Friday, May 24

Nepalese climbers K-2 winter ascent

British High Commission celebrates the success of the Nepal climbing team in making the first winter ascent of K2.

Islamabad (PR): The British High Commission has held a reception in Islamabad to recognize the incredible achievement of the ten Nepalese climbers who became the first expedition in winter to reach the summit of Pakistan’s K2, the world’s second-highest mountain at 8,611 meters (28,251 feet).

The achievement comes in a year when the UK is hosting the UN’s climate change conference, COP26, in November 2021, and the reception was told that the UK will be using its presidency to ensure the priorities of the most vulnerable are acted on.

The reception included senior representatives from the Government of Pakistan, the Deputy Ambassador of Nepal, the Canadian High Commissioner, the EU Ambassador, media, climate change and the mountaineering community.

The Nepalese team made their historic ascent on Saturday 16th January. The climbing team included Nirmal Purja, MBE who had a distinguished 16-year military career, of which he spent 6 years as a Ghurka and 10 years with the UK Special Forces. In 2009 he became the first ever Gurkha to join the UK Special Boat Service (SBS).  

Nirmal Purja MBE from the climbing team said:

“The whole team is extremely happy to have summited the hardest, last and greatest mountaineering feat. We’re very humbled that we have received such a welcoming and grand reception from everyone here in Pakistan. We’re grateful that the British High Commission reached out to join in our celebration of this successful summit.”

The British High Commissioner, Dr Christian Turner, CMG, said: “The extraordinary achievement of the Nepalese climbers has shone a spotlight on Pakistan’s outstanding natural beauty – and how fragile it is due to climate change. “To quote the great poet Allama Iqbal – Tu shaheen hai basera kar paharon ki chatanon mein.

The UK is a world leader in tackling climate change and as the climbers have shown, we can conquer and move mountains, if we work together.” The Press Release Ends.

In Pakistan, the UK intends to spend £13 million bilaterally this financial year, plus much more through international institutions, to help tackle climate change. Pakistan is home to 7253 known glaciers and there is more glacial ice in Pakistan than anywhere else in the world outside the Polar Regions. Temperatures are rising, and these glaciers are melting at an increasing rate. By 2100, 36% of the glaciers along the Hindu Kush and Himalaya range will have gone. More information on COP 26 can be found on this website. Nirmal Purja MBE was awarded an MBE for outstanding achievement in extreme high-altitude mountaineering by Her Majesty the Queen for the rescue he carried out in 2016, saving the Gurkha expedition from failing and his achievements on the higher 8000ers in 2017.


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