Friday, July 3, 2009


Nazir Sabir

Nazir Sabir is a Pakistani mountaineer. He was born in Ramanji a small hamlet in Chiporsun, upper Hunza known as Gojal. He is the only Pakistani to have climbed Mount Everest and four of the five 8000m peaks in Pakistan, including the world’s second highest peak K2 in 1981, Gasherbrum II and Broad Peak in 1982, Gahserbrum 1( Hidden Peak 8068m ) in 1992 and he became the first climber from Pakistan to have summitted Everest on May 17, 2000 with Mountain Madness Everest Expedition led by Christine Boskoff of the USA.
Climbing career

Nazir started off his climbing career with a Japanese expedition to the 7284m Passu peak in Hunza in 1974. In 1975 he attempted Nanga Parbat (8125 m) with a German Expedition. On July 17 1976 he made the first ascent of 6660m virgin Paiyu followed by Col. Manzoor Hussain and Major Bashir with the first Alpine Club Expedition.

In 1977 Nazir Sabir joined the largest Japan/Pakistan joint expedition to K2, attempting the traditional South East Abruzzi ridge. It was a huge expedition, using bottled oxygen; this team had an army of 1500 porters and 52 members. However Nazir Sabir’s first assault team including four Japanese had to turn back due to snow storms from 8280m. Another attempt with the same team had to be abandoned again from 8150m when they had to come down searching for two missing colleagues who were found alive below C4. However they put six members of the team on the summit making the second ascent of K2.Till then only two mountaineers of the 1954 successful Italian expedition had stepped on the K2 Summit. Nazir Sabir got the chance to climb K2 in 1981 by accompanying a Japanese Waseda University Expedition to K2 attempting the West and South West ridge rather than the usual Abruzzi ridge. The Duke of Abruzzi had, in 1909, surveyed K2 from all its sides. He felt that K2 could only be assailed from the South West ridge, which was to be named Abruzzi ridge. The route to the West and North West ridges of K2 is via Savoia glacier. This is north of Godwin Austen glacier and the traditional K2 Base Camp. It involves a difficult grade, ice and rock climb at higher elevations with winds at 100+ km/h. In 1978 the famous British climber Chris Bonnington made his first attempt on this route. Nick Estcourt, part of this team, was swept to his death by a slab avalanche above their Camp I.Nazir, followed by Eiho Otani, reached the K2 summit on 7 August 1981. Nazir created history by successfully climbing K2's W/South West Ridge for the first time. He was the second Pakistani to stand on K2 summit and first via this route. A documentary film of the climb, "50 Day Struggle" shown all over Japan, made Nazir Sabir a house hold name in Japan. In due course Nazir had also picked up Japanese language and could speak it fluently.
Nazir Sabir in 1982, along with Sher Khan climbed with the famous Italian mountaineer Reinhold Messner and scaled Broad Peak (8047 m) and Gasherbrum II (8035 m) in one attempt. Both Gasherbrum II and Broad Peak were done in Alpine style in a period of just one week the fastest ascent of two 8000m peaks at that time!

Expedition on Mount Nanga Parbat

He made three attempts on Nanga Parbat. His first was in October 1981, two months after his great success on K2 when he joined his friends from the Sangaku Doshkai Club Tokyo lead by M. Omiya. They followed the First serious attempt route (1895) of A F Mummery. Nanga Parbat claimed its first of many victims when Mummery and two Gorkha Sherpas were killed by an avalanche. Nazir and the Japanese abandoned due to the heavy crevasses on lower part of the Diamir Glacier and avalanches after heavy snow fall that autumn.
Then he challenged the SS West side also known as Schell Route of Nanga on the Rupal flank in 1983 with Tohokeiryo Kai Club friends. As he was leading a pitch up a chest deep snow face around 7200m he fell 400 meters on top an avalanche along with seven Japanese colleagues nearly to the bottom of the face but barely survived as he stopped only 20m from the edge. One of the team members Shimura fell some 2000m down the face never to be found again. Nazir ended up with bruises all over the body and a sprained ankle while the team doctor Dr. Arai and Wakutsu had one broken arm each and the expedition leader Osamu Kunii had four ribs broken. Kunii also had a deep cut across his belly by the friction of the rope showing his intestines. The mountain took its toll and the expedition had to be abandoned.
Nazir lured his old time friend and one of the most accomplished Himalayan Climbers Doug Scott and his team to go on the same route of Nanga Parbat. Doug Scott , his son Michael, Aliester and Nazir free climbed and dashed to 7150m in a two day push from Base Camp at 3600. Doug got ill at the second bivouac around the same spot where they were swept with an avalanche in 1983 and had to abandon the Killer Mountain yet again.

Death of Nazir Sabir Brother

In 1980, Nazir Sabir lost his elder brother, who was buried under an ice avalanche while attempting Diran peak with an Army expedition along with Shaukat Nazir Hamdani and Rasheed while waiting out a bad weather spell in capm 3 . The Expedition was lead by the famous Brig TM.

Everest Expedition in May 2000

Nazir Sabir’s attempt on the Everest leading the first Pakistan Expedition of ten plus a film team in 1997 resulted in failure due to very strong winds blowing across the summit ridge from 8630m on his first attempt and again from above 8500m on his two other summit bids he had to return with his five colleagues due to strong blizzards.

But on 17 May 2000, climbing in the company of his Nepalese Sherpa team and a Canadian on a full moon night to avoid high winds he reached Everest summit at 0730 hours becoming the first from Pakistan to get to the roof of the world. He first paid tribute to his many dead friends on the higher ground of Everest including Scott Fischer, Rob Hall, Ube Akira, Kobayashi, Yasuo Kato, Futagami and many more who gave their lives in love of these eternal higher heavens.While waiting for Ben Webster of Canada and two other Sherpas he went on enjoying the most splendid moments of his life with his two Sherpa colleagues taking video shots of the magical surroundings against the backdrop of the much blessed early morning sun approaching from behind 8462m Makalu, 5th highest mountain in the world.He spoke to the base camp and sent the message of humbleness and happiness back home and to his closest friends who were watching his progress and counting steps up the last part of the mountain as he climbed through the clear night winds. He received hundreds of messages from across the country and the globe including that of Benazir Bhutto who was second to send in her congratulations from London where she lived at the time.

Political Career

As a reward for years of services rendered to the people of Hunza, Nazir was elected as their representative to the Northern Area Legislative Council in the October 1994 elections and appointed Advisor on Education and Tourism to the government. Campaigning for the Hunza seat in the 1994 elections for the Northern Area Assembly, for a five year term, he defeated his opponent from the traditional Mir of Hunza family with a wide margin. He was appointed as Advisor on Education and Tourism for the Northern Area. He has remained a member of the Northern Areas Legislative Council and Education Advisor of the administration of the Northern Areas of Pakistan.

Honours and as environmentalist

For his outstanding achievements he earned the prestigious President’s Award for Pride-of-Performance [1] in 1982 and was honored with The Sitara-i-Imtiaz (Star of Distinction) in 2001 for his outstanding performance in mountaineering sports. His latest honour is the Presidentship of the Alpine Club of Pakistan, to which he was elected unanimously on October 10, 2004 and again for another term in 2007. Presently he heads the Alpine Club of Pakistan, which trains and prepares men and women from all around Pakistan to become climbers. Nazir Sabir is currently working as an environmentalist on the conservation of Juniper forests with the mountaineer, caver and juniper defender Hayatullah Khan Durrani in Ziarat Balochistan the 5000 years old world heritage Juniper forests. He has also been raising his voice on environmental matters.

Business career

Apart from the adventure travel business which he is running under the name of "Nazir Sabir Expeditions" this despite his main business being a tour operator, he has been actively involved in promotion of tourism in Pakistan and has traveled extensively around the world lecturing on
the country’s cultural, historical and adventure potential.

International Events

On the invitation of UIAA/IUCN ( he participated in an Indo-Pak Peace Climb in the Swiss Alps in 2002, organized to focus attention on environmental degradation in the Siachen Glacier area due to the conflict between India and Pakistan.
He also attended the Int’l Congress on “Future of Mountain Sports” ( at Innsbruck (Austria) in 2002.
For over two decades he has been representing Pakistan and delivered lectures on the tourism potential of Pakistan at international forums and Alpine Clubs in USA, Australia, UK, Germany, Austria, Canada, Nepal, Tajikistan, and Japan. He was invited to be a jury member at the Banff International Film Festival Canada in 1996, at Vancouver International Mountain Film Festival (VIMFF) in 2002, Bratislava Film Festival in 2002, and as chief guest at the Kathmandu Film Festival in 2006. He also participated in Int’l Film Festivals at Trento (Italy).[citation needed]
As a photojournalist and naturalist Nazir has a collection of over 5000 slides of mountains and the culture surrounding them and he goes around doing promotional slide talks at different platforms around the globe.


Kathryn/ said...

I am very fortunate to have met Nazir Sabir who was extremely kind in helping me and the readers of my blog to distribute over 100 handmade scarves to young girls in Askole village. Nazir Sabir is an exceptional human being and we are indebted to his generous spirt and kind heart.

karim said...

Thank you very much for your warm words. We appreciate you services for the people of Askoli in Skardu.