Rockfall on Nanga Parbat hinders operation to save stranded climbers

ISLAMABAD: A rescue operation to save stranded Pakistani mountaineer Asif Bhatti and his associate has been impeded by a rockfall on Nanga Parbat.

Bhatti, an experienced mountaineer and a university professor from Islamabad, embarked on the expedition several days ago. He had descended to camp-three on Tuesday after being trapped at camp-four on Monday due to snow blindness.

The Karakoram Club (KC), an organisation working for adventure and tourism in Pakistan, dispatched a rescue team led by climbers Shah Daulat and Muhammad Yonus.

The KC tweeted on Wednesday that the team who went for upper slopes of Nanga Parbat previous night couldn’t go any further from camp-one due to the rockfall.

“The weather seems to be getting worse and Heli [helicopter] rescue is the only hope unless a miracle happens and climbers are able to come down on their own. Prayers for everyone on the mountain and the basecamp,” the KC said.

Asif Khoja, the point of contact for Bhatti, talked about the deteriorating health of the stranded mountaineer. He stressed that a helicopter sling operation was imperative to save Bhatti’s life.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif has directed the authorities concerned to initiate a rescue operation without delay to save the mountaineers. He also directed the Gilgit-Baltistan chief secretary to take quick action to ensure the safey of Bhatti and his associate. The premier instructed the G-B chief secretary to contact with the mountaineer’s son.

Nanga Parbat, standing at 8,126 metrers and ranking as the ninth-highest mountain globally, is notorious for its perilous conditions, including unstable glaciers, frequent avalanches and treacherous storms.

With a daunting ascent and a high fatality rate, it has earned the nickname the “Killer Mountain.”

Prior to its first successful ascent by Hermann Buhl in 1953, the peak claimed the lives of 31 individuals during their arduous attempt to climb the mountain.

Referred to as the “western anchor of the Himalayas,” Nanga Parbat has a death ratio of 22.3%, ranking as the world’s third most dangerous peak in the world.

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