Friday , June 9 2023

Pakistani ports: Undesirable masters of the mountains


SHIMSHAL, Pakistan: He is the only person who has cut K2 three times, but Fazal Ali's results are largely unknown to many other agents who risk life and limb at the highest peak in Pakistan.

It is one of the few elite-carriers in the country that is specialized in high-speed expeditions for nearly 40 years, nearly two decades on Pakistan's most desirable slopes – plotting routes, lugging kits and cooking for paying customers.

At 8,611m, K2 is not as high as Mount Everest, which stands at 8,848m. But the technical challenges have earned the "Savage Mountain" nickname and dozens of people have lost their lives on the traitor's icing side.

Ali will conquered K2 in 2014, 2017, and 2018 – without any further oxygen.

While foreign mountaineers have gained their passion, Pakistani climber Fazal Ali and his

While foreign mountaineers gain their pride, Pakistani alpinist Fazal Ali and his staff are largely ignored. (Photo: AFP / Aamir Qureshi)

Far North Pakistan is home to three of the world's highest mountain ranges

Far North Pakistan is home to the top three mountains of the world, the Himalayas, the Karakoram and the Hindu Kush. (Photo: AFP / Aamir Qureshi)

"He's the only climber to do this," said Eberhard Jurgalski of Guinness World Records.

While foreign mountaineers are getting their pride, Ali and his staff are ignored, even among the mountaineering community.

"I'm happy," Ali told AFP. "But I also have a heart attack, because my work will never really be appreciated."

He is one of the many high-port ports who work in foreign expeditions in northern Pakistan, in a remote region, home to the three highest mountains in the world, the Himalayas, the Karakoram and the Hindu Kush family.

Faced with their extremely difficult terrain and knowledge, the ports keep track of the mountaineering route and fix the ropes to their climb. They also deliver food and supplies on their backs, and up the customers' tents.

However, as mountaineers come home, expatriates, who are indispensable in expeditions, are often forgotten.

"When they arrive, they are full of goodwill, many promises," Ali said. "But after they have achieved their goals, they forget everything."

One incident left a bitter taste in Ali's mouth: the Western climber arrived at the K2 summit, but instead of taking a picture, he was alone with the flag in his hand.

"He commanded us to make a picture and keep it away," he said, adding that the episode is a controversy between the climbing and the Nepalese Porter.


Ali, like many Pakistani high heights, was born in the remote Shimshal valley in the northern part of the country near the Chinese border.

Ali Village, home to 140 families, has produced the largest mountaineer in many countries, including Rajab Shah, the first Pakistan to measure the peak of the country's 8,000 m peak.

Rehmatullah Baig, who conquered K2 in 2014, while carrying out vital geographic measurements and installing a meteorological station, is also from Shimshal and shares Ali's wrath.

Once the climbers have come home, the posted ones - who are indispensable in expeditions - often feel

Once the mountaineers have come home, harbors – who are indispensable in expeditions – are often forgotten. (Photo: AFP / Aamir Qureshi)

"I'd be happy, but I'm not," he said.

"If they realized that the Pakistani climbers were recognizing, or if they had some kind of recognition or financial support, they could climb up to 8,000 m in the world," he said.

Baig's father was the first Shimshal to pursue the deadly pursuit of climbing, but now he tells his kids not to follow his steps.


One of the main sources of tension between Ali and his colleagues is their conviction that they are worse treated by Nepalese counterparts.

In the event of an accident, Pakistani ports rarely qualify for helicopter rescue by their employers.

In Nepal, local guides entitle them to life insurance for $ 12,700 from the government after mountain workers successfully lobbyed for a post-2014 avalanche that killed 16 corners in Mount Everest.

Pakistani high seas are lucky to receive $ 1,500 life insurance policies

Pakistani high-rise warehouses are fortunate to receive $ 1,500 life insurance policies, according to the Alpine Pakistani club. (Photo: AFP / Aamir Qureshi)

Pakistan's high-altitude ports are lucky enough to receive a $ 1,500 life insurance policy, according to the Pakistani Alpine Club.

Climbing experts agree that there is a difference and believes that Pakistani workers should be better educated and supported by the government.

German Climber Christiane Fladt, who wrote a book about Shimshal, claims that Pakistani ports "have to organize themselves in a union to put stress on their financial needs."

"We hate the mountain"

In 2008, there were two Shimshal carriers from 11 people who died on the same day in the worst disaster to hit K2.

One of them, Fazal Karim, French mountaineer Hugues d 'Aubarede fell as they descended from the top. Karim's body was never found.

Your widow, Haji Parveen, said that he tried to prevent everything from launching a expedition.

"I told her," There is a good life here and enough to live, "but he did not listen to me," he said softly.

Fazal Karim, a Shimshal Porter, a French climber near Hugues d 'Aubarede,

Fazal Karim, a Shimshal portrait, a French climber near Hugues d 'Aubarede, descended from the peak of K2. Karim's body was never found. (Photo: AFP / Aamir Qureshi)

Karim was a skilled worker, in the village owned by a sawmill, where he also opened a business for his wife. After her disappearance, her widow sold the mill for their children's education.

According to Parveen, neither the expedition company nor the foreign mountaineers helped him.

Now the eldest who studies in Karachi wants to become a portrait of his father.

"She always talks about her when she comes home and says she wants to be like her father, but we forgive him because we hate the mountain: it's useless, not at all.

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