ISLAMABAD: Sirbaz Khan and Muhammad Abdul Joshi, who became the first Pakistanis to summit the 8,091-metre Annapurna peak in Nepal, last week have dedicated their feat to Muhammad Ali Sadpara, Alpine Club of Pakistan (ACP) said on Tuesday.

Sadpara was declared dead in February, this year after he went missing on the world’s second-highest mountain, K2, during a winter expedition. “It’s a great accomplishment. They’ve hoisted Pakistan and ACP’s flags on Annapurna for the first time. The club acknowledges their contributions,” Secretary ACP, Karrar Haidri told the pres.

Led by Sirbaz, the four-member team included climber Joshi, manager Saad Munawar and photographer and cyclist Kamran Ali. Sirbaz, who hails from Aliabad, Hunza, began his climbing career in 2016. He is on a mission to summit the world’s 14 highest peaks and has already climbed five including K2, Nanga Parbat, Broad Peak, Lhotse, and Manaslu.

Abdul Joshi, 36, who is a native of Shimshal valley of Gilgit-Baltistan, started his climbing journey as a guide on various 8000m expeditions but this was his first successful 8,000m peak summit. Joshi is passionate about summiting the unclimbed peaks.

“The team is arriving back in the country on Thursday. They are a source of inspiration for the young generation. We’ll accord them a warm welcome,” Haidri said.

Ali Sadpara

On February 6, 2021, Ali Sadpara, Snorri, and his mountaineering partner, Mohr, were officially declared missing, according to reports by the Alpine Club of Pakistan and the expedition’s manager, Chhang Dawa Sherpa. And on 18th February after an unsuccessful rescue operation, he was declared dead. 

Muhammad Ali Sadpara takes his name from his birthplace, the Sadpara village of Pakistan’s Gilgit-Baltistan region, located at the periphery of snow-clad Skardu. Sadpara, or Satpara, is home to numerous brave men who take to the Himalayan mountains through all seasons as porters or guides to local and foreign mountaineers. A familiarity with the rough terrain, and skills acquired through years of practice, makes navigating the mountains a lucrative business for those deprived of more traditional means of income up North.

However, Muhammad Ali Sadpara scaled the mountains out of passion that extended beyond survival. He attributed his achievements in mountaineering to “a love for the mountains,” and acknowledged the hard work and luck required to persevere in the face of nature’s domineering heights.

Born on February 2, 1976, Sadpara began his journey as a porter who transported luggage and supplies through the mountains for foreign mountaineering expeditions as well as the Pakistan Army. In an interview, he claimed that one of his first jobs included providing supplies to Army posts leading to Siachin, and his brush with danger there prepared him to take on any challenge the mountains had to offer.

In 2004, he started his mountaineering career by accompanying an expedition to K2, the second-highest peak in the world. In his profile published in Alpine magazine, it is told that he earned $3 a day for carrying loads weighing up to 25kg to base camps in the Karakoram mountains, and memorised his way through the terrains of the K2, Broad Peak and the Gasherbrum—which are three of five 8000m peaks to be situated in Pakistan. The others are in China, Tibet, and Nepal.

Muhammad Ali Sadpara is the only Pakistani to have scaled eight of the fifteen 8000m peaks in the world. His first was the Gasherbrum II in 2006, after which he went on to climb Spantik Peak in 2006, Nanga Parbat in 2008, Muztagh Ata in 2008, Nanga Parbat in 2009, Gasherbrum I in 2010, Nanga Parbat First Winter Ascent in 2016, Broad Peak in 2017, Nanga Parbat First Autumn Ascent in 2017, Pumori Peak First Winter Ascent in 2017, K2 in 2018, Lhotse in 2019, Makalu in 2019 and Manaslu in 2019.

His winter ascent of the Nanga Parbat was a record-breaking feat that earned him national and global glory. It was the first successful winter ascent of the ninth highest mountain in the world.

A year prior to this feat, Sadpara had also assisted with a search and rescue effort on Nanga Parbat, where missing mountaineers Tom Ballard and Daniele Nardi were ultimately found dead. Sadpara had witnessed the ruthlessness of nature first-hand, at multiple occasions, but was relentless in his drive to keep facing it.

The government of Pakistan, in January 2021, announced it would sponsor Sadpara’s endeavours to scale the remaining 8000m mountains. Previously, Sadpara had never been offered sponsorship or assistance by private or government donors and had relied for the good part of his mountaineering career on borrowed or sub-standard equipment.

On February 5, 2021, days after stepping into his 45th year, Muhammad Ali Sadpara set off on his last adventure, a winter ascent of the K2. As told in his Alpine profile, this was one of his two greatest wishes in life; the other was to buy a sewing machine for his wife.


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