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9 December 2001


Qudrat is a skilled mountaineer and his profession is the entire focus of this interview. He talks about how he became involved in climbing, and about the various major peaks he has climbed, and the risks they involved. He is evidently proud of his mountaineering achievements – not only did he prepare the route for an expedition of 13 members allowing them to climb G-2 (Gashebrum 2) but he has also defeated the “Killer Mountain” of Nanga Parbat (second highest mountain in Pakistan, ninth highest in the world, 8,125 metres). He describes his feelings on reaching Nanga Parbat’s summit: “my own feeling was that I am going back with pride that as a Pakistani I have placed my dear country’s flag on the top, and my name will be in the history forever… I never felt as happy on other mountains as [I did] on Nanga Parbat. And the reason is that its scene is very beautiful.” Following this successful climb he was invited to represent the Alpine Club of Pakistan in 2002 – the International Year of Mountains.

He feels there should be more opportunities for young Shimshalis to take up the profession and speaks of the need to establish a training centre in the village: “it is very important… Because all the climbers who are famous at the national and international level are all from Shimshal.” He also talks of the need to promote tourism as well as mountaineering. He feels that both are important to bring money into the country and to provide incomes and employment for the local population.

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Section 1-2  Interviewer gives a detailed description of the narrator’s room before introducing the narrator. Narrator received secondary education in Gilgit. At that time “there was not a trend towards education.” Unable to complete his studies in Gilgit as he had not been prepared because schooling in Shimshal “was of a very low level” and “we were not able to give our tuition fee on time.” After finishing his studies he was unemployed and that prompted him to start a career in mountaineering and tourism. Recalls his early training: “Paul Hudson was the person from whom I learned the techniques of climbing mountains…As you are well aware, mountaineering is not a simple game to play. It is very risky and you can say that there is a competition between life and death.”
Section 3  With the exception of the Alpine Club no Pakistani has climbed a mountain in Pakistan “Because the Pakistanis are not able to pay the royalties which are given to the government for mountains by foreign climbers.” They organised their own expedition to climb Shapkinesar “on a self-help basis”. In 1997 “Adventure Tours of Pakistan” sent him for training with Rod Demovits: “Rod was inspired by my services, and he said that due to your hard work and cooperation I would prefer in future that you will be with me in 1999 to climb G-2.”
Section 4  His feelings on reaching his first major peak: “In this profession no one can think of happiness and excitement, because when you are climbing a mountain, it means you are competing between life and death…” The risks involved: “Weather and health both play a very important role during mountaineering. If the weather changes then you have to decide in a second to go back and the decision within a second wastes all your efforts.” There is also the danger of altitude sickness. Climbing G-2: it was reported in the news that we were “the only Pakistanis who prepared the way for 13 expeditions.”
Section 5-6  In 2000 “I got the best and golden opportunity and was selected for the mountain called ‘Killer Mountain’ (Nanga Parbat).” Describes the route they took and how they had to take their rest “bent on the rope continuously for eight hours with no possibility of sitting down”. Dangers of avalanches. Feelings of pride on reaching the summit. Before placing the Pakistan flag he placed the Aga Khan’s flag: “his name and his flag is with us in each and every step of life.” The happiness he felt on the mountain: “the flower called banafsha has decorated the whole mountain. I was really inspired by its beauty.” Celebrations by the people of Chilas at base camp: “It is their culture to express their happiness in the form of firing bullets…”
Section 7-8  Membership of Alpine Club. Financial constraints on Pakistani mountaineering: “you can say the financial condition plays a vital role in this game”. Mountaineering also brings in money from abroad: “due to this profession Pakistan is getting funds and many people are getting employment opportunities.” The potential for more people to become climbers: “Shimshal is a place where most of the people could be mountaineers… It needs physical fitness; you have to know that altitude sickness will not affect you.” The need to establish a training centre in Shimshal. Mentions some other climbers from Shimshal who have been successful.
Section 9  Economic opportunities: “It provides an opportunity for our local people to get ways of earning… If we now advertise the area then it is possible that new ways will open in this sector in the future for our local people. And I think it is the main source of employment in our area.” Recommendations for future mountaineers: “whether it is the field of education or mountaineering, it is very important to work hard… it is a dangerous or risky game, and one needs to work with confidence.” In the future there will be competition with outsiders.
Section 10  Compares rock climbing and mountain climbing.