Islamabad – Pakistan’s first ever mountaineering expedition is all geared up to reach the summit of K2. The team of 8 Pakistani climbers, led by Muhammad Taqi, also include two Italian mountaineering ambassadors, Michele Cucchi (alpine guide), and Simone Origone (ski expert), and would leave from Skardu on June 14, according to a press brief at National Press Club on Monday.

k2Pakistan’s first mountaineering, scientific and environmental research expedition to K2 will mark the 60 years anniversary of first ascent of second highest mountain in the word by Italian expedition in 1954. Pakistan and Italian climbers joined the ceremony to share their mutual passion to discover and climb the magnificent mountains. It was the determination and enthusiasm of Pakistanis that compelled Italian experts to arrange the expedition. “I met the climbers last summer on the Baltoro Glacier, where they shared their dream to climb K2 (8611m) and asked for help to which I gladly responded” told Agostino Da Polenza, President of EvK2Cnr.

The expedition is being carried out with support of government of Gilgit Baltistan (GB) and Italian organization EvK2Cnr which has been working in Gilgit and Baltistan for last 20 years with scientific research and development projects. In past, few Pakistani climbers have reached K2 summit but as team-members or working as high altitude porters for foreign voyages, but has never been scaled by an all Pakistani expedition. “To make this dream a reality, and prove the potential of Pakistani climbers, we arranged mountaineering and rescue training of some 250 Pakistanis guides and climber 3 years ago” said Murizio Gallo, expert and advisor on Pakistan K2 expedition.

Federal Minister for Information & Broadcasting Senator Pervaiz Rashid said “it is a moment of pride for Pakistani nation: which has been realized with the support from Italian friends who not only love our mountains but put their efforts to mainstream and popularize it.

The voyage been organized by Pakistanis who successfully climbed the Broad Peak last year. Team includes Muhammad Taqi (skilled alpinist) as team leader, Hassan Jan (climber leader), Muhammad Sadiq, Ghulam Mehdi, Ali Durani, Ali, Mihammad Hassan, Rehmat Ullah Baig who hail from Hushey, Shigar and Sapara. The youngest climber is 23 years old and the oldest 38. EvK2Cnr researchers and a video maker, Daniele Nardi, will report the entire expedition for the scientific mission.

Team Lead of the expedition, Muhammad Taqi, repeatedly appreciated the efforts and contribution of Italian experts and hoped Pakistan government will play its due role for promotion of mountaineering. Ashraf Aman, first Pakistani to reach K2, also joined the event to offer his best wishes and support for the Pakistani K2 expedition.

The ceremony also witnessed a unique gesture of Pakistan-Italian friendship as Senator Pervaiz Rashid and Counselor Tommaso Sansone, Deputy Head of the Italian Mission in Pakistan, handed over Pakistani and Italian flags to the Pakistani mountaineers.