The Alpinist has published a very interesting, and eye opening, letter from Nazir Sabir, one of the most prominent mountaineers in Pakistani history. He also currently serving as the President of the Alpine Club of Pakistan, an organization that helps to train Pakistani climbers. Nazir has also played a role as an advisor to the government on issues related to climbing and the northern provinces of Pakistan.
In this letter, Nazir, who has successfully climbed Everest, K2, and several other 8000 meter peaks, pulls very few punches and speaks directly on the events that helped play into the K2 tragedy. He talks about an argument at high altitude between a dozen climbers that delayed their summit bid. He also talks about issues with the fixed lines at the Bottleneck, and while he doesn’t name names, he alludes to whose responsibility it was to fix those lines.
He goes on to call out the survivors who have sometimes been quick to point the finger at others, and place blame elsewhere. While Nazir doesn’t layout everything that happened, he does note that the Ministry for Tourism is assembling a task force to investigate what happened, with a full report to come in time.
There have been several allusions to the fact that the ropes on K2 were not up to snuff, which caused major slowdown on the mountain. There has even been some murmuring about who is at fault for the poor conditions of those ropes, but I’m beginning to think that this was just a series of really bad circumstances, and poor decisions, combined with an untimely natural disaster, namely the serac collapsing, that led to this tragedy. It seems there were some miscommunications and perhaps some climbers underestimating the mountain, but I’m not sure there will ever be a single cause that can be pointed to for what happened.
As I’ve said before though, I think there is a storm brewing over all of this, and it’s going to turn nasty down the road, when the investigations get underway, and fingers started getting pointed. I hope I’m wrong, but it has that feeling about it.
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