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Wednesday, March 23, 2011

K2

K-2, the second highest point on earth, located in the Karakoram segment of the Himalayan Range. In 1958, Fosco Mariani, the great Italian climber described the Karakoram as the "World's Greatest Museum in Shape and Form." Standing at 28,251 feet, K-2, the crown jewel of the Karakoram, is the world's second highest peak. K2's imposing granite pyramid contains enough mass to fill over 80 Matter horns.
Many mountaineers consider K2 the most difficult and dangerous 8,000 meter peak to climb. K2 takes second place only to Mount Everest more than 1,500 miles away. 
The summit of K2 lies on the border of China and Pakistan. On its eastern side is Chinese Taxkorgan Tajik Autonomous County in Xinjiang Province (formerly Chinese Turkestan); while on its west are the Northern Areas of Pakistan. The local Balti people, who live on the Pakistan side, call it "Chogori" meaning Mother Mountain in their Tibetan dialect. The Chinese officially refer it to as Qogir or Qiaogeli Feng.  














Chogori - K2 or Mt Godwin Austen was first attempted in 1902, but it was 52 years later when an Italian expedition scaled it successfully in 1954. Recently, in 2004, Pakistan celebrated the golden jubilee / 50th anniversary of its first successful scaling and it was good to have the leader of the 1954 - Italian Expedition visiting Pakistan and sharing experiences with many still wanting to climb K-2.
En route to Skardu, one can walk in to a friendly captain's cockpit to have a glimpse of the top of the K-2 pyramid in the far distance on the skyline. Below left is a picturesque view of the famous base camp "Concordia" - which serves as the final step towards the deadly journey upwards to the giant Killer Mountain - as known by many a mountaineers who lost their comrades in an attempt to reach atop the mighty K-2. See MAP - Skardu - Concordia and K-2 Base Camp.


















Tips for those wishing to come close to Chogori or go atop it: 

1      Need to obtain a climbing permit by applying to the ministry of tourism - which $ 12,000 for 7 climbers and around $2000 for extra climbers.
2        Next one needs to go to Skardu (located at 2,200 meters in Baltistan region of the Northern Areas of Pakistan). This can be done either by air or by road.
3        With luck and good weather, a 50-minute Boeing 727 flight over Nanga Parbat's dominant massif drops climbers in Skardu, at the Karakoram's doorstep.
4        Skardu is surrounded by 4,000 metres towering peaks - but this is just the beginning of some of the highest peaks of the world.
5        Here the group needs to hire porters, get food and rent a Jeep for the continued trip to Askole(3,050 Metres). The road which passes through Shigar Valley is seldom in good condition due to continuous land slides - but amid a spectacular landscape.
6        The trip takes around 6 to 12 hours depending on conditions.
7        From Askole onwards, you need to start walking.
8        Next up is Juhla that is 17 kilometers walk in difficult sand and rock terrain next to the Braldu River and Biafo Glacier.
9        The route continues to Urdukas and Goro, where the climbers get to see the first glimpse of famous 8,000 metres peak, Gasherburn IV - the Shinning Wall.
10        From here the route continues to Concordia (4,650 metres) and to K2 Base Camp that is 10 km away from Concordia.
11     Thereafter, it is one's guts and determination till one reaches atop the "Chogori" - The Savage Mountain.



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