An Ali Sadpara Anniversary; Sajid Announces Summer K2 Search

8000ers K2
A tangle of old ropes on K2's Abruzzi Spur. Photo: Elia Saikaly

Kites filled the skies today in northern Pakistan, welcoming spring as part of the Basant Mela festival. Nearby, the Karakorum and Western Himalaya remain in the grip of winter. On this day exactly five years ago, Muhammad Ali Sadpara, Alex Txikon, and Simone Moro stood on the top of Nanga Parbat in the first winter climb of that so-called Naked Goddess.

From his Base Camp under Manaslu, Alex Txikon is surely thinking of that day, as he stubbornly hopes for the weather forecast to fail and bring in dry climbing weather instead of the relentless snowfall predicted for next week. “It’s such a weird, sad anniversary without Ali,” Txikon wrote today.

Ali Sadpara went missing on K2 on February 5 and was officially declared lost last week. His other partner on that Nanga Parbat climb, Simone Moro, is already on his way home from Manaslu.

Ali Sadpara (left) and Simone Moro on the summit of Nanga Parbat, February 26, 2016. Photo: Alex Txikon

In his village near Skardu, Sajid Sadpara is recovering from the hardest winter of his life. He had to leave his own father behind on K2 and descend to save his own life. “I am regaining my strength and rationality with the passage of time, and I have decided to lead a search and recovery for my father Ali Sadpara, John Snorri, and JP Mohr,” Sajid wrote on social media today.

The venture is currently in its preparatory stages, but the goal is to get there as soon as possible this summer and to comb the mountain for the bodies. “My family and I will leave no stone unturned to recover them and give the proper rituals as per everyone’s faith,” Sajid said.

Rao and Moirah Ahmad, spokespeople for the late Ali Sadpara, confirmed the plans and noted that Snorri and Mohr’s families fully support the expedition.

Since a number of high altitude porters will be present on the mountain, they will also carry out an unprecedented cleaning operation along the Abruzzi Spur route, between Camp 4 and Advanced Base Camp. “Most casualties on K2 are related to maneuvers with fixed ropes,” Sajid said. “So I have also decided to start a Clean K2 Project to retrieve all old ropes and garbage.”

The expedition may also answer some questions, as well as bring peace to the families of the lost climbers.

Shredded tents and rubbish at Camp 2 on K2. Photo: Elia Saikaly

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About the Author

Angela Benavides

Angela Benavides

Senior journalist, published author and communication consultant. Specialized on high-altitude mountaineering, with an interest for everything around the mountains: from economics to geopolitics. After five years exploring distant professional ranges, I returned to ExWeb BC in 2018. Feeling right at home since then!

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Paul
Paul
7 months ago

Hi Angela,
Thank you for the news!
I just came across info that during the ascent if Nanga Parbat, Ali climbed the summit 30 mins before Alex and Simone, when descending he was asked to reclimb it again with them, this info is probably in interview that is not in English:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3Dm8UeTGUnA
Any chance to confirm it with Alex or Simone?
Just as interesting fact 🙂

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Vincent
Vincent
7 months ago
Reply to  Paul

Hi Paul, just read the story of the historic climb in simones book: Nanga in winter. In the book simone writes something like Ali turned arround because it was to cold to take of the gloves for taking a summit picture. Simone than convinced Ali to go again up to the summit to take summit pictures, he said that he would take the risk to suffer from frostbite in his hands to take pictures. Ali was hired by Alex and the late Daniele Nardi to work with them on the expedition as he new the mountain well from summer expeditions.… Read more »

Paul
Paul
7 months ago
Reply to  Vincent

thx for the info. I known that Ali went other route on rocks, Simone and Alex followed the snow but I didn’t know that Ali summited first and after climb up again for photo, it only shows how strong was Ali 🙂

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Basit shaikh
Basit shaikh
7 months ago
Reply to  Paul

Ali submitted the nanga parbat 1 hr and 30 minutes earlier following the new route which was opened by Ali Sadpara himself. It was a technical route as compared to the normal route. He then went up again to summit with Alex. Ali said “it was very cold and I stayed at summit alone for more than an hour waiting for others but I went up again as they were guests and I just couldn’t say no to them” He was one of the strongest climber I have ever known and a very down to earth person considering how skillful… Read more »

Ron
Ron
7 months ago
Reply to  Basit shaikh

I personally recall Ali saying his new route was actually not very technical, the rocks were like steps. He preferred it to the normal route.

It wasn’t just about strength. It shows he was an innovative and ingenious climber, thinking outside of the box.

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Boz Šahin
Boz Šahin
7 months ago
Reply to  Basit shaikh

Incredible.

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Nicola T
Nicola T
7 months ago
Reply to  Paul

Simone wrote on his book that at a certain point below 7800m Ali wanted to climb straight ahead while the others choosed another more convenient way. They called him but he wanted to proceed in that way, same way like the year before (when there was no summit). A bit later, Simone and Alex saw a shape “like a vision”: it was Ali awaiting for them few meters below the summit, in a sheltered spot. He was awaiting them to make the final steps all together.

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Paul
Paul
7 months ago
Reply to  Nicola T

I know that Ali was climbing on rocks when Alex and Simone followed the standard route on snow but I didn’t know how they summited
Thx for info 🙂

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question everything
question everything
7 months ago

That’s great to hear… Godspeed…
Wishing Sajid success in the search and recovery and cleaning operation
xxxxxx

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Last edited 7 months ago by question everything
Don Paul
Don Paul
7 months ago

An excellent idea, and the ultimate respect to pay to this route. The old nylon doesn’t add extra safety, as it might appear. It’s in the way. A new rope can hold 5,000 pounds, but an old one might not even hold the weight of Tomaz Rotar. (he says) I think they should go one step further and bring a Hilti hammer drill and put in bolts and chains at every anchor. Nobody should be allowed to leave fixed ropes up there, unless they are working on a project. I was climbing in Yosemite in the 1990s, and although there… Read more »

Last edited 7 months ago by Don Paul
Twinkletoes
Twinkletoes
7 months ago
Reply to  Don Paul

That would be neat to have bomber anchors, but if it were that easy, it would be done by now… you have to realise the setting is completely different. El Capitan is solid rock, essentially changeless on a human timescale. High mountains are an ever-changing mess of snow, ice and mostly unstable rock. Who would trouble themselves screwing in anchors that might be encased in deep ice the next week, and gone next season? Yet the use of fixed ropes is unavoidable. Big props to anyone who takes it upon themselves to clean some garbage off those mountains. It is… Read more »

Boz Šahin
Boz Šahin
7 months ago

A legendary summit of Nanga Parbat.

I think that in winter this mountain was the most attempted one. It just shows how capable and strong mountaineer Ali was.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nanga_Parbat#Winter_climbing

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Inspired
Inspired
7 months ago

Inspired! Hero Ali has raised new Hero Sajid! May the heavy financing support arrive quickly, and fully, to support Sajid’s leadership efforts! Sajid deserves accolades for such an encompassing vision providing more jobs in Pakistan, while honoring so many, and taking great care of K2’s environment. Remarkable Vision from Remarkable Sajid!

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Steve
Steve
7 months ago

Clearing out the old ropes will save many lives. Clearing out the garbage is respectful of the mountain.

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Twinkletoes
Twinkletoes
7 months ago

What’s next for the Sherpas/HAPs? Back to babysitting foreigners up the same old 8000ers until the inevitable happens? I imagine at least some of them would be up for other alpine challenges, but can they finance them? Sajid’s project is remarkable, but who will pay?

+1
question everything
question everything
7 months ago

Apparently Noel Hanna will be part of the search team on K2:

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-northern-ireland-56278553

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