“ExplorersWeb Pakistan” – Interview with Karrar Haidri

15 years of team work

One day he just showed up in our mail box, some local guy hooked on the climbing scene in Pakistan. And then, he went to work.

Type “Explorersweb photos by Karrar Haidri” in your browser and you’ll find tons of stories with pictures of climbers visiting Pakistan in the past decade.

It’s a unique collection of perhaps the last big mountaineering years on our planet.

Commerce overtaking Everest; the fairly unknown Karakoram slopes increasingly attracted what was left of high altitude independents.

Far from reality shows and TV cameras, new lines were carved on sharp spires and bitter winter ascents threw last triumphs. Ethics were debated, real courage was on display and lessons were taught in dramatic battles between man and nature, man against man, and man overcoming himself.

Before and after each expedition, Karrar was there, with his camera, capturing faces, sending them to us. Demanding no pay, claiming no fame.

A few weeks ago, another email from Karrar arrived. This time from a big UIAA event in Italy, shaking hands with Messner himself. “Wow Karrar”, we wrote back, “you’ve climbed far since we first met.”

“How about this time we do an interview with you?”

Here goes.

Explorersweb/Pythom: What was the mountaineering event about and how come you went?

Karrar: Thanks Tina for your interview. It was the UIAA General Assembly and I went on behalf of the Alpine Federation of Pakistan. It was an honor for me to participate.

Founded in 1932, UIAA is the international federation for climbing and mountaineering. It represents the interests of over three million climbers and mountaineers from member federations on all six continents.

The UIAA has been recognized by the International Olympic (IOC) since 1995.

Explorersweb/Pythom: And you met Messner there, what was that like?

Karrar: Yes, It was good experience and honor to meet with him and visit the Messner Mountain Museum.

Explorersweb/Pythom: Explorersweb ran a few critical stories on him years ago. Did you guys talk about that :)?

Karrar: No actually it was huge gathering. He didn’t have much time so it was not discussed with him.

Explorersweb/Pythom: Who’s your own favorite mountaineer and why?

Karrar: Simone Moro because of his winter climbing skills especially in Pakistan, and he is a nice gentleman. He loves Pakistan and its people and he is doing a lot for the peoples of Gilgit Baltistan.

Explorersweb/Pythom: Have you ever climbed anything yourself? If not would you like to?

Karrar: Yes I climbed up to 6000 meters on Spantik (7027 m) with a French expedition. Now I’m mostly going on treks in Gilgit Baltistan.

Explorersweb/Pythom: How come you got in touch with Explorersweb back in the day? (Ed note: Around 15 years ago)

Karrar: It started when I found www.k2climb.net. I was happy to find someone in the world interested in providing information about Pakistan and its mountains. So I decided to interview mountaineers visiting our mountains and upload their achievements and photographs on k2climb.net. I was glad that you and Tom encouraged me.

Explorersweb/Pythom: Where did you work back then? Have your position with us helped you advance within the Pakistan Alpine Club?

Karrar: I worked for the government before joining the Alpine Club of Pakistan 20 years ago. I participated in ACP elections and became member of the executive council. This is my 5th Tenure as Spokesman/Press secretary of the Alpine Federation of Pakistan.

It has been very helpful both to be a member of the Alpine Federation and Representative of Explorersweb in terms of mountaineering access.

My membership with the Alpine Federation helped me update on www.k2climb.net and Explorersweb, while the Alpine Federation of Pakistan got a well-known source where they could post important information and news.

In 2006 I also started my own business, Saltoro Summits Treks & Tours in Skardu.

Explorersweb/Pythom: We noticed we are popular in “alternative” circles such as among Nepali Sherpa, Korean and Pakistani mountaineers – you just told us Exweb is well-known in Iran. Why do you think that is?

Karrar: Yes, it’s because of the news we did about Iran Mountaineers visiting Pakistan and other parts of the world. Last month in Italy, President of Iran Mountaineering and Sport Climbing Federation Mr. Reza Zarei told me that Explorersweb is very famous in Iran among adventurers.

Explorersweb/Pythom: What’s the climbing situation like in Pakistan right now, any cool winter climbs coming up and is tourism picking up?

Karrar: The climbing situation is improving.

Explorersweb/Pythom: You are very close to your wife and daughters. Are they into mountaineering as well?

Karrar: Yes my family members are very loving to me, I love my daughters. They are not interested in climbing but they love to go on Treks.

Explorersweb/Pythom: Anything you’d like to add?

Karrar: Yes I love k2climb.net, Explorersweb and now Pythom. They are giving good information to the world about mountaineering and other adventures.

Originally from Saltoro, Khaplu, Baltistan, these days Karrar Haidri resides in Islamabad.

He loves photography and besides climbing faces he captures nature and locals of Gilgit Baltistan and other parts of Pakistan, with a Canon Mark III.

Arranged by the Pakistan Government, Haidri’s photo exhibitions are frequently inaugurated by influentials such as the Prime Minister of Pakistan.


Pakistan Mountaineer Hassan Sadpara Died

T: K2, Pakistan, Broad Peak, Gasherbrum, Trango