Alpinists on Mt. Nanga Parbat Murdered

Ten dead at 15,000 foot camp in Gilgit-Baltistan, Pakistan.

 

Nanga Parbat from Base Camp. Photo taken November 30, 2005.
Nanga Parbat from Base Camp. Photo taken November 30, 2005.

Back in my younger days I was a mountain climber. I still have all the stuff: the insulated boots; parkas; big-wall hardware; ice axes, hammers and screws; tents; down bags; metal-edged telemark skis, etc. But, as my life became more sedentary, with most days spent in front of the computer or at my gallery, I got soft. Now I just read about climbing.

Perhaps that’s a good thing. I came of age, as they say, in a time when I could trek almost anywhere and get out of most any trouble by flashing that all-important U.S. passport. There were hardly any mountains off limits except the Tibetan side of the Himalayas and some of the Soviet peaks. Sometimes even these were available for the right money.

The days of unfettered access have long been gone and highlighting this was today’s Taliban attack on an international climbing camp on Nanga Parbat, Pakistan’s second and the world’s ninth highest mountain. Locals call the mountain Diamir: “King of the Mountains”. It is located in Pakistan’s northwest Gilgit-Baltistan region and has resisted all attempts at a winter ascent. The area has had a lot of violence directed at the Shia minority but none toward foreigners as has occurred in more accessible regions. (The base camp, at a mountain elevation of 4200 feet, is roadless and difficult of access, requiring a two-day hike-in. The camp itself sits at 15,000 feet above sea level.)

“Spokesperson for the proscribed Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan, Ehsanullah Ehsan, talking to Dawn.com from an undisclosed location claimed that the Janud-e-Hafsa faction of the [Taliban] had carried out the attack… dressed as Gilgit Scouts, a paramilitary police unit.” (The Muslim News, Middlesex, UK.) The reason given for the murders was to avenge recent U.S. drone attacks that killed the Taliban’s deputy leader on May 29.

The scene of the massacre at the Gilgit-Baltistan base camp - The Muslim News, UK.
The scene of the massacre at the Gilgit-Baltistan base camp – The Muslim News, UK.

One Chinese climber was wounded and escaped. The dead include an American of Chinese origin, the Pakistani guide, two Chinese, a Nepalese, two Slovakians, a Lithuanian and two Ukranians.

 

More Forest Fires Around “Wilburville”

Fires east, west and north.

So far this season there have been four forest fires in the area, all of them still burning fiercely out of control or mostly contained. Two are to the east in the Pecos Mountain area, one to the northwest and one west, just past Los Alamos in the Jemez Mountains at Valles Caldera National Preserve.

Valles Caldera is a 13.7 mile wide bowl, the remains of a small supervolcano that last blew its top about 50,000 years ago. Fragments of the explosion have been found as far away as Lubbock, Texas. Today the area serves as a magnificent location for cross-country skiing, fishing, horse riding and Hollywood movie-making.

21 June 2013 A view from my back yard, looking east, to the second fire in the Pecos Wilderness area.
21 June 2013
A view from my back yard, looking east, to the second fire in the Pecos Wilderness area.
June 2013 A view from the nearby 'town', looking east, to the first fire in the Pecos area.
June 2013
A view from the nearby ‘town’, looking east, to the first fire in the Pecos area.
3 June 2013 A view from my front yard, looking west, to the fire in the Jemez Mountains. The lights in the center of the photo are from Los Alamos, site of the Manhattan Project.
3 June 2013
A view from my front yard, looking west, to the fire in the Jemez Mountains. The lights in the center of the photo are from Los Alamos, site of the Manhattan Project.
26 June 2011 A view from my front yard, looking west, to the 2011 Las Conchas fire in the Jemez Mountains. It came within 50 feet of the 30,000 fifty gallon barrels of Los Alamos nuclear waste that are stored under tarps near the small neighboring town of White Rock. We could never figure out what those white structures were until then. As one can see, the smoke and ash drifts 20 miles directly toward the house. In the first day this fire consumed 43,000 acres - about one acre per second!
26 June 2011
A view from my front yard, looking west, to the 2011 Las Conchas fire in the Jemez Mountains. It came within 50 feet of the 30,000 fifty gallon barrels of Los Alamos nuclear waste that are stored under tarps near the small neighboring town of White Rock. We could never figure out what those white structures were until then. As one can see, the smoke and ash drifts 20 miles directly toward the house. In the first day this fire consumed 43,000 acres – about one acre per second!
25 June 2011 A view from my back yard, looking east, to the 2011 Pacheco forest fire that made us all pack and prepare to split for safety.
25 June 2011
A view from my back yard, looking east, to the 2011 Pacheco forest fire that made us all pack and prepare to split for safety.

meandering & idle speculations on nothing & everything                                          

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