Meet Fazal Ali, the only man who has scaled K2 three times, but this heroes achievements have gone largely unrecognized.
He is not the only one whose unique efforts have been muted by the media and people of their own country. His fellow porters, who risk their lives to explore Pakistan’s highest peaks, face the same dilemma.
Fazal is among the few elite porters with distant achievements. The 40-years old is an expert in high-altitude expeditions. He has spent nearly two decades on these mountains. Plotting routes, lugging kit and cooking for paying clients, Fazal is an under-appreciated asset for the country.
K2, at its 8,611 metres, isn’t as high as Mount Everest (8,848 metres), but its savagery and technical difficulties have earned it the name of “the Savage Mountain” – as many have lost their lives exploring the icy peaks.
But Fazal Ali has conquered all these, in his love for the mountains. He conquered K2 in the year 2014, 2017 and 2018 without any additional oxygen. He is the only man with this achievement.
“He is the only climber with this achievement,” said Eberhard Jurgalski from Guinness World Records.
Though we continue to celebrate the foreign climbers, Fazal and his colleagues are often overlooked not only by their own people but also in the mountaineering community.
“I am happy. But I am also heartbroken because my feat will never be truly appreciated” – said Ali talking to AFP.
He says that when the climbers arrive, they are full of goodwill and make big promises. But when they have achieved their goal, the porters are forgotten. He narrated one particular bitter incident that broke his heart.
Fazal Ali arrived at the summit of K2 with a WesteMountaineereer, but rather than taking a picture together, she posed alone with a flag in her hand.
“She ordered us to take a picture and stay at a distance” – he said.
It is indeed heartbreaking to see how the talent and such unusual achievements are overlooked – but it doesn’t dim down Fazal Ali or his love for the mountains.
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