Foreign climbers reach Skardu to summit above 8000m peaks

ISLAMABAD: A four-member foreign expedition has reached Skardu as part of its campaign to summit K2, Broad Peak, Gasherbrum-I (GI) and Gasherbrum-II (GII).

“The team is led by Norwegian female climber Kristin Harila, who has arrived in Pakistan to scale it’s above five 8,000 metre peaks within two months,” Secretary Alpine Club of Pakistan (ACP) Karrar Haidri told APP on Monday.

The 36-year-old Harila and her three Nepalese team members – Pasdawa Sherpa, Dawa Ongju and Chhiring Namgel are part of 8K Expedition.

“They have already ascended Nanga Parbat along with another expedition team Dolma Outdoor a couple of days ago.”

According to Haidri, Harila is on a mission to beat the time record of ascending the world’s all 14 above 8000-metre peaks in just six months.

“Now she has summited seven eight thousanders. If she meets her target it will be a monumental feat as she will become the first woman in history and the second person ever to climb all the eight-thousanders in such a short span of time [in six months],” he said.

Kristin climbed Makalu in May, this year. That was her sixth 8,000m summit in just 29 days, beating out Nepali adventurer Nirmal Purja’s 31 days in 2019 for the fastest time to summit that many 8,000m peaks.

Five of the 14 above 8000m peaks in the world, including the world’s second highest peak K2 (8,611m), Nanga Parbat (8,126m), Gasherbrum I (8080m), Broad Peak (8051m), Gasherbrum II (8,035m) are located in Pakistan. “This is the second phase of her campaign wherein she will be attempting to summit Pakistan’s all the above 8000-metre peaks in two months,” Haidri said.

“The 8K Expeditions will now attempt K2, then Broad Peak and finally Gasherbrum-I and Gasherbrum-II,” Haidri said.

Only 44 people in history have summited all the 14 peaks. By accomplishing the goal Kristin will also become the first person to do so from a Scandinavian country.

Haidri said popularity of Pakistan’s captivating mountains was growing across the globe at a rapid pace as for the first time in recent history over 1400 international climbers had applied to attempt its 6,000 to 8,000-metre peaks, this summer. “This number is quite staggering as compared to the last year when 550 climbers tried their luck. Several teams have arrived in Pakistan, while multiple outfits have already set off on the trekking mission,” he added.

Around 57 expeditions across 23 peaks with a combined total of 672 climbers [576 male and 96 female] had been issued permits. “So far, the permits have been issued till August. But as the summer season will continue till September, the rest of the expeditions will get permits with due course of time,” he added. He said a stunning 400 international climbers will be attempting K2 this season.

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