Mountaineering in Pakistan

In post independent days in 1947, number of expeditions to this area recorded an increase. In 1953 a US expedition took the initiative of an attempt on K-2 but remained unsuccessful. Anyway an Italian expedition led by Prof. Ardito Desio successfully went for the first ascent of the extremely fierce mountain - K-2.

In Turkish language Karakoram means "black" this excellent and impressive set of dark brown and black variety of rocks in very rare mountain range. It houses the largest collection of very high pinnacles and mountains in the world stretched for 400 kms. This concentration has 250 kms depth. It is surrounded by Shyok River in the East and Karamber, Ishkuman and Gilgit Rivers in the the West.

Then it is surrounded by the Shaksgan River in the North East and by Shyok and the Indus Rivers in the South West. Karakoram has special significance for its fractujred rocks, guarding vertical characteristics and very sharp angled slopes offersing great challenge to mountaineers and adventure lovers.
 Four summits above 8000 meters i.e., K-2, Gasherbrum I and II as well as Broad Peak exist in Karakoram in an area of only 20 kms encircling the re;puted glacial junction - Concordia. Boltoro, Soltoro, Lupghar, Khunjerab, Panmah, Aghil, Masherbrum, Saser, Hispar, Siachin, Rino, Batura, Raka;poshi/Bagrot and Haramosh are the sub-regions of the Karakoram.
This region has variable snow line ranging between 4200 to 4500 meters during the summer season.
The temperatures in the area are extremely varied with large difference between lowest and highest mercury in a day. There is no penetration of Monsoons in this area. From May till end of September, each year is the most viable season to go for climbing in Karakoram. However climbing during winter kis possible. Apart from towering mountains, Karakoram house largest glaciers beyond the polar regions.

The Hindukush stand high in the west of Pamirs. Considerably it stretches from Wakhjir pass at the conjunction of pamirs and Karakoram to Khawak pass in the north of Kabul. First part of it goes beyond Wakhjir pass up to Dorah pass (320 kms long) and separates Hunza from Wakhan. Its second is satuated on the other side of Dorah pass in Afghanistan. The third region with 240 kms length is located in Pakistan stretching into swat and Kohistan.

 Eastward, the Indus River separates it from Karakoram. Thich Mir (7492m), Darban Zom (7219m) and Shingeik Zom are the other peaks of the area. There are few glaciers in the range but these less significant. Because of geographic qualities this area has accessibility to Afghanistan and in 1830 it was first discovered by Europeans and then by the survey teams from Britain. British survey teams had attempted to climb Tirchmir and other summits in the area dating back in 1927. However in 1950 a Norwegian expedition comprising of nationals of different countries along with Pakistanis have scaled it. 

Other summits of the area were scaled afterwards i.e., in the sixties and seventies. Though almost all the peaks in the above 7000m in the Hindukush have already been scaled, still the goes on to attract mountaineers and those having love for nature. Lately other activities related to adventure tourism such as trekking and jeep safaris have shown considerable rise in the area.

Western Himalayas:

The western Himalayas is located between valley of Kashmir in the east to Indus River in the north and west and Nanga Parbat massif is dominating it. Highest peak of this chain stands at 8125m. the range includes Kashmir, Kaghan, Kohistan, Deosai and Chitral regions. Deosai plains existing at an altitude of about 4500m also dominate this range. These plains are full of flowers blossoming in the summer months, offering very charming scenery. The monsoon also blesses the area and summer is the climbing season. Recently to some extent winter climbing has also commenced.

Nanga Parbat set of peaks has various routes but Rupal (eastern face), Riakot/Fairy Meadows side (north western face), Diamer face(the western side) and the lengthy western Mazeno ridge are famous base camps. Europeans had explored it in late 19th century. Nanga Parbat region was first visited by the Schlagintweet brothers of Germany in 1854. Mr. A.F.Mummery led a British expedition which tried hard to pave the way on the southern and western slopes in 1985. A joint German and us expedition did try to get on Nanga Parbat in 1932. 

Afterwards German expeditions attempted it in 1937 and 1939 with heavy casualties, that why it is often called a German mount. However in 1953, a joint Austrian German expedition headed by Mr. Herlingkoffer successfully scaled this killer mountain. Mr. Hermann Buhl unprecedently making a solo attempt, became successful to get on the peak in 40 hours. Since then the summit has been scaled from all sides by several climbers like Mr. Reinhold Messener. He has climbed it on few occasions, Sher khan, Rajab shah, Mohammad-ullah and Att ul Haq were the first Pakistanis to climb Nanga Parbat in 1989.

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