Ammis!!! Last night it was way past my bedtime but while browsing through comments and posts on Muhammed Ali Sadpara, I read the minority opinion of how he shouldn’t have gone on K2 in such weather. And how it was almost suicidal to do so..
The words saddened and dismayed me. But also prompted me to write.

There are two kinds of people in the world. The vast majority live a safe life. They choose the path of least resistance. The path which leads to a stable income, a family life, facilities etc.

And then there is this extremely small minority that is born with an itch. Like an insane itch and desire to do something crazy. A dream they can’t stop dreaming. An obsession they can’t forget.

These are the inventors and the thinkers and the scientists and the philosophers. When we were coming back from Skardu, we kept discussing Sadpara. And how could we not! We saw the Sadpara lake and thought about him. We offered a silent prayer for him when we saw shops with his pictures up. We met people with the common surname Sadpara.

At Serena Shigar Fort, they spoke about him with reverence. Apparently he came there often to meet his international colleagues but also for various events.

Keyaan was mystified as to why he went up in the cold. “Why didn’t he wait for summer?”

Aahil immediately said that he too wanted to climb the mountain of K2 but in summer.

Ranya said she wanted to do in winter. “I want to become the first girl to do so,” she said.

And then my 65+ baba said he wanted to try the base camp of K2! INSHA ALLAH, he said he wanted to challenge himself. My mom smiled but didn’t stop him from dreaming.

That conversation has stayed with me! And this is the contribution of great men like Sadpara. They inspire others to dream and dream big!!! In a world where a porter can become the most celebrated mountaineer of all times in Pakistan, we can all aim high. Maybe that book I have been dreaming off isn’t so impossible after all. Maybe Keyaan’s dream of owning a dog farm isn’t so hard. Maybe Pakistani girls can become astronauts and Olympians.

Sadpara is a great man! Such men are not governed by thoughts of weather and the hurdles and difficulties. They operate on a different level! One where only dreams and desires and ambitions and a deep seated pride for Pakistan resides.

K2 in January/ February 2021 has seen more people on its treacherous slopes than in all the previous years combined. I like to believe Sadpara has some part to play in attracting dozens of international mountaineers to K2. Maybe they were drawn by the magnetism of this dancing, exuberant mountain lover. Maybe they too felt (like my baba) that they could do what Sadpara dreamt of doing.

Fingers crossed that he is OK! Hiding in a snow cave and praying. Maybe singing and humming away. But chances are slim. One thing is for sure! Sadpara’s life has inspired a generation. Today his story is being told and retold in multiple languages. And I know we will all forever look at K2 now with anger, sadness but also fear. The savage mountain is a reminder of how the path can be treacherous, deathly, difficult BUT eventually the power of the human will dominates it. Sadpara dominated Nanga Parbat in winter. Many believe he also reached the K2 Summit in winter. Whether he did or he did not, one thing is for sure! Those who complete K2 treks in the future will do so in the shadow of the giant who ran up and down mountains sometimes without equipment, sometimes without the required clothing and usually without oxygen.

He had two dreams. To scale K2 in winter and to buy his wife a sewing machine. By most accounts, he was able to complete the first since the general belief is that something happened during the descent from the summit. As for the second, I have a feeling his wife will end up with more machines than she needs.

What a life!!! Where all of one’s dreams come true.

Ayesha Nasir

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