Pakistan 2013: Teams Back On The Move, Romanians Continue On Nanga Parbat

Following the tragic events that took place in Base Camp on Nanga Parbat earlier this week there has been a lot of uncertainty amongst the climbers in Pakistan. The government and military there were quick to take action to try to maintain security while also investigating exactly what happened when gunmen stormed BC and killed nearly a dozen people, most of whom were foreign climbers.

In the wake of those events, the Karakoram Highway was closed down for awhile and flights into Skardu were cancelled, keeping many of the climbers stuck in Islamabad while they waited for an opportunity to travel to their ultimate destinations. Thankfully the traffic has started moving at last and numerous climbers who were stuck in the capital are now on the move at last.

Amongst those climbers is Adrian Hayes who has his sights set on K2 this summer. Adrian updated his blog this morning with news that he has left Islamabad and arrived by air to Skardu where he reports a warm welcome by the locals. Next, he and the rest of his team, will head to Askole where they’ll start the week long trek to Base Camp, but at this point they’re just happy to be on the move.

Similarly, Mike Horn and his climbing mates have checked in from Skardu as well and are happy to be on the move at last. They’re also heading to K2 as well and if all goes according to plan, they’ll be paragliding off the summit. There is a lot of work to be done before then however, all of which starts with simply just getting into camp.

You can also add Jon Kedrowski to your list of climbers that have arrived in Skardu too. He is enjoying some downtime in his hotel today, with an excellent view I might add, while he waits to continue on to Askole as well. He notes that Skardu is a quiet, peaceful town where the locals seldom even bother to lock their doors. Geographically speaking it isn’t all that far from Nanga Parbat, but it is isolated by a wall of massive peaks that also makes NP a world away.

There was good news for the Romanian team that remained on Nanga Parbat following the massacre there. The attack occurred on the Diamir Face where most of the teams were climbing and in the aftermath of the killings, Pakistani officials cleared BC and for the most part the teams are now heading home. But there was a lone Romanian squad on the Rupal Face that was awaiting word of their fate. They were afraid that they would also be asked to abandon their expedition and head home, but they learned yesterday that that will not be the case. They will be allowed to stay and continue their climb.

In related news, Pakistani officials say they have identified the attackers and are searching for them now. They say they remain at large but are confined to the Diamer district, where they are being pursued at this time. Identification was made after 30-40 suspects were taken into custody and interrogated over the past few days. I’m sure those “interrogations” were probably not a lot of fun for those involved, but hopefully those responsible for this heinous act will be brought to justice soon.

This is good news all around. It seems that the situation is starting to return to normal in Pakistan and the government has taken measures to ensure security is maintained. Earlier in the week we learned that there were soldiers in Concordia, a key crossroads on the trek to K2 and Broad Peak, so it seems that the threat of these militants is being taken very seriously. Hopefully now everyone can concentrate on climbing and not worry about another attack.

Be safe everyone!

Kraig Becker