GILGIT: An Afghan climber lost his life at Camp 4 on K2 during his attempt to summit the world’s second highest mountain while a French mountaineer is awaiting rescue at K2 base camp after she came down with high-altitude sickness.

Ali Akbar Sakhi, the first climber from Afg­hanistan to attempt the summit, passed away on the mountain due to a heart attack. He was part of the Pakistani K2 expedition team.

Meanwhile, at least one Nepalese rope fixing team comprising five climbers managed to reach atop K2 on Thursday around 9pm. Muhammad Ali Nagri from Adventure Pak­istan told Dawn that the Nepalese team fixed ropes to the top of the peak. “Now K2 route has been opened for climbers,” he added.

The names of the five Sherpa guides are Pasdawa Sherpa and Chhiring Namgyal of 8K Expeditions, and Siddhi Ghising, Dorjee Gyelzen Sherpa, and Rinji Sherpa of Madison Mountaineering.

French trekker in critical condition at K2 base camp; Nepalese climber becomes first to climb all 8000+ peaks twice

Stranded at base camp

Meanwhile, French trekker Nadia Sarah, who is stuck at the base camp near Concordia, has appealed to the government for a rescue by a helicopter. Karrar Haidri, secretary of Alpine Club of Pakistan, told Dawn that an army helicopter will fly to Concordia in the morning to airlift the stranded trekker.

Wajahat, the tour organiser, told Dawn that the 13-member team of foreign trekkers, including two Pakistanis, started their base camp trek from Skardu about 10 days ago. He said Ms Sarah complained about breathing problems at Concordia and started vomiting on Wednesday. “She has breathing problems and has been vomiting incessantly, the tour operator said, urging the government to rescue her.

Route to K2 open

“K2 has been opened for climbers,” said Muhammad Ali Nigri of Adventure Pakistan while talking about the rope fixing team that managed to reach the summit. A group of climbers waiting at Camp 4 will embark on the final summit push Thursday night, he said, adding many summits are expected today.

8K Expeditions, in a statement, said the rope fixing team reached the top in “two-three hours due to strong winds” near the summit.

A total 170 of climbers, including 13 Paki­stanis, plan to start their K2 summit push in three groups from Camp 4 on Thursday night. Abdul Wahab, a climber from Shimshal who is in contact with Pakistani climbers, said as per a joint strategy, the climbers have divided themselves into three groups.

Pakistani climbers including Samina Baig from Shimshal, Dubai-based Naila Kiani, Abdul Joshi from Shimshal, Sirbaz Khan from Hunza, Wajid Nagri from Nagar, and eight climbers from Shimshal were waiting at Camp 3 and Camp 4 to start the summit push. Till the filing of this story, the climbers had not started the summit push.

Sanu Sherpa

Noted Nepalese climber Sanu Sherpa, 47, scaled Gasherbrum-II (8,035m) on Thursday morning, becoming the first climber in the world to summit all 14 peaks higher than 8,000m, twice.

Sakhawat Hussain from Summit Karakoram, which is a partner of Pioneer Adventure, confirmed the summit. According to a statement issued by Pioneer Adventure, Sanu was an experienced climber with many acclaimed achievements but with little recognition. It said his success was imminent and added that his long-coveted dream of becoming the first mountaineer to scale these mountains twice came to fruition.

A few weeks ago, Sanu had scaled Nanga Parbat.

Published in Dawn, July 22nd, 2022

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