Nanga Parbat, Various Activity. 1998 will be remembered by many for Nanga Parbat’s (8125m) exceptional generosity. Of the six expeditions, that went after it, five—two Japanese, one Korean, one Australian, one Italian, one Spanish—(all expeditions this year attempted the Kinshofer Route) came back safely and successfully. Together with Rozi Ali, one of Pakistan’s leading high-altitude porters, Andrew Lock reached the summit the same day the Korean, Park Young Seok, summited via the Kinshofer Route on July 21. Park has rushed up seven of the 14 8000ers in 13 months. He has only K2 and Broad Peak left in Pakistan. Of the two Japanese teams, the ascent by young Kitamura was the most difficult, as he was unescorted and broke his ribs in a fall during the descent. A politician, Senator Luis Fraga from Spain, made a solo climb to get away from some worries of public life. Beside him and myself, Fraga said there were probably two others in active politics who also happen to be mountaineers. What a foursome!
On July 20, an Italian couple, Nives Meroi and Romano Benet, were the second husband- and-wife team to summit Nanga Parbat, which they did in pretty bad weather conditions. The Italians were eight in number. Nives has climbed extensively with her husband in the Himalaya but without success on the 8000ers. Nanga Parbat was their first trophy. Among Pakistani climbers, a notable success was achieved by our well-known high porter, Rajab Shah, who summited Gasherbrum II on July 22, thus doing all the five 8000ers of the country.
Marred by the World Cup football and the nuclear blasts in India and Pakistan, 1998 was a bad year for tourism in general and mountaineering in particular. Most climbers and trekkers were shooed off by the over-cautious travel advisories of their governments. But those who ventured regardless had a nice time climbing and trekking. Tragically, a blot on the season and a great personal loss was the totally unnecessary murder of my friend Ned Gillette. Bereaved and herself injured in the attack, Ned’s wife, Susie Patterson, displayed a courage and positive attitude that gave all of us heart. She was back in the mountains late last summer in Nepal, her love of nature, life and adventure undiminished.
Nazir Sabir, Pakistan