Muhammad Ali Sadpara: In the embrace of Savage Mountain
Sadpara loved mountains. It was his passion to uncover hidden mysteries the mountains carry with them. With winter ascent of K2 in his mind and that too without supplemental oxygen he left with fellow mountaineers.
They were last seen on February 5, near Bottleneck known to be the most technical area of the climb by his son Sajid Sadpara who had to abandon his plans as his oxygen regulator malfunctioned. After multiple efforts of rescue missions, they were officially declared dead.
Muhammad Ali Sadpara was born in 1976 in the village of Sadpara, located near Skardu. He began his career as a high-altitude porter, serving as an assistant in mountain-climbing expeditions.
His passion for mountains led him to be Pakistan’s most prolific mountaineer. Having accompanied numerous foreign expeditions it was always his desire to see Pakistans flag on the summit of the highest mountains.
Notably, he successfully ascended eight of the top fourteen 8000m high mountains with four of them in a single year. He was also known for weathering minus 62 degrees Celsius wind-chill, and completing the first winter ascent of Nanga Parbat.
In his latest expedition Sadpara along with his son Sajid, John Snorri Sigurjónsson of Iceland and Juan Pablo Mohr Prieto of Chile was attempting an unprecedented winter ascent without supplemental oxygen.
It was only last month that K2 was ascended in winter. Sadpara wanted to go a step ahead and attempt a summit without supplemental oxygen. All was going well until they reached near Bottleneck where Sajid had to abandon his pursuit of glory.
And that was the last Sajid saw of his father and fellow mountaineers. Sajid feels his father must have reached the summit and might have suffered an accident while descending.
According to the experts most accidents occur during the descent, as climbers are exhausted from the ascent with the adrenaline of making the summit quickly evaporating and even a slight loss of balance can send one crashing down into an abyss.
The search mission to find the missing mountaineers was one of the largest rescue missions involving high tech instruments and ultimate skills.
Despite the cloudy weather and windy conditions, search and rescue team mounted a heroic rescue attempt, but to no avail. It’s impossible to survive at such high altitude for more than few hours, hence they were officially declared dead on February 18.
It may come as some form of comfort to his lovers that his resting place will be in the mountains he loved so much. K2 has embraced him with arms wide open and has not let him go.-PUNA