9 mountain climbers were shot to death on Sunday at 1am while at a 15,000-foot base camp en route to climb 26,660-foot Nanga Parbat, Earth’s 9th tallest mountain.
One American, two Chinese, one Russian, five Ukrainians, a local guide, & one Pakistani security guard are reported to have been killed by around 12 Pakistani Taliban militants. All of the foreigners were part of an expedition that was in Pakistan’s Gilgit-Baltistan region to climb 26,660-foot Nanga Parbat.
“Gunmen wearing paramilitary uniforms stormed into the mountaineers’ camp at around 1 a.m. on Sunday, opening fire, Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan told Parliament on Sunday morning. The local police said that there were about a dozen attackers. ” – Declan Walsh/New York Times
The base camp where the climbers were attacked lies at 15,000 feet and takes two days to reach by foot. The remoteness of the location of these foreign climbers highlights the determination the militants had in performing this terrible massacre. The militants were able to escape the scene without detection. Their locations and identities are currently unknown.
A spokesman for the Pakistani Taliban has claimed responsibility for the attack and stated that the killings were in response to US drone attacks in Pakistan.
“We carried out (the) attack and killed 10 foreigners in Gilgit-Baltistan. Our attacks on foreigners will continue to protest over drone strikes,” a spokesman for the Pakistani Taliban Ihsanullah Ihsan told NBC News over the telephone. – Mushtaq Yusufzai/NBC
Three other expeditions are currently on Nanga Parbat and are believed to be safe. A climb of Nanga Parbat generally takes over three months as acclimatization to such altitudes takes time.
Pakistan has been a dangerous country for foreigners for a long time but mountain climbers have, until now, remained relatively immune to these dangers. Mountaineers in Pakistan are mostly concerned with the dangers that the mountains themselves present. (Although American ski mountaineer Ned Gillette was shot to death on Nanga Parbat in 1998)
Nanga Parbat is located in Northern Pakistan & is commonly called “Killer Mountain” due to the large amount of deaths that occurred while attempting its summit in the early and mid 20th century. Nanga Parbat means “Naked Mountain” in Kashmiri (old sanskrit: Nagna Parvata) and the local name of the peak is Diamir which means “King of Mountains.”
Our deepest condolences go out to the friends and family of the deceased climbers.