Islamabad (PR): Located at an altitude of 3000m, Shimshal is one of those villages of Pakistan that can be considered as home of mountaineers. Rajab Shah, Mehrban Shah, Shaheen Baig, Ali Musa, Qudrat Ali, Pakistan’s first female altitude climber Samina Baig and many more – they all belong to this remote community of Hunza Nagar. A three-man team of Shimshal climbers left the village yesterday (Jan 20th), to climb three peaks of mount Chashkin (ca. 6000m). The team is led by renowned mountaineer Qudrat Ali, whereas Muhammad Abdul and Kaleem Ullah are other members.
“The target of this winter expedition is to attempt three 6000m peaks in alpine style, within one week’s time,” Majeed Karim (of Shimshal Mountaineering School) told Altitude Pakistan. “Two of the peaks, Chashkin I and Chashkin II are still unclimbed. Chashkin III was scaled by Qudrat Ali and Shaheen Baig in winter 1997.”
One of the famous ascents of Chashkin III was by Samina Baig, who reached the summit in September 2010. Qudrat Ali summited again in 2010 with a Japanese expedition. The altitude of the peak was recorded as 5950m during the expedition. The precise heights of unclimbed peaks are not known yet, but Qurdrat Ali said that they’re taller than Chashkin III. (The maps also suggest the same.)The climbers left the village with backpacks of approximately 40kgs each, carrying food for more than a week and climbing equipment; without porters or BC support. They will attempt Chashkin I first, before returning to BC and going up for peak II via a different route. The peaks are connected via a ridge of 1km+ length, 100m topographic prominence and unknown difficulty level, and hence they are not going to link the two summits. Chashkin III will be attempted, last. The temperatures during the expedition may drop well below -30°C.
Qudrat Ali (42) is among the most experienced mountaineers of Pakistan. His first interaction with tourism dates back to 1989, when he was hired by a group of British High Commission tourists to ‘just show around’. Later in 1991, he accompanied Paul Hudson to a nearby peak and learned the basics of mountain climbing from him. The climbing record of Qudrat Ali includes four eight-thousander ascents (Broad Peak, 2xGII, GI and Nanga Parbat), two winter attempts on Broad Peak and several other expeditions (including K2 and Manaslu).
Muhammad Abdul and young Kaleem Ullah are from Shimshal Mountaineering School (SMS). Abdul has worked as altitude porter for different 6000m and 7000m expeditions, whereas Kaleem has just completed the training programs at SMS.