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2. Nanga Parbat (8125 M).
The westernmost peak of the Himalayas is Nanga Parbat (8125m), the ninth highest
mountain in world ranking and second in Pakistan. From the arid Indus Valley the
view of its massive vast snowy face is a glorious spectacle. Apart from the highest
8125m Nanga Parbat in the massif, there are several other prominent peaks such
as Raikot, Chongra, Mazino, Buldar, Ganato and Jilipur.
Nanga Parbat has three main faces known as Rupal, Diamer and Raikot, which are
totally different in appearance and their routes start from different valleys. Trupal
Face is in Astore region of Diamer and known as the highest rock face of 4570m.
The Diamer Face is known for its most direct route and is famous among alpinists.
The Raikot Face at the head of Fairly Meadows, one of the most beautiful places on
earth, has the longest route from base to peak.
Though the approach routes to the base camps of Nanga Parbat are easy and
scenic but the climb is treacherous and technical. Unstable glaciers, frequent storms
and avalanches have proved hazardous. Due to the highest rate of accidents and
number of causalities while making early attempts on this peak, the peak got the
name of "Killer Mountain and was considered as un-climbable for a long period. This
idea was also supported by the local legends about demons and fairies guarding the
mountain. Unfortunately, the name of Killer Mountain was associated with Nanga
Parbat but in fact this is one of the most spectacular peaks in the world, popular
among climbers and trekkers alike.
It was in 1856 when Adolf Schlagintweit reached at the foot of Nanga Parbat and
sent his reports with sketches and Nanga Parbat came in lime light in Europe. Later
on in 1892, W. Martin Conway visited the Nanga Parbat region during his
Karakoram Expedition and announced that Railkot Face is supposedly the best
possible to make a summit bid. In 1895 a British mountaineer Albert Frederick
Mummery along with other climbers made the first attempt to climb Nanga Parbat.
Mummery and his Gorkha porter Raghobir started climbing from Rupal side and
disappeared without any trace. In 1910, the mountain writer and publisher Walter
Schmidkunz advised that Nanga Parbad is best attempted from Raikot Valley. In
1934, German Himalayan Expedition led by Willie Merkl reached up to a height of
7850m. Merkl along with three climbers and six Sherpas perished in a blizzard.
Karlo Wien was the next victim of Nanga Parbat in 1937 when he was died in an
avalanche with seven other climbers and nine porters. In 1938 Paul Bauer made a
concrete attempt with a good climbing team but reached up to 7300m only. In 1939,
a reconnaissance expedition led by Peter Aufschnaiter made two attempts on
Diamer Face but bound to gain the maximum height of just 6000m. In 1950, a British
expedition made the first winter reconnaissance of Nanga Parbat but again the
unfortunate J. Thomley and W. Carce perished while climbing.
In initial reconnaissance, route finding and climbing attempts, the Germans made a
rich contribution and Nanga Parbat got the name as German Mountain (few other
names associated to this peak are Sleeping Beauty, Killer Mountain and Naked