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Alpine Club of Pakistan Press Release


Report on ACP Condolence Reference to pay homage and tribute to the three mountaineers who went missing near the summit of Gasherbrum I (8,068 m)




Alpine Club of Pakistan held a Condolence Reference in Hotel Best Western, Islamabad on 28 March 2012 to pay homage to the three mountaineers who went missing near the summit of 8068 metre high Gasherbrum I on Friday 9th March 2012.

Mr Axel Wech, Austrian Ambassador was the Chief Guest on the occasion whereas Mr Wieslaw Kucharek, Deputy Head of Mission, Embassy of Poland. Mr Jean-Pierre Baumeyer, Counsellor, Head of Chancery, Embassy of Switzerland were also present. Mr Wolfgang Goschl brother of Mr Gerfried Goschl, Mr Kazim Sadpara, mountaineer brother of Nisar Hussain Sadpara travelled to Islamabad to attend this condolence meeting. Mr Abdur Rauf Khan, Additional Secretary Ministry of Inter Provincial Coordination represented Government of Pakistan on the occasion. A number of ACP members, Pakistan Tour Operators Association (PATO) officials and media representatives also attended the meeting. Prominent were Mr Ashraf Aman, first Pakistani to step on K-2 Summit in 1977, Mr Amjad Ayub, President PATO and Mr Hassan Asad Sadpara - first Pakistani to climb six peaks above 8,000 metres including Mt Everest and K-2.

Secretary ACP Mr Abu Zafar Sadiq, in his opening remarks, briefly recalled that 8000 plus Gasherbrum I - Winter Expedition 2011/12 was organised and lead by famous Austrian mountaineer Gerfried Goschl and comprised ten members grouped in two parties; one Polish and the other international. Gerfried Gaschl was attempting first winter ascent through a new route ie, from South side on Gahserbrum I during winter for the second time. He had earlier attempted the same route in winter 2011. Gerfried summit party included Pakistani Nisar Hussain Sadpara, one of the strongest professional climbers and Swiss climber Hahlen Cerdic. Narrating the tragic incident of the fateful day of Friday 9th March 2012, he said that Polish summit team comprising Adam Bielecki and Januz Golab reached the Gasherbrum I summit at 8:30 am whereas the South Summit party comprising Gerfried Goschl, Hahlen Cedric and Nisar Hussain Sadpara, who were last spotted near the Summit at 12 pm lost contact and went missing. The aerial search conducted on 15th March 2012, after clearing of bad weather failed to yield positive results. The climbers, therefore were declared lost the same day. He expressed grief and sorrow on behalf of ACP.

Speaking on the occasion President ACP explained that climbing and adventure is intrinsic in humans and the compelling charm and challenge of the lofty pinnacle and dizzy heights have always fascinated men, and women. He said that mountaineers, however are a different class of humans who epitomize the ultimate in adventure and challenge. Gerfried Goschl, Nisar Hussain Sadpara and Cedric Hahlen who went missing near the Gasherbrum I summit were certainly a special breed of mountaineers who excelled in their mountaineering career and were blessed with rich climbing experience and expertise. It was unfortunate that they were struck by bad luck just below the summit. He opined that although it will take some time to comprehend the events of 9 March but after having discussed with the Polish summiteers and others in the base camp he had concluded that probably these great mountaineers were caught in strong winds raging above 50 kms an hour. He mentioned about the ACP efforts undertaken to coordinate the search and rescue attempts. In addition to pursuing the helicopter search flight from Skardu since Saturday 10th March, ACP had readied a rescue team led by Hassan Asad Sadpara to mount a physical rescue climb to the higher camps. However after the aerial search on 15th March had failed to spot any signs, it was decided not to launch this rescue climb. He said that Gerfried Goschl and Nisar Hussain Sadpara have become an eternal part of Gasherbrum I, which they very much loved to climb and their remains are in the vicinity of the eternal abode of yet another great Austrian mountaineer Herman Buhl who lays near the summit of Chogolisa close by. Pakistan honours to host remains of these great climbers.

He narrated achievements of the three outstanding mountaineers and said that Nisar Hussain had climbed Gasherbrum II four times and Gasherbrum I three times and therefore was more than familiar with the Gasherbrums. In Gerfried Goschl Austria has not only lost a great mountaineer but Pakistan has lost a good friend who had earlier followed the footsteps of his father in raising funding and distributed relief goods for the people around Besham after the 2010 floods. He expressed condolences to the bereaved families of the three mountaineers on behalf of ACP and himself. He prayed for the departed souls to have eternal peace in the heavens. On the occasion one minute silence was observed to pay homage to these three great mountaineers.

Speaking on the occasion Mr Wolfgang Goschl paid homage to his brother Gerfried Goschl and mentioned that his brother loved Karakoram and its people intensely and that is why he had also worked in the relief efforts. He thanked all concerned in Pakistan in assisting him in arranging the search helicopter flight. He said that weather conditions were bad and as such no one could do anything and he was more than satisfied with the search and rescue efforts undertaken.

Kazim Sadpara brother of Nisar Hussain Sadpara mentioned about the love of his brother for mountaineering and rich climbing experiences. He said that as Nisar wanted to climb Everest and other high peaks therefore he willingly accepted offer of Gerfried Goschl to accompany him on the winter Gasherbrum I attempt. He hoped that Government will honour contributions made by Nisar Hussain Sadpara in the field of mountianeering.

Mr Jean-Pierre Baumeyer, Counsellor, Head of Chancery, Embassy of Switzerland briefly narrated the climbing achievements of Mr Hehlen Cedric. Though he was the youngest member of the expedition yet he was an experienced high altitude climber and climbed K-2 in 2004 and Kanchenjunga in 2005. He was the youngest European climber to stand on the K-2 summit. He expressed his condolences to his family and friends.

Mr Hassan Sadpara, speaking on the occasion paid tributes to Nisar Hussain Sadpara and briefed the audience about his search flight of 15th March and said that it was unfortunate that no sign of the summit party was spotted by him during the search mission. He said that he alongwith Ali Reza and Nazir Sadpara was all set to land in the Base Camp and undertake climb to higher camps but after thorough aerial survey success of this effort was doubtful.

Speaking on the occasion Mr Abdur Rauf Khan, Additional Secretary Ministry of IPC, Government of Pakistan, praised the courage of the lost mountaineers and thanked ACP for holding this Condolence Reference. He assured that whenever awards for these mountaineers are initiated by ACP, the IPC Ministry will fully support the recommendations.

Fateha and Dua for the departed soul of Nisar Hussain Sadpara was also held after the condolence speeches which was led by Mr Mohammad Ali Changezi, Vice President ACP.

After Dua Lt Col Manzoor Hussain (Retd) President ACP again spoke to congratulate the Polish team on making the historic first winter ascent of Gasherbrum I on 9th March. He briefly narrated the close friendship of Polish climbers with Pakistan's mountains and mountaineers. He said that this first ascent could not be celebrated due to the tragic incident involving loss of the three mountaineers. He congratulated the people and mountaineers of Poland on this historic achievement.

Speaking on the occasion Mr Wieslaw Kucharek, Deputy Head of Mission, Embassy of Poland, expressed his condolences on the loss of the Austrian, Swiss and Pakistani mountaineer during their quest to make the first ascent of Gasherbrum I. He thanked ACP for the felicitations on the first winter ascent made by the Polish climbers Mr Adam and Januz. He thanked the media for good coverage of the Polish achievement.

In the end Chief Guest Mr Axel Wech, Austrian Ambassador addressed the meeting. He paid his rich tributes to Gerfried Goschl and the other lost mountaineers. Briefly narrating personality of Gerfried Goschl he mentioned that he along with his father had not only climbed extensively in Pakistan, finding new routes on the mountains as well as trying to establish new records, but also actively took part in the relief efforts during the 2005 earthquake, as well after the floods of 2010 in Besham and surrounding area. He said that in him Pakistan has lost a good friend. He expressed his condolences to the families of Gerfried Goschl, Nisar Hussain Sadpara and Cedric Hahlen on behalf of the Austrian Government.