Honouring The Son Of Mountains: K2 Should Be Renamed ‘Ali Sadpara Peak’
For the past few days, Pakistan is mourning for a hero, who was not so famous before K2 Winter Expedition 2021. Before this expedition mostly followers of mountaineering, and climbing lovers knew about Ali Sadpara, but now it feels that the nation has lost a son, a brother, a father and very dear friend. The 45-year-old has become a household name, but unfortunately the reason of this popularity is linked to a huge tragedy.
On February 5, Ali Sadpara along with two other mountaineers went for summit push of K2 to become the only second team to do so. However, the ‘Savage Mountain’ has apparently made him his guest for eternity. Since Saturday (February 5), Ali Sadpara is missing. He was seen a few hundred meters below the summit. The search operation is still on, and the whole nation is praying. But the hope is now diminishing. The son of mountains appears to have become the permanent resident of a mighty mountain.
In the mountaineering community, Ali Sadpara was no less than a legend because of his brisk speed, climbing style, switch from high altitude to professional climber, his humbleness and becoming the part of team which did the first winter summit of Nanga ‘Killer Mountain’ Parbat in 2016. Although most of us have not met him, or talked with him but it feels that we have lost someone extremely worthy, which is not wrong and the country is still hoping for a miracle.
Keeping these sentiments alive, I have a rather ambitious proposal. Although it seems a far cry, and some might even make fun of it, I think K2 should be renamed as ‘Ali Sadpara Peak’. I know it sounds emotional and it is very hard that this name would catch on as it will remain popular as K2. But, one of our best climbers, son of this soil is now residing at the mountain, and I think it is just a small tribute to the legend.
This is just a simple appeal to the government, army, tourism department and other concerned authorities, to change the name of this mountain officially. In documents, it would become ‘Ali Sadpara Peak’, place a plaque/board near the basecamp in his memory, so the people who don’t know about him would remember him—the future climber can take inspiration from him. And it would be a great tribute to one of Pakistan’s greatest climbers and I think K2 would also be happy to get named after a man like Ali Sadpara.
The current name of the mountain is merely given because it was the second mountain measured in Karakoram in 1856 by Col. T.G. Montgomerie. The mountain has other names like Mount Godwin Austen (its first surveyor), Dapsang and Chagori (local name) and Qogir Feng (Chinese). ‘Ali Sapara Mountain’ would be an apt name.
I am not saying that government should force everyone to call it by this name, I am merely suggesting a tribute, a mean to remember him forever—and recognition of the relationship that Ali Sadpara and K2 now have.
The writer is a Lahore-based journalist