Born into a poor family in Sadpara, a mountaineering land in the south of Skardu, Ali Sadpara is a role model, inspiration and hero for adventurers around the world. Ali Sadpara was known to foreigners more than Pakistanis and was worshiped as a living deity.
For the past four years, he has been teaching mountaineering to students at various educational institutions in France and Spain. His parents and relatives loved Ali, as a child he was known for his courage, bravery and hard work. Ali Sadpara was born on February 2, 1976, in the Baru Gom neighborhood of Satpara village.
He learned the Quran with his only sister, Malika, from Akhund Rozi, an elder in the neighborhood, while from an early age, along with his father Haji Asad, mother Fiza and elder brother Nemat Ali, he also took part in farming and taking care of livestock. He got his primary education from Sadpara primary school.
Due to lack of post-primary education facilities in the village, most of the children could not continue their education, but Ali’s father who was a Grade One recruiter in a government department, migrated from the village to Skardu to continue his education and settled in Sundus village, where Ali completed his middle and high school education in Kushmara and his FA education in Skardu, obtained from the only Federal Boys Inter College.
While studying in Skardu, Ali became a good and intelligent student and also gained the reputation of the best sportsman. He was the best football player of Skardu city. He was a part of sundus muhalla and school football team as well as city football team. After graduating from college, Ali moved to Karachi for employment due to domestic constraints, where he also did his first job in the Makran area of Balochistan, after spending three months there, he returned to Skardu and opened a flea shoe shop in Buto Bazar, but soon became involved in the work for which Allah may have created Ali.
Ali sold flea shops and used the money to buy mountaineering equipment. This king of heights decided to defeat the heights and one after another he scaled the mountains in such a way that even the mountains were stunned. Ali had known his God-given talents in his childhood. He had taken a lot of risk while climbing the mountain since his childhood and was not scared at any stage. Ali Sadpara’s uncle Hussain Sadpara was also a mountaineer. He was the first mountaineer of Sadpara who died during the adventure.
Ali’s uncle had told his sister Fiza many times that Ali would become a great mountaineer, Ali fulfilled the prediction of becoming a great climber. Ali Sadpara was married in 1997 to the daughter of Haji Muhammad Hussain, a mountaineer from Sadpara, and they have three sons and a daughter. For the first time in 1996, he traveled with British trekkers as a porter to Snow Lake on the Biafo Glacier. After the expedition, senior mountaineer Ali Raza Sadpara discovered the talents of Ali Sadpara.
And after giving Ali initial training in mountaineering, he was taken to the Korean K-2 Cleanup Expedition for the first time as a high porter. In this expedition, Pakistani and Korean climbers cleared K-2 up to camp-3. Ali Sadpara also made the first successful rescue with Ali Raza in which the two went to rescue a Spanish climber who had crashed at the height of the 7,000 feet Latok Peak on the Hesper Glacier, but unfortunately he died before they could arrive. However, instead of leaving the dead climber’s body on the mountain, they took it down and handed it over to his family.
Ali Sadpara has always been ready for volunteer rescue from the beginning of his career and has been part of rescue teams on all other mountains including Nanga Parbat. In 2006, for the first time he climbed the 7,027m high Spantik Peak and in the same year hoisted the green crescent flag on the 8,035m high Ghasabrum II, which is listed as one of the fourteen highest mountains in the world.
As a professional high porter he climbed two mountains in two countries in 2008, Muztagh Ata peak 7,546m high located in Xinjiang and Nanga Parbat Peak in the Himalayan range of Pakistan, which is also known as the “killer mountain”. The 8,126m high Nanga Parbat and K-2 are among the most dangerous mountains in the world.
Ali Sadpara continued his journey of success in adventure and in 2010 he climbed 8,068m high Ghasabrum I and in a short span of four years had the honor of climbing 3 peaks above 8,000m and 3 peaks above 7,000m. This period was the heyday of the four Sadpara climbers Hassan Sadpara, Ali Raza Sadpara, Ali Sadpara and Nisar Sadpara in the world of mountaineering.
However, unfortunately, Nisar Sadpara died along with two foreign climbers during the Gasherbrum I adventure in 2012. Ali Sadpara made a winter adventure of 8,047m high broad peak in 2011 but couldn’t succeed despite two best efforts. In 2012 and 2013 he couldn’t succeed in the adventure of Gasherbrum I in Pakistan and Makalu in Nepal respectively, due to frostbite.
Ali Sadpara achieved the greatest success of his career in 2016, setting a world record by climbing the 8,126m high Nanga Parbat for the first time during the winters, along with Italian mountaineer Simone Moro and Spanish mountaineer Alex Tixcon. His fellow climbers have said in interviews that the expedition would not have been successful without Ali Sadpara’s brilliance.
Ali Sadapara again set a record for climbing Nanga Parbat in the fall of the same year and climbed this mountain three times. In 2017, he made the first successful winter adventure of the 7,492m high Pumari Peak in Nepal, but failed in the winter adventure of the world’s highest peak, Mount Everest, the same year. Before leaving for Nepal, Brigadier Ehsan Mehmood of Pakistan army unfurled the Pakistani flag to Ali Sadpara in front of hundreds of people at the Municipal ground. Mountaineers from all over Baltistan participated in this unique ceremony.
Ali’s eyes watered as he took the green crescent flag. He climbed the world’s second highest peak in 2018 and in 2019 he climbed Lhotse Peak 8,516m high in Nepal and 8,481m high Makalu in the same year. With these extraordinary achievements of adventure, Ali Sadpara became the first Pakistani to climb the 8 highest mountains in the world and also set many world records.
Ali Sadpara was a devoted lover of Ahle Bayt and a lover of Pakistan, so he used to wave the flag of Imam Hussain (A.S) and the national flag with him in every campaign. When Ali Sadpara’s eldest son, Sajid Sadpara, first expressed his interest in mountaineering, he urged his son to complete his studies.
However, seeing his son impatient to become a mountaineer he trained Sajid regularly. After the training, when the time came to give Sajid mountaineering equipment and tools, he first handed the national flag to his son and said; “ This flag is our goal of salvation”and while giving the flag of Imam Hussain (A.S) said; “This flag is our source of salvation”.
Sajid said that during the recent adventure on January 16, when a 10 member Nepali team climbed the 8,611 m high K-2, he looked very impatient to hoist the national flag at the top of K-2 and before leaving for their second attempt he said that now he has to either do or die. Iceland mountaineer John Sunori was a member of the three-member team for which John Sunori had got the professional services of Ali
Sadpara and Sajid Sadpara. More than 49 climbers from 18 countries were taking part in this year’s K-2 winter adventure. Among these climbers the highest number was of Nepali climbers while climbers from Pakistan, the United State, Germany, Iceland, Finland, Poland, Greece and many more were also in this adventure.
Ali Sadpara left Skardu on November 28 with his son Sajid Sadpara and John Sunori and reached the base camp on December 5. And in the first phase of the adventure, a team of 10 Nepali climbers set a record of ascending K2 for the first time during the winter on January 16. Nepali climber Nirma Praja had led this expedition.
Nirma Praja has climbed 14 of the world’s 8,000m high mountains in 6 months and holds the record, earlier this record was set in 8 years. With Nirma Praja, the team started to summit K-2 from camp-III at 1 am on January 16 and gave a possible time to reach the highest altitude at 1 pm but the team headed at 5 pm and stayed at the altitude for only 10 minutes.
The return journey began at 1 o’clock the same night they reached camp 3 safely. On the same day, a Spanish climber died on the way back from camp 1. After the success of the Nepali climbers, Ali Sadpara and the team made an attempt on January 25, but due to bad weather they had to return from camp 3. Ali Sadpara and his team along with 30 climbers began their adventure from the base camp on February 2, when the meteorological agencies forecast clear weather on February 4 and 5.
On the first day of the adventure, two climbers returned to the base camp, while on the second day, seven climbers including a Poland woman, returned from camp 1, where by February 4 most of the climbers had returned to base camp. The Italian women climber Chilli managed to get past camp 3 with her fellow climber, but the women climber returned due to severe abdominal pain.
And among the returning climbers a Bulgarian climber fell into an icy ditch after cutting off rope near camp 3 whose body was expertly lifted from the ditch by Military Aviation expert pilots.
On February 5, at 12 o’clock in the night, Ali Sadpara started his summit with his son Sajid Sadpara and Iceland mountaineer John Sunori. The Chile mountaineer Juan Pablo Mohr also joined Ali and his team in this last summit. Sajid Sadpara was summiting without oxygen. When he reached an altitude of 8,200m, he started feeling severe lack of oxygen in his body, so Ali Sadpara told him to use an oxygen cylinder but due to malfunctioning oxygen cylinder, he could not use it and had to return.
Sajid told that the last time he saw his father was on his way back to camp 3, his father was crossing the dangerous area of Bottle-neck, all the three were healthy and the weather was fine. It was about 12 o’clock when he reached back to camp 3, he warmed water for father and his friends and waited for them all night alone.
He turned on the emergency lights in his tent and kept looking at the bottle-neck area again and again but when they didn’t come in the morning, he went a little above camp 3. Sajid was given the message from the base camp that Ali Sadpara and his team would be searched by helicopter, so he returned.
On the night of February 6, Sajid returned to the base camp. On this day, two helicopters of the Pakistan Army searched for the missing climbers up to an altitude of 7,000 feet but to no avail. The next day, Sajid and the climber resumed the search by helicopter but in vain. On arrival at Skardu on Sunday, while talking to the media, Sajid said that he was sure that an accident had taken place in the area of Bottle-neck on the way back after summiting K-2.
He said that their chance of survival is slim. In Army Aviation, Commissioner Baltistan Division, Deputy Commissioner Skardu, Shigar and Assistant Commissioner Shigar along with Sajid’s relatives welcomed him. He enthusiastically shared the details with his father’s loved ones through the media and thanked the nation for praying for his safety. He thanked the federal and provincial government and the Pakistan Army for their exceptional cooperation.
K2 is the second highest mountain in the world, after Mount Everest. The mesmerizing K2 peak is located in the northwestern Karakoram range, between China-Pakistan border in the Gilgit-Baltistan region of northern Pakistan, which is one of the world’s largest mountain ranges. Like a pyramid, it is a cone-shaped peak rising to a frightening height of 28,251feet (8,611m).
It is surrounded by a cluster of similarly high peaks, all of which are also above 8,000 m, such as Gasherbrum I, Gasherbrum II and Wide Peak. K2 is often referred to as ‘The killer Mountain’ or ‘Savage Mountain’ and it is a worthy title. In the end, one in four of those who attempted to scale this peak lost their lives. Of the five highest mountains in the world, K2 is the deadliest, according to the record held on the list of deaths for eight thousand people, there were 86 deaths during attempted climbs. Thomas Montgomery, a British geographer, first discovered the mountain.
Prince Abu Zari of Italy was the first expedition to reach K-2 from Skardu in 1909 via Srinagar; the route to today’s K2 adventure is named after him. The first successful mountain adventure team was also Italian, who made their first K2 head on July 31, 1954. K2 is the deadliest of the world’s five highest mountains, with 86 deaths so far.
The mountain swallowed five climbers in this winter’s adventure. In which legend Ali Sadpara, who hails from Sadpara, may also be involved. News of Ali Sadpara’s disappearance spread like wildfire all over the world, became a top trend of social media, people from all over the world prayed for his safety. President Dr. Arif Alvi, Prime Minister Imran Khan, Chief of Army Staff Qamar Javed Bajwa, PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qurashi, Zulfiqar Ali Bukhara, Gilgit Baltistan Governor Raja Jalal Hussain, Chief Minister Khalid Khurshid, Opposition Leader Amjad Hussain and Tourism Minister Raja Nasir Ali Sadpara have continued to cooperate as much as possible along with prayers.
Alex Teixcon, a Spanish mountaineer, said in his message that the world has lost a perfect mountaineer and that he will never forget his beautiful memories of adventures with Ali Sadpara. Ali Raza Sadpara said that mountaineering was Ali Sadpara’s love and passion; he always liked to live in the heights. Simone Moro said in words “Ali Sadpara is to Pakistan what Tenzing Norgay was to Nepal ”.
Ali Sadpara had repeatedly expressed his desire and need to build a climbing school in his village and a rescue system consisting of modern helicopters in Gilgit Baltistan. Today, the federal government should take steps to fulfill the wish of Ali Sadpara. The Pakistani nation, which has its heroes on its eyelids, is demanding that Ali Sadpara, who considers raising the green crescent flag on the heights of the world as the purpose of life, must be given the symbol of National Hero.
No one can be more deserving of these national honors than heroes like Ali Sadpara. The decision by the Army Chief to continue the search operation has raised the spirits of the climbers’ families. On February 9, the families of three missing climbers made a press release. Despite four days of grueling non-stop intensive search-and-rescue coming to a halt due to bad weather, the families of three missing climbers from Iceland, Chile and Pakistan have agreed to resume their rescue mission.
John Snorri, Ali Sadpara and Juan Pablo Mohr had joined forces to bid for a K2 summit-the last eight-thousand-meter peak remained unclimbed in winters until a team of 10 Nepalese had reached a summit earlier this year. To ensure a thorough search-and-rescue effort, Rao Ahmad, Ali Sadpara’s long-time friend and Sajid Sadpara, Ali Sadpara’s son, along with British-American climber Vanessa O’Brien, who also served as Pakistan’s Goodwill ambassador and summited K2 with John Snorri, have formed a virtual base camp.
There are explanations why K2 was not historically climbed in winters, and those reasons rendered it almost impossible for a search-and-rescue mission. The freezing temperatures and wind chill, average-50 degrees Celsius, together with tired climbers, created a challenge, but everyone did what they could. The fact that they were not yet discovered may be that they had constructed an ice cave or shelter, and if they had enough fuel to melt water, their lifeline could have been extended, but it depends on how deep they were down the mountain.
For the first time ever, the good news is that this team is working with the Iceland Space Agency to review SAR technology rather than SAT technology, never before used in search and rescue, to cover every inch of the higher elevations of this mountain despite the poor conditions. The slogan of ICEYE, “every square metre, every hour” provides us with the perfect visual acuity to view helicopter-inaccessible areas due to harsh winter conditions and excessive winds.