing from camp 1 towards camp 3 today (Thursday morning).

“The ground rescue team can reach camp 3 till noon (today) and will then decide the next course of action after analysing the (climbers) condition, the deputy commissioner said.

“If the weather allows, army helicopters will also fly to the area on Thursday morning to drop some climbers near the stranded duo, he added.

An official of the tour organisation, on condition of anonymity, told Dawn that at present the stranded climbers had no radio communication or GPS device to contact or find out their location. Only the search team at the base camp can assess their condition and location through telescopes, he added.

The stranded climbers were supposed to arrive at base camp 1 or camp 2; however it is not clear why they are not descending further, the official said, adding that bad weather might be a factor which is hampering their movement.

Talking to Dawn, Alpine Club of Pakistan (ACP) Secretary Karrar Haidri said Sheroze Kashif had “set another world record by summiting Nanga Parbat”, adding that the youngster had now scaled eight of the 14 peaks that were over 8,000 metres.

He is aiming to become the youngest climber in the world by climbing all 8,000 metre high mountains, Mr Haidri said.

On the other hand, Fazal Ali is an experienced mountaineer from Shimshal Valley of Hunza and had set the world record of climbing K2 three times, he added.

Published in Dawn, July 7th, 2022

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