By Ahmed Nayyar
Ali Sadpara, a Pakistani Mountaineer cum High Altitute Porter, reached the summit of Nanga Parbat 8,125m for the first time in winter season along with Italian Alpinist Simone Moro and Spanish Alex Txikon on 26th February, 2016. This was his record 3rd time to conquer the Killer Mountain from the Kinshofer route on Diamer Face; in total he has made 6 ascents of four achttausanders located in Pakistan including K2/Chogori in 2004, Gasherbrum-II in 2010, Gasherbrum-I in 2006.
Ali Sadpara is very little known alpinist in Pakistan; even at his home particularly Gilgit-Baltistan. He began his mountaineering career as a low altitude porter in 2000 before that he used to live from extracting marble in Balochistan and selling it in Karachi. Although, started as a mean to earn a living, he soon discovered his great affection for mountains and climbing. “I always feel happy in the mountains. Since the day when I got to know about them for the first time and worked as a porter, it has always been my desire to climb them. Now I could make money easily in Sadpara – village – or in Skardu – main town in the area–, or even in Islamabad, but I feel happy here (in the mountains).” He told during an interview with Alex Txikon in 2015.
Unlike Sherpas in Nepal, the local High Altitude Porters came into known after Nanga Parbat maiden summit in 1953; in which high altitude porters from Hunza were hired by the expedition. “I have always climbed a mountain by putting my feet in someone others boot” said, Pakistani Mountaineer Nazir Sabir, during a session. In Pakistan Mountaineering is very less interested subject but for Ali and many others it’s the only hope or source of income generation. During his 16 years of mountaineering career, he had worked with more than 16 expeditions – fixing ropes and making ways for them.
He made some other important climbing activities that deserve appreciation; in 2006 he reached, alone, Spantik 7,027m summit after opening a new route. In 2008 and 2010 winters he fixed Broad Peak route up to Camp 3 for the polish team; and did so in 2012 winter in Gasherbrum-I; equipped Japanese Couloir from Camp 2 to Camp 3.
Ali Sadpara is first and the only Pakistani to climb an eight-thousander in winter.