Record number of international climbers to summit peaks in Pakistan

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Expedition teams set up tents at K2 base camp. File

A record 1,400 international climbers, including the first female Arab mountaineer, are expected to summit some of the worlds highest peaks located in Pakistan’s Gilgit-Baltistan (GB) region this year.

Last year, there were only 550 registered climbers, Dawn news reported.

The Gilgit-Baltistan tourism department has already issued 700 permits to international climbers, and as many were expected to be issued this summer, an official told Dawn.

The climbers, coming from Europe, the US, the United Arab Emirates, China, Russia, Poland, Japan and Norway, are eyeing to summit various peaks, including five eight-thousanders (i.e. mountains towering above 8,000 metres) and 20 seven- and six-thousanders.

Meanwhile, 40 Pakistani mountaineers are also in the race and as many as 3,000 local porters have been hired by several expedition teams to carry the supplies.

Pakistan boasts five of the world’s 14 eight-thousanders, inclu­ding the world’s second-highest peak K2 (8,611 metres), followed by Nanga Parbat (ranked ninth at 8,126 metres), Gasher­brum-I (11th at 8,080 metres), Broad Peak (12th at 8,051 metres), and Gasher­brum-II (13th at 8,035m).

Peaceful environment Alpine Club of Pakistan Secretary Karrar Haidri said many international expedition team members from various countries had already arrived in Pakistan.

He said this was the highest number of international mountaineers coming to Pakistan since the 9/11 attacks in the United States.

Haidri said a record number of more than 400 climbers would attempt to scale K2, the second-highest and also the most challenging peak in the world.

He believed that the prevailing peaceful environment in Pakistan and the introduction of online visas had helped attract such a large number of international tourists this year.

GB Tourism Minister Raja Nasir Ali Khan told Dawn the tourism department was ready to facilitate climbers and cope with emergencies. He said 1,200 international climbers had applied for permits, adding that this year would witness record adventure tourism activity in Pakistan.

Home Secretary Iqbal Hussain Khan told Dawn the GB government and the army had all arrangements in place to rescue climbers in case of emergency.
Adventure Pakistan CEO Muhammad All Nagri told Dawn several expeditions had reached base camps while more were on the way.

Indo-Asian News Service

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