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Articles

Kept by K2

Last seen making his way up the final access to the summit along with his two companions, Ali Sadpara will forever be remembered as a prodigal son of Pakistan and a hero who remained unsung while he lived.

ALI SADPARA is where he most loved to be: Up in the world’s highest mountains. And he will remain there for now; this prodigal son of Pakistan’s Sadpara village is presumed dead along with Icelandic John Snorri and Chilean Juan Pablo Mohr. An official announcement to this effect– fronted by his son Sajid Sadpara – came on 18 February 2021.

On a mission to attempt a winter summit of the treacherous K2, the three mountaineers left Camp 4 on the evening of 4 February 2021. They were last seen on 5 February by Sajid, who saw them off at the notorious Bottleneck.

The Bottleneck is a narrow couloir a mere 400 m (1,300 ft) short of the summit. Climbers have to traverse a stretch of about 100 m (330 ft) perilously overhung by seracs from the ice field east of the summit. Combined with its extreme elevation 8,200 m (26,900 ft) and gradient (50 to 60 degrees), the hazard of falling seracs makes the path the most danger- ous part of the ascent.

According to Wikipedia, 13 out of the last 14 fatalities on K2 have occurred at or near the Bottleneck. The younger Sadpa- ra had to abandon his quest after his oxygen mask broke down.

The second highest peak in the world, K2 is considered the most dangerous mountain to climb in the world. Only 367 people have successfully conquered this imperious peak, whereas 4000 people have climbed Mount Everest, the world’s highest peak.

A rescue operation began despite harsh weather conditions with the help of army helicopters, later joined by the military’s C130 aircraft, in the end to no avail.

Achievements:

1.  Gasherbrum II (Pakistan) in 2006
  • Spantik Peak (Pakistan) in 2006
  • Nanga Parbat (Pakistan) in 2008
  • Muztagh Ata (China) in 2008
  • Nanga Parbat (Pakistan) in 2009
  • Gasherbrum I (Pakistan) in 2010
  • Nanga Parbat First Winter Ascent (Pakistan) in 2016
  • Broad Peak (Pakistan) in 2017
  • Nanga Parbat First Autumn Ascent (Pakistan) in 2017
  • Pumori Peak First Winter Ascent (Nepal) in 2017
  • K2 (Pakistan) in 2018
  • Lhotse (Nepal) in 2019
  • Makalu (Nepal) in 2019
  • Manaslu (Nepal) in 2019

Muhammad Ali Sadpara was born in 1977 . Ali a mountain- eer and high altitude porter from Sadpara village, Skardu, Pakistan. As of February 2016, he has made six ascents of four 8000m peaks and is best known for first winter ascent of Nanga Parbat. Sadpara is first and the only Pakistani to climb an eight thousander in winter. He also holds the distinction of record three ascents of Nanga Parbat.

Ali Sadpara began his mountaineering career as a low altitude porter in 2000. Although, started as a mean to earn a living, he soon discovered his love for mountains and climbing. “I always feel happy in the mountains. Since the day when I got to know about them for the first time and worked as a porter, it has always been my desire to climb them. Now I could make money easily in Sadpara home- town or in Skardu main village in the area, or even in Islam- abad, but I feel happy here (in the mountains).” He told during an interview 2015.

July 10, 2006 as part of a German team. He went on to climb Nanga Parbat twice in 2008 and 2009, and Gasherbrum I in 2010. He climbed Broad Peak reaching Foresummit in 2012.

Winter Expeditions:

Muhammad Ali, however, has also been a major force of multiple winter expeditions. He was part of International Broad Peak expedition. In last week of February 2017 Don and Ali were in C3, ready for summit-push, but continuous bad weather forced them to retreat.

In 2010/11, Artur Hajzer returned to the mountain with a larger Polish team. Ali Sadpara was again hired as a HAP. The weather remained challenging throughout the season and summit window arrived only at around mid-March. Despite poor visibility and high wind, Ali Sadpara and Robert Szymczak launched summit push on March 16. They were at around 7830m when a huge impassable crevasse blocked the ascent.

Ali Sadpara was also part of Polish Gasherbrum I expedition in winter 2011/12. He played a pivotal role in establishing three camps, but unfortunately sustained serious frostbite to his toes while setting up C3 and had to abandon the expedi- tion. The team later bagged the first winter ascent of the mountain.

On February 26, 2016, Ali Sadpara, Alex Txikon and Simone Moro reached the summit of Nanga Parbat. It was first winter ascent and Ali Sadpara’s record third ascent of the mountain.

Muhammad Ali Sadpara was known for his jolly personali- ty. There are a bunch of videos of him singing, dancing and joking around with his fellows on social media. Ali always had a smile on his face.

Sadpara loved climbing and he lost his life doing what he loved the most. He wanted to climb all the world’s eight-thousanders. Unfortunately he lost his life midway.

While Ali sleeps entombed in snow on the rooftop of the worldafter what may be called nature’s way of giving him a befitting burial, some soul searching is in order for the authorities in Pakistan. His family must receive all the support they need to rise above this devastating loss.

But another matter worthy of their attention is why Ali was not better celebrated for his achievements while he lived.

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