July / August  2006




August/September Contents 

 Sufis - wisdom against

 Sufi poet saints

 50 years of mountain

 Interviews with:
 Ajaz Anwar
Iqbal Hussain
Kamil Mumtaz

 Heritage cities:
 Taxila Dharmrajika
 Bhera - Part I
Bhera - Part II


Cotton - the fibre of

Cotton textiles of
 South Asia

 Handlooms & Dyes

 Hiran Minar


 Lahore Gymkhana

 B2B - Part I

B2B - Part II

Optical Networks I
Optical Networks II

Role of Internet in
 S Asian development

Technology and
 investment in US
 stock markets

Security & Trust in
 Internet banking

 Telecom & software
 - trends & future in
 South Asia

China & India - major
 players by 2025

Pakistan - IT Markets
Part I
Part II
Part III
Part IV








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 50 years of Climbing – Everest, K2, & Nanga Parbat


Salman S. Minhas: Information Engineers, Lahore, Pakistan 



"If the world's leaders could spend a few days climbing a mountain together, then things would go better.”     -Reinhold Messner – Interview Ed Douglas, Sunday March 30, 2003 the Observer


Background & Introduction


Sacred Mountains & God’s Thrones

Mt. Kailash in Tibet


Mt. Olympus [ 2917 meters ] in north Greece was considered by Greek mythology as the house of the Greek Gods [ Zeus- ruler of all gods, his wife Hera ,  Apollo, Athena, Aphrodite, Hermes, Artemis, etc ]. Since 2000 B.C. Mt.Kailash [22K feet] located in Tibet, has been considered by Hindus, Buddhists and Jains to be the home of Shiva.  About 1000 pilgrims each year go there on foot from India. It is considered a sort of a cosmological center / energy field.   Not far from Mt. Kailash are two pristine turquoise blue lakes. One is called  Mansarovar [ meaning “perpetually invincible” and  the soul of Brahma] and the second is called Rakhshas[ Ghost Lake] . The area within the nearby 100 kilometers is the origin / source of 4 rivers including the Indus, Sutlej, Brahmaputra, & Karnili / Ganges. [The four sources, each in the shape of a horse, lion, elephant and peacock, have given names to the four famous rivers in the Ngari area].

Mountains in the Himalayas are also named after religious icons – for Tibetans the Everest is “ Chomolungma “ or Mother Goddess of the Universe & for the Nepalese Buddhists, Everest is “ SagarMatha“ or Mother of the Ocean (perhaps a reference to the origin of the Himalayan range from the Tethys Sea). Similarly the others Himalayan 800+ peaks have names related to Goddesses. Annapurna  means the Goddess of Harvest and Bounty. The name Nanda Devi means “Blessed Goddess.” At 25,645 feet the monastery of Tengboche near the first Base camp of Mt.Everest is known for bestowing blessings to all Everest climbers. The word Karakoram means black rock; in Turkish, Karakoram means “crumbling rock” or scree.  Himalayas in Sanskrit means the abode of snow.

Jamling Norgay, the son of first Everester Sherpa Tenzing Norgay (Tenzing and  Hillary were the first to scale the Everest in May, 1953),  once said in an interview:

   "You know…we look on the mountains as sacred, and to this day some of the Himalayas remain off limits to us. They are such holy mountains that to climb them would be wrong……………for many of us - especially on Everest - mountain-climbing has become our livelihood. But we go to the mountain with respect. We know that Chomolungma lives there, and so prayer and ceremony must precede any attempt to climb the mountain…We place prayer flags wherever we go (on these treks). Chomolungma, the maiden of the wind and mother goddess of the world, lives on Everest, and our prayers are to her by the wind horse. The flags blowing in the wind are the sound of our prayers, our communication with the goddess. In prayer, we learn the respect with which we must approach the mountain. The deities can be defiled by people who abuse the mountain, who pollute it with garbage or try to climb it without showing proper respect. Ignorant people sometimes climb mountains; they climb only as an expression of ego. It is very important that climbers respect the mountain and the people who live there."

Mountains are revered in monotheistic religions as well – Mount Sinai & Moses Ten Commandments, Noah’s Ark & Mt. Ararat, the Hills of Safa & Marwa in Mecca where Hazrat Hajira’s desperate search for water in the desert for her child started a spring [aab-e-zum zum] which pilgrims drink to this day.


In 1986, the American Climber Galen Rowell [ he and his wife died in a plane crash in USA in 2002]   referred to the area at Concordia in the Karakorams as “ The Throne Room of the Mountain Gods” and wrote a fine book with the same title .


Of Men & Mountains – Explorers, Surveyors & Early History [500 BC – AD 1800]  

K2 was the name given by a British colonel T.G. Montgomery in 1856, who was carrying out a trignometric survey of the area. He named the peaks in the order he saw them, K1, K2, K3, etc. The K stands for Karakoram.  Only K2 retains its name. The rest are called by their local names.  K2 [8,611 meters] was climbed by the Italians Lino Lavedelli [aged 29] and Achille Compagnoni [aged 39] on July 31, 1954 after a century of exploration.

The word “discovery” is now a fuzzy word at best, after it has been confirmed that the Vikings and the Indians crossed the North Atlantic and Bering Straits. The Arabs and the Chinese traded with India using sea routes to Cochin exploiting nature’s trade winds as far back as the year AD1000 - AD1500. Central Asia was famous for its “Silk Route”. The areas around the Karakorams have plenty of evidence that the current Karakoram Highway uses pretty much the same route as one of the many arms of the Great “Silk Route”.   

In any case in 1856, British surveyor Captain T.G. Montgomery of the Great Trignometric Survey of India sighted the cluster of peaks from about 100 + miles away and entered them as K1, K2, K3, K4, the K standing for the Karakoram Range. The modern day documentation and map making had begun. This was a requirement of the

Paiyu which is a camping spot en route to Concordia was used by Balti herdsmen who must have been the first to spot K2, according to Galen Rowell, the American climber [ G.Rowell –“In the Throne Room of the Mountain God’s” ].  Rowell believed that Mustagh La [Pass] was in use as he mentions evidence of a Polo Ground [160 feet by 800feet] at the village of Sharagan near the Mustagh Glacier.

Sir Francis Younghusband, a noted soldier and adventure traveler, also in 1887, crossed the Gobi desert from Peking and entered India by crossing Mustagh La Pass [Mustagh means ice-tower in Balti]. It was during this journey that he saw K2.

Later in 1909, the Italians came to the Karakorams in the form of a great expedition with almost 250 porters. The Duke of Abruzzi arrived along with the famous photographer Vittorio Sella. Sella’s travels took him on expeditions to the Caucasus starting in 1889 to Alaska -1897, to Sikkim & Nepal -1899, to the Ruwenzori in Africa-1906, and to the Karakorams and Western Himalayas-1909. Sella’s seminal book on the Karakorams was called:  

Vittorio Sella's Photography of Concordia

“Summit” : Vittorio Sella : Mountaineer and Photographer : The Years 1879-1909 by Vittorio Sella, Paul Kallmes, Wendy Watson, Fondazione Sella, Mount Holyoke College Art Museum, Gallery of the New York School of Interior Design, Whyte Museum of the Canadian Rockies, New York School of Interior design , Ansel E. Adams : publisher - Aperture.

“Summit” was prefaced by Ansel Adams, who considered him the greatest mountain photographer.  In 1946, Ansel Adams wrote in the Sierra Club Bulletin: "The memory of Vittorio Sella is closely embraced by the moods of the world's great mountains, many of which are known to us chiefly through the beautiful imagery of his lens. Mighty K2, shrouded in gray plumes of the Monsoon, these are revealed in all their sheer majesty in Sella's masterful photographs."  

Nanga Parbat - the Killer Mountain

K2 - the most difficult mountain to climb

Mt. Everest & the Sherpas

Women on Nanga Parbat, K2, and Mt.Everest

Pakistan's Hunza and Balti climbers

Ecological Nightmare on Big Tops & Conclusion




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