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K-2

K-2

If you are seeing the combination of blue, sea green, gray and snow white colors touching the sky above, you are standing at K2, the second highest mountain after Mount Everest. It is the part of Karakoram Range and located in Taxkorgan Tajik,China and Gilgit, Baltistan in Pakistan.

Being 8,611 meters (28,251 feet) high and too tedious to climb up, the proportion of the hikers who die while trekking to the people who survive is 1:4. From Chinese side it is even impossible to conquer it because of its perils. Even from Pakistani side it is not possible to reach it in winter due to the extremely cold weather.

The notation by Thomas Montgomerie named this peak as K2 in the Great Trigonometric Surveywhen he sketched two peaks and labeled those as K1 and K2 (K as Karakoram).The gigantic peak is called Chogori in local language meaning “The King of Mountains” while it is also called “Killer”, “Savage” or “Awesome” due to its hazards and the wonders. The challengers from all over the world try to reach it. The rocky mountain after 6,000 meters turns into the ocean of snow and the challenge for the trekkers starts from here.

Godwin-Austen surveyed Shigar and Saltoro Valleys in 1860 and discovered a route to the K2. The peak was even titled on his name i.e. Godwin Austen Peak by the then British government. It was recognition of his services and bravery as he rendered valuable services to the geography of the area. Godwin-Austin Glacier, survey of Kajnag Range in Kashmir and putting Gulmarg on the map first time are his remarkable achievements.

Francis Younghusband, a British mountaineer tried to reach it in 1887 and was appointed as the head of the expedition team in 1903-04. In 1902 a guideless expedition was launched which could not meet with success however, two members of which succeeded to reach the north-eastern crest of K-2 with the rise of 6,523m (21,400ft).In 1909, Luigi Amadeo Giuseppe, an Italian thrill-seeker led a journey to the K2 but could not dare the ascent of the western and the southern ridges. Vittono Sella photographed the whole adventure. In 1937, Eric Earle Shipton and Harold William Tilman, the British mountaineers surveyed the northern part of K2. In 1938, the American Alpine Club reached only the 7,925m/26,000ft of the peak. The north-west and north-east of the peak still remained hidden from the eyes of the team. In 1939, American sent an expedition led by Fritz Hermann Ernst Wiessner reaching 7,711 m/25,300ft while some of the members fell a prey to death.

The story of the conquest of the mighty peak goes on. In 1953, America sent another team led by Dr. Charles Houston accompanied by Colonel M. Ataullah, the Vice President of the KarakoramClub of Pakistan reached 7,772m/25,500ft and had to withdraw because of a whiteout. A team from Itali reached K2 in 1954 to try its height. Professor Ardito Desio, Arshad Munir, and Colonel M. Ataullah reached the summit but had to descend urgently due the shortage of oxygen. The mighty peak is no more a dream and has been reached from almost all the ridges.

August 1977 saw a second successful ascent to the K2.It was an Italian expedition led by Ichiro Yoshizawa and supported by Ashraf Aman .An Americal team followed this ascent in 1978 led byJames Whittaker. Japan sent Isao Shinkai and Masatsugo Konishi who led a team including Hiroshi Yoshino, Naoe Sakashita, Yukihiro Yanagisawa. The three members mentioned later reached and stayed at the summit on August 14, 1982. The team had to pay a heavy toll when Yanagisawa fell and died on the peak.

Josef Rakoncaj, a Czech climber enjoys the credit to reach the summit twice while Carlos Soria Fontán is the oldest person to reach the peak.

The Savage Mountain is called the most dangerous summit of the world as it has claimed the highest number of human lives so far. But challenge-lovers still put their lives at stake and reach the mighty peak. Only 302 people have succeeded in summiting K2 while Mount Everest has been flagged by over 2700 people up till 2010. 80 people died while attempting K2. The storms, inclement weather and the lack of oxygen are the perils which are always impending on the trekkers.

About SAIMA ASHRAF

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