Overview. Pakistan granted permits to 76 applicants to climb various peaks in 2008, including 13 teams that applied to attempt multiple peaks. Two expeditions could not be granted permission for peaks situated close to the Siachen Glacier war zone, and six expeditions withdrew their applications. In all, there were 92 attempts on 24 permitted peaks, on which 131 climbers, including three from Pakistan, were successful.
Seventy-four climbers from 10 expeditions attempted K2 in 2008, and 17 climbers from six teams made the summit. However, the season was marked by disaster, as 11 climbers died during or after an avalanche near the Bottleneck on August 1.
On Pakistan’s four other 8,000-meter peaks, results were mixed. Twenty-nine climbers from seven expeditions succeeded on Broad Peak, and there was one fatality. On Gasherbrum II, 38 climbers from 11 teams reached the top, for a success rate of about 25 percent. The success rate on Gasherbrum I was lower, about 15 percent, as 14 climbers from four expeditions made the summit. One climber was killed. Seventeen of the 55 climbers attempting Nanga Par- bat reached the summit, including Nisar Hussain, who has now climbed all five 8,000-meter peaks in his home country of Pakistan. Two climbers died on Nanga Parbat.
Russians Viktor Afanasiev and Valery Babanov climbed new routes on Broad Peak and Gasherbrum I; these ascents are described in a story earlier in this Journal. The Slovak Dodo Kopold summited Gasherbrums I and II and Broad Peak in the span of 18 days in June. During the winter of 2008-09, a Canadian-Polish team, along with Pakistani climbers, unsuccessfully attempted the first winter ascent of Broad Peak.
All other expeditions to Pakistani peaks requiring permits were unsuccessful, including attempts on Baintha Brakk, Chogolisa, Diran, Disteghil Sar, Gasherbrums III and IV, Latoks I and III, Mustagh Tower, Rakaposhi, Skyang Kangri, and Tahu Rutum. Some of these attempts are reported below.
During 2008 the Pakistan Ministry of Tourism maintained a 50 percent reduction on royalty fees for peaks, and the government announced that these discounts and other concessions would continue in 2009. The 50 percent discount applies to all peaks above 6,500m; there is no royalty on peaks below 6,500m. The Alpine Club of Pakistan publishes a list of current royalties at www.alpineclub.org.pk/peak_royalties.php.
Karrar Haidri, Alpine Club of Pakistan