By Laurent Chavellier (France)

Abdul Karim nicknamed “Little Karim” lived in Hushé, a small village perched at 3200 m, at the foot of the Karakoram mountains in northern Pakistan.

Endowed with unfailing morale and strength, he had been able to accompany, for more than thirty years, the “conquerors of the useless” on some of the highest peaks on the planet. By regularly carrying heavy loads at more than 8000 m, he had become the most famous Balti “sherpa” of the Western Himalayas.

Thanks to his fame, Karim had been able to create with his sons “Travel Amazing Karakoram”, a small family trekking agency to introduce foreigners to his region (despite threats from the Taliban), to share the love he had for his Karakoram mountains and find support in a development project for his village, school, medical clinic, etc.

But in recent years, his health had deteriorated to the point of having to make several stays in hospital in Islamabad. This is where last night he unfortunately had to breathe his last. Karim left leaving behind a huge void for all those who had the chance to cross your path.

For my part, I had discovered him in 1982 at the base camp of Hidden Peak and I was able thereafter, film after film, (“Little Karim” in 1985, “Mister Karim” in 1997, “Apö Karim” in 2011), bear witness to his unique journey. With Karim, we had thought of a next film (in development), just to share with him and his loved ones, life in Hushé in winter, isolated by the snow for several months. Thus, I could have come full circle and told the life of this “little big man” of the Himalayas.

But now that you are gone Karim, words fail me to thank you for everything you have taught me in life. You who preferred to live alongside the “simple poeple”, “poor poeple” and “joking poeple”. You who worried about one thing: what people would say about you after you left…

From this point of view, you don’t have to worry, you were such a beautiful and good person. A being of light as there are so few…

Rest in peace my dear Karim.
Your “very good friend”, your “brother”

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