Pakistan Special: Pakistani Duo Attempts Everest this Season

Two Pakistani mountaineers are at Everest Base Camp, all ready to enter the icefall for first round of acclimatization. Saad Mohammad and Abdul Jabbar Bhatti reached BC on 15th after a week long trek through Khumbu Valley, preceded by the Kathmandu-Lukla flight. If successful, they will be the fourth Pakistani expedition to reach the summit.

Saad and Jabbar are first Pakistani mountaineers to attempt Everest who do not belong to the mountainous region of Gilgit-Baltistan. They are torch bearers of the enthusiastic group, who chose to be mountaineers by choice, unlike majority of Pakistani climbers who belong to (or started off as) High Altitude Porters or mountain guides. It's hoped that the team's success will add requisite breathing air to the diminishing interest in mountain climbing in Pakistan.

35 year old Saad Mohammad has been trying to arrange an 8000m expedition since a while. His plans to attempt Broad Peak and Gasherbrum peaks in past couple of years didn't materialize due to financial constraints and lack of sponsorship. Possibly, the name of 'Big E' helped in funding this time. Nonetheless, we hope that it's just the beginning, and future Pakistani climbers receive due support from national and international brands.

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Historically speaking, there has been only four Pakistani expeditions to Everest, three of them achieving the summit success. All of them used bottled oxygen, though. Saad Mohammad and Jabbar Bhatti will be climbing the normal route on South side using bottled O2.
Jabbar Bhatti and Saad Mohammad; Source

1. Sino-Pakistan Expedition 1997
A joint venture of Alpine Club of Pakistan (ACP) and China Tibet Mountaineering Association (CTMA), a subsidiary of China Mountaineering Association, expedition was organized to celebrate Golden Jubilee of Pakistan’s independence (1947-1997). Under the leadership of Nazir Sabir, the ten memeber team attempted Northeast ridge (on the Chinese side). The climbing team (Sher Khan, Ibrahim, Rozi Ali, Mehrban, Rajab and Nazir Sabir) made three attempt to reach the summit. In one of the attempts, they were less than 300m short of summit, when poor visibility and strong wind forced them to retreat. The team consisted of Nazir Sabir, Col. Sher Khan, Rajab Shah, Meherban Shah, Capt. M. Iqbal, Capt. Dr. Safiullah, M. Ibrahim, Rozi Ali, M. Sarwar and Ghulam Hassan.

2. Nazir Sabir in 2000
In 2000, Nazir Sabir joined the outfitter Mountain Madness’ Everest Expedition. The eight member international team, led by American lady Christine Feld Boskoff, climbed the Southeast Ridge (from Nepal side). Sabir became the first Pakistani to summit Everest, when he reached the top on the morning of May 17th.

3. Pakistan Everest Expedition 2011
Funded by government of Pakistan, the expedition was facilitated by Alpine Club of Pakistan (ACP). Hassan Sadpara was the lead climber while his brother Muhammad Sadiq joined him for support (at BC). After acclimatization, Hassan Sadpara left BC for summit on May 10th. His plan was to reach the top without using bottled oxygen. Unfortunately, the weather deteriorated above C4 and he had to breathe the artificial oxygen. Sadpara summited on May 12th.

4. Gender Equality Expedition 2013
Brother-sister duo Mirza Ali and Samina Baig attempted the mountain in 2013. It was also the first instance of a Pakistani female climbing an 8000m peak. Samina reached the top on May 19th, whereas Mirza turned back a little below summit.
Saad (at left most) with fellow climbers leaving for Lukla. Source
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