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Scars and dramas of Nanga Parbat – Killer Mountain, Pakistan

The killer mountain

Unveiling Stories – Where the Heck Have I Been?

From the relatively good, albeit dusty road from the town of Chilas along the Indus River, we stopped at the Reikot Bridge. We moved our belongings from one car to another and hopped into a 4×4 jeep that was supposed to take us to the village of Tatu. From there, only trekking awaited us, along with a great unknown. For me, it was the first eight-thousander that I hope to see with my own eyes, and I must say I looked at it with “wide-open eyes” like a fat fly on the wall.

Trek, Fairy meadows, Nanga Parbat, Západné Himaláje, Pakistan
Trek, Fairy meadows, Nanga Parbat, Západné Himaláje, Pakistan

In the rush of responsibilities, I didn’t have much time to thoroughly study what awaited us. Moreover, before the trip, I had several weeks of “dramatic” gastrointestinal problems, which didn’t contribute to my well-being joyful mood. The trek and the trip were both amazing. To give you an idea of the dramatic nature of the environment, I’m adding a few notes. I discovered and learned about everything on the go, and I felt my smallness exposed to the whims of nature, humility, and gratitude that I could see and experience all of this. Looking back, I can now say, “Thanks to the favor of all circumstances towards me.”

Intro Nanga Parbat mountain

Nanga Parbat, also known as the “Killer Mountain“, evokes a mixture of respect, admiration, fear, and awe in people. It also goes by the name Diámir.

Situated in Pakistan, in the Kashmir Himalayas, within the Nanga Parbat mountain range, it is located 125 km north of Srinagar. It is the westernmost eight-thousander. Nanga Parbat (8125 m) is the ninth highest of the 14 main peaks in the world that are over 8000 meters.

Nanga Parbat, Diamir stena trek z Fairy meadows, Pakistan
Nanga Parbat, Diamir face; on the trek from Fairy meadows, Pakistan
Nanga Parbat panoráma, Diamir stena trek z Fairy meadows, Pakistan
Base camp, Nanga Parbat panorama, Diamir face; on the trek from Fairy meadows, Pakistan

The Killer Mountain 

In this wild country, where the blue sky meets endless glaciers, the fateful stories of many brave mountaineers have unfolded. The mountain Nanga Parbat is notorious for its extremely challenging climbs, claiming the lives of many climbers attempting to conquer it. Before the Second World War, it accounted for the highest number of fatalities among all mountains.

Nanga Parbat towers over the surrounding peaks by more than 1,000 meters, leaving it exposed to the weather elements without protection from the wind or monsoon rains. Avalanches and fierce storms are common in this area. During our trek to the base camp, we also witnessed an avalanche, contributing to its nickname as the “naked” or exposed mountain. It is exposed to the wind and all weather conditions, hence the translation of its name.

Due to the difficulty of ascending Nanga Parbat from the Fairy Meadows side, known as the Raikot Face, according to information from our guide, no one has dared to conquer the mountain from this side in the past approximately 10 years.

Basecamp, Nanga Parbat Raikot, face, Gilgit–Baltistan, Pakistan
Basecamp, Nanga Parbat Raikot, face, Gilgit–Baltistan, Pakistan

“We approached the base camp from the Raikot side, seeing the Raikot Face of Nanga Parbat.

We were treated to a breathtaking view of the mountain.”

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The road to the mountain is one of the most dangerous in the world.

“On the way to Nanga Parbat, we traversed one of the most dangerous roads in the world. It’s a winding narrow path for a single car, with steep cliffs and no guardrails, snaking along the mountains until the village of Tattu. As we sat in the jeep, and I saw what awaited us, I thought to myself, ‘Omg, this is crazy, where are we going?’

Jeep na ceste z Raikot mosta na Fairy meadows, Pakistan
Jeep on the road from Raikot bridge to Tatu village, towards Fairy meadows, Pakistan
Cesta z Raikot mosta do Tutu, Fairy Meadows Pakistan
The road to Tatu village, towards Fairy meadows, Pakistan

During the jeep ride, I immediately asked when was the last time a car fell here. “Ahh, it’s been a long time.” Okay, but my simple approach to things won’t let go of my doubt, and with Tomáš, we attentively observe the road.. Our car broke down on the way, and by pure chance, the second one happened to pass by, so the second driver picked us up.

Two days after we left the mountain, a car with seven people fell off this road, and very sadly, five of them died.  :(((  (Brake failure).  This tragedy was compounded by the fact that six passengers were a family of Sherpa, with whom we spent last three days. 🙁  That sherpa was very very nice person. One day a person is here, and the next day, they are no longer. In such moments, one realizes the unpredictability and value of life.

Pád Jeepu z cesty na Fairy meadows, Pakistan
Pád Jeepu z cesty na Fairy meadows, Pakistan

The trek from the village of Tatu leads to the beautiful valley of Fairy Meadows. Until recently, it remained untouched, but even here, development has started and apart from positive impact you can see the negative part. I think there are already restrictions on further development to prevent deforestation.

Reinhold Messner a tragédia jeho brata

Rheinold a Gunhter Messnerovci, Nanga Parbat, Stena Diamir, Pakistan
Rheinold a Gunhter Messnerovci, Nanga Parbat, Stena Diamir, Pakistan

Reinhold Messner is an Italian mountaineer and adventurer who has achieved many significant feats in the field of mountaineering. His brother, Günther Messner, was also a mountaineer, and tragedy struck their expedition in 1970.

In 1970, Reinhold and Günther Messner embarked on an ascent of Nanga Parbat, one of the highest peaks in the world. Unfortunately, their expedition was marked by tragedy. After successfully reaching the summit, they got lost during the descent in extreme weather conditions. Günther unexpectedly disappeared under the avalange, and Reinhold returned alone.

This tragedy caused significant emotional and physical suffering for Reinhold Messner. Despite this incident, he continued his mountaineering career and became one of the most significant and acclaimed mountaineers in history.

Our Sherpa accompanied Reinhold on a 14-day trek around Nanga Parbat.”

Terrorist attack

“On the night of June 22, 2013, sixteen armed terrorists affiliated with the Taliban, dressed in uniforms resembling those of local security forces, infiltrated the base camp at an altitude of 4200 meters. They executed 11 people, including two Slovak mountaineers. Among the victims were mountain rescuers Anton Dobeš and Peter Šperka.

One probably doesn’t need to add more to the drama and scars of this mountain.”


Closing thought:

The possibility to touch this mountain, breathe in its energy, and witness its strength was worth it for me.



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