GILGIT: Legendary mountaineer Ali Raza Sadpara died Friday morning in a hospital where he was being treated for serious injuries he sustained more than 10 days ago. He was 56 years old.
His funeral prayers were offered in the city’s Olding Village here and attended by large numbers of people from all walks of life. He was buried in his native cemetery in Skardu. Other climbers, politicians, the army chief and civil society expressed their condolences to his family and called Sadpara’s death a “great loss for Pakistan”.
On May 17, the veteran climber was seriously injured when he slipped off a cliff and fell into a ditch. He was immediately rushed to Skardu district headquarters hospital, where his spinal cord was found fractured and his ribs broken. He had been treated in hospital since then and died on Friday morning.
Ali Raza Sadpara was due to attempt the ascent of K2, the world’s second highest peak, this summer and was training for it. Beginning to climb mountains at the age of 20 as a porter, he quickly became the strongest high altitude porter in 1992. He also has the honor of having scaled the peaks of 8,000 Pakistan meters (or 8,000ers) 17 times, including Broad Peak (8,047m) five times, Gasherbrum-II (8,035m) four times, Gasherbrum-I (8,068m) four times and Nanga Parbat (8 125m).
Muhammad Ali, a tour operator from Gilgit-Baltistan, said Ali Raza was among the pioneers of high altitude rock climbing. He was considered the most technical and strong mountaineer, who not only promoted adventure tourism in Pakistan but also guided and trained renowned mountaineers including the late Muhammad Ali Sadpara – who died climbing K2 last year, Hasan Sadpara and Nisar Sadpara.
Sadiq Sadpara, who has climbed five peaks above 8,000m in Pakistan and taken part in numerous expeditions with the deceased mountaineer, praised Ali Raza’s endurance at high altitudes. “We have lost another star, the void cannot be filled,” he said.
Luke Smithwick, an American climber, said it was important to remember “a humble master” who climbed the 8,000 meters many times.
Famous climber Sirbaz Khan said the legendary Ali Raza spent his life serving the country and training a whole generation of climbers. “We called it ‘ustaadon ka ustaad’.”
Another eminent climber, Sajid Ali Sadpara, said above all that Ali Raza was a good human being who had taught his equally famous father. He said that despite his advanced age, Ali Raza had incredible stamina and was more active than younger climbers.
Naila Kiani, the first Pakistani climber to scale an 8,000m peak in Pakistan, undertook the Gasherbrum II expedition with Ali Raza last year and had planned to climb K2 with him this summer. Mourning the loss of her “teacher, guide, friend”, she said: “He made us laugh like crazy during the most difficult moments of the last expedition. Why did you have to leave so soon before seeing all your dreams come true? You have taught so many people how to climb, helped the Pakistani army on so many missions, saved so many people in the mountains. A true hero, a legend. Chacha, your name will live forever.
The President, Dr. Arif Alvi, expressed his sorrow over the death of Mr. Sadpara.
In a message of condolence, the President prayed to Almighty Allah to rest the soul of the deceased in eternal peace and to grant courage to the bereaved family to bear the loss courageously.
The army chief, General Qamar Javed Bajwa, also expressed his grief over his disappearance. “May Almighty Allah bless the soul of the deceased in eternal peace, Ameen,” he said in a tweet from Inter-Service Public Relations.
Gilgit-Baltistan CM Khalid Khurshid Khan, opposition leader Amjad Hussain and members of the GB Assembly also expressed their condolences.
Posted in Dawn, May 28, 2022