Joint China - Pakistan Expedition 2012
China -Pakistan Friendship Mountaineering Expedition to Spantik Peak (7,027 m) – 2012 launched to Celebrate 60th Anniversary of the Establishment of the Diplomatic Relations between China and Pakistan
1. On the occasion of the 60th Anniversary of the Establishment of Diplomatic Relations between Pakistan and China, celebrated in 2011, Government of Pakistan decided to launch a joint China Pakistan Friendship Expedition to Karakoram as part of the Celebration programme. Government of Gilgit - Baltistan was assigned to sponsor and supervise launching of this expedition with the support of Alpine Club of Pakistan (ACP), the national mountaineering and climbing federation to launch this expedition. After approval of the proposal in June 2011, ACP invited China Mountaineering Association (CMA), the national mountaineering and climbing federation of the People’s Republic of China, to participate in joint friendship expedition offering two mountains for climbing ie, Passu Peak (7,284 m) located in upper Hunza and Spantik Peak (7,027 m) located in Shigar, Skardu. However, CMA requested postponement of the expedition till 2012.
2. It may be mentioned that in line with the traditional close friendly relations that exist between Pakistan and China in all walks of life, Alpine Club of Pakistan (ACP), the mountaineering and climbing federation of Pakistan, enjoys close relationship with Chinese Mountaineering Association (CMA). Both federations are sole representative of their countries at the Asian (UAAA) and International Mountaineering Unions (UIAA) and have cooperated in forming joint policies at the international level. Earlier, China Tibet Mountaineering Association (CTMA), in their quest to climb all the fourteen high peaks rising above 8000 metres before Beijing Olympics in 2008, were provided full assistance in launching seven joint China Pakistan expeditions to Pakistan’s five peaks rising above eight thousands metres, and to Mt Everest (Mt Chomolungma) from 1995 till 2007. In the same spirit of close friendship, a seven member ACP climbing team spent three weeks in China in September 2011 for training and participation in international rock and sport climbing competitions on the invitation of the CMA.
3. After various meetings/discussions held between officials of CMA and ACP at Beijing, China and at Kathmandu, Nepal, an agreement between the two federations was signed at Beijing, China on 24 April 2011 selecting Spantik Peak (7,027 m) as the target peak. As per the agreement the Chinese side was to provide climbing material for their members and arrange air travel to Islamabad, whereas ACP provided all logistic and administrative support to the Expedition, including Pakistani members in Pakistan, within the funding approved by Government of Gilgit Baltistan. Alpine Club of Pakistan provided the required climbing and camping gear for the Expedition from its own resources.
4. Objectives of the Joint China Pakistan Friendship Youth Expedition – 2012 were set as under:-
a. Strengthen existing friendly relations between China and Pakistan in the field of mountaineering and climbing,
b. Provide an opportunity for interaction and fostering friendship between young mountaineers and climbers from both sides.
c. Evolve and institutionalise youth mountaineering and climbing exchange programmes between China and Pakistan.
d. Promote and popularise Mountain Tourism of Gilgit Baltistan amongst Chinese, especially youth by providing good media coverage
of the event in China.
5. The Friendship Expedition comprised of six Chinese and six Pakistani experienced as well as young climbers. Both Chinese and Pakistani leaders have climbed various peaks including 8,000 metre high peaks. Expedition was as under:-
a. Chinese Side
(1) Mr Luo Shen (49 yrs) – Chinese Leader and climber of four mountains above 8,000 metres including Mt Everest.
b. Pakistan Side
(2) Mr Li Fuqing (35 yrs)
(3) Mr Yuan Fudong (27 yrs)
(4) Mr Suolang (26 yrs)
(5) Mr Langjiaduoji (30 yrs)
(6) Mr Wu Chongde - Interpreter (22 yrs)
(1) Lt Col (Retd) Dr Abdul Jabbar Bhatti (55 yrs) - Pakistani Leader and climber of two mountains above 8,000 metres ie, Broad Peak and Gasherbrum II.
(2) Mr Sa`ad Mohammed - (30 yrs)
(3) Dr Naveed Iqbal - (28 yrs)
(4) Mr Zahid Hussain Rajput – (28 yrs) (from Skardu)
(5) Mr Ali Arando – High Altitude porter.
(6) Mr Ali Arando – High Altitude porter.
6. The Chinese side arrived Islamabad on 22 June 2012 and after necessary formalities and coordinating the climbing gear, food etc, the expedition left Islamabad by road on 27 June 2012 and reached Skardu on 28 June. At Skardu they were warmly welcomed by people of Baltistan, officials of Tourism Department, Government of Gilgit Baltistan and local Alpine Club of Pakistan chapter, who arranged a welcome dinner and press conference in their honour on 29 June. After finalizing their preparations at Skardu and enjoying the local warm hospitality, the Expedition left Skardu on 30 June for Arando, last jeep head at a distance of over 60 kms.
7. On 1st July the Expedition set off on its three days approach trek on the Chogolungma glacier and on 3rd July reached the mountain Base Camp situated at a height of 4,200 metres. Making good progress, the Expedition established its Camp I at a height of 5,400 metres on 5th July and succeeded in establishing Camp II at a height of 5,700 metres on 8th July. On 12th July five Chinese and five Pakistani climbers set out for the Spantik Summit and after reaching Camp II on 13th July succeeded in establishing Camp III (6,200 metres) on 14th July. They were successful in reaching the Spantik Peak summit (7,027) at 1:45 pm on Sunday 15th July 2012. The summit party comprising five Chinese and five Pakistani members including two high altitude porters successfully hoisted flags of China and Pakistan jointly on the Spantik summit under snow fall and strong winds. Later the exhausted summit party, on descend was forced to spend two nights at Camp III (6,200 metres), due to heavy snow fall and very strong winds, in the dug up snow cave with very less food.
8. The Expedition’s success has realised the main objectives set out for the expedition. Its success will not only bring the mountaineering communities of China and Pakistan more closer, but will also assist in planning many joint China Pakistan mountaineering and climbing projects in future, in line with the traditional close friendly relations that exist between China and Pakistan.