Blogpost From Nanga Parbat Survivors

Three climbers from the Polish Alpine Club - Boguslaw Magrel, Wlodek Kierus and Adam Stadnik - have released a blogpost on their website detailing their account and experience of the Nanga Parbat massacre. The trio were lucky enough to be up on the mountain when the attack happened, and here Boguslaw Magrel describes the event from his perspective. He also advises climbers not to travel to Pakistan.

Nanga Parbat  © tomchyk
Nanga Parbat
© tomchyk, Aug 2007

The original blog post is here: nanga2013.blogspot

The following post is translated in to English using online translating tools:

"Hello, it is very difficult to find the words to describe what happened to us. But I think the matter is so serious that you need and you should talk about it openly and decisively.

As you know, June 6 we went on a trip to Pakistan, where the goal was to climb Nanga Parbat. We checked in at Diamir Base Camp on June 10. The next day we went up the mountain, where we set up Camp 1 at 4800 m, an intermediate camp at 5300, then a second camp at 6000 m. We managed "zaporęczować for two and 350 m above the second camp.

Quite optimistic we looked to the future, because at the bottom of the mountain we met strong teams from Pakistan, Ukraine, an International team comprising of climbers from Russia, Poland, Latvia, Lithuania, Azerbaijan, another team of Ukrainian-Slovak climbers, additionally came Sherpas with clients from China and a climber from Turkey. In total, about 50 climbers.

Then we had a great misfortune. Our camp at Nanga Parbat was attacked on the night of June 22/23 by armed men claiming to be Taliban [Ed: Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan]. The camp was surrounded; all climbers were dragged out of their tents, bound, robbed and then shot.

The Taliban were disappointed that they could not catch the Americans and stated that it is a revenge for the killing of Osama Bin Laden. 'Okoliczolności' executions are familiar to me, but I will not recount them here. In this horrific crime 11 people lost their lives, including many prominent mountaineers.

The remaining climbers managed to escape death as we were in the higher camps. Speaking also of luck, the Nepalese people returned to the camp at night; they heard gunshots literally 300 meters before they entered BC. The Taliban did not attack the camp workers; most of whom were recruited from this valley.

We have learned about the tragedy from the only climber who managed to escape from the camp. While trying to escape, our Chinese friend was shot in the ear [Ed note: fortunately the shot missed his head], but by satellite phone he was able to tell his Nepalese agency, which then alerted Nazir Sabir in Pakistan. This famous climber immediately informed the Pakistani Army, which sent helicopters to the Base Camp. Soldiers secured the area and ordered us to immediately return to the base.

By the evening all climbers reached BC, but that night, no one slept.

In the morning three helicopters flew in, including an Mi-8, which evacuated us to Gilgit. From there a military Hercules plane took us to Islamabad.

Our expedition is over. Currently we are trying to get our equipment, which remained at Base Camp, to return to Poland. Unfortunately, it is not easy because of Pakistani support agencies leave much to be desired. Also the support of the government is very weak. Everybody who plans to climb a mountain in Pakistan should rethink their plans, because the Taliban officially informed that tourists will be targeted in further attacks. It should also be noted that it is a complete change in their terrorist activities, because so far no attack was done against foreign tourists. Prosecution of the murderers is very difficult, because the current Pakistani government is sympathetic to the Taliban.

From the perspective in which we find ourselves, must admit that local agency is unable to provide security to its customers, it is beyond their technical capabilities. We appeal to everyone to review their plans, because in this case a trip to Pakistan is more than a "Russian roulette" and all idle boast the title "I'll manage" run out of time to grind the lock the AK 47.

Boguslaw Magrel"

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28 Jun, 2013
It makes grim reading. The fact that the Taliban has said they will continue to attack tourists means that for all intents and purposes mountaineering and treking expeditions to Pakistan will very likely cease. Dreadful for the relatives and friends of those killed and dreadful for the local economy which relies so much on tourism.
28 Jun, 2013
In case anyone has missed this photo:
28 Jun, 2013
Surprisingly good translation for "online translating tools" ! The two missing bits: "zaporęczować for two" - fix the ropes to second camp and then and 350 m above the second camp. "'Okoliczolności' executions" - circumstances of the executions are familiar to me but I will not recount them here. Andrzej
3 Jul, 2013
Sad news. Ironically I was originally scheduled to land in Islamabad on the morning of 22nd so quite likely I would have been in the area of Chilas by nightfall had we ended up travelling up the KKH. A bit of a reality check. On the 'optimitic' side, the Diamir region south of Gilgit has always been moderately unsafe compared to the rest of the Northern Areas. Even ten years ago it was recommended to trek with a guide in the area. Hopefully the likes of Hunza will remain safer given the dominant Ismaili presence that would probably have made staging such an attack by the Talaban harder to organise. I suppose it will all depend I how seriously the security services take this incident and what measures are put in place to prevent a repeat. I don't think it will totally stop climbers visiting. I noticed there was no mention of the LO in the reports. Presumably he was down the valley as often seems to be the case. Maybe the authorities need to serioulsy look at the LO arrangements again.
3 Jul, 2013
I suppose you saw the Dawn article announcing that the Gondoghoro La has just been closed? Trekkers turned back etc. So right now the only way in/out is the Baltoro. Article had typical amount of bullish*t about trekkers going off 'set' routes etc. That kind of management is not helpful. The GLa was low-hanging fruit for ass-covering so that they could be seen to do something. I agree climbers may go back, but maybe not to the KKH. Possibly the draw of K2 is so strong that at 'best' what we can hope for is a military-secured route from Skardu up the Baltoro - nothing more. Given the Chinese shut off Xinjiang again this year for expeditions there is no northern alternative, unless they change their minds. Of course now everyone is saying that only flying ISB-Skardu is possible, no road travel, but those flights were always a mess - unavailable for all sorts of reasons, not just 'weather'. That will have to change. So given tension in Islamabad, a fly-in only access to Skardu, then an approach only safe with military presence, up a single route, people may seriously question whether they want to climb there at all. Worth remembering there are at least two expeditions in the Biafo-Hispar area currently climbing, in addition to whoever is up the Baltoro.
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