Remembering Ali Sadpara: The Mountain Whisperer

What made the mountain whisperer a legend?

How often do you come across stories that seem to be right out of a movie? How common is it to witness dreams originating from the modest of places, but escalating onto the highest peaks of the world?

Mohammad Ali Sadpara is a name that has become synonymous to legendary. A humble human-being who never in his wildest would have thought how he would be remembered the world over for his bravery, his passionate drive and his beautiful and gentle heart.

a man who was committed to his passion-with fellow mountaineer and son

Ali, along with his two companions from Iceland and Chile, went missing on February 5 as they were summiting the second highest peak-K2 (located on the China–Pakistan border between Baltistan in the Gilgit-Baltistan region of northern Pakistan).

He was last seen by his son, trying to escalate the bottleneck phase of what is considered the world’s deadliest mountain. So far, search operations have given no results and with each passing day, the hope and urgency to see the brave mountaineers alive is starting to diminish. As was expressed by Muhammad Ali’s own son in a heartrending statement to the media. 21-year-old son Sajid Sadpara, was also part of the challenging winter expedition, had to return to the base camp due to a technical failure in his equipment. He said that it is highly unlikely that all the missing mountaineers will be found alive.

Truly a realization which breaks your heart into a thousand pieces, but then Sajid probably knows already how big a person and a hero of the greatest kind to this country, his father has already become.

From Humble Beginings

Born in 1976 in the village of Sadpara, he was always surrounded by the prospect of becoming a porter to Western mountaineers. That is how many around his village would find their bread.

However with Ali, it was more than just making ends meet. The mountains were always his true calling. Having the physique of an athlete and the patience to take on the greatest of trials with a smile on his face- his eagerness to start climbing in an early age was evident.

What made his expeditions as a tour operator successful was his willingness to give international climbers something more than they bargained for- stories of mountain magic. He would serenade them with his energy and pure zest of the elevated peaks. Soon enough he became a sensation and was successfully leading various summits, gaining him global attention and appreciation.

He also happened to be part of the first summit of ninth highest peak-Nanga Parbat in winter. Having climbed eight out of the 14 highest mountains, Ali was always ready to take on the impossible- he knew his own potential and always pushed to raise the bar.

After the successful winter summit of K2 by a Nepalese team of climbers, Ali decided to take it up a notch- he wanted to do without oxygen supply. And this time, his son was joining him too.

Accepting his fate to his passion

from an early age, he knew his destiny

The team had it all planned out and things were escalating smoothly till they reached the bottleneck- one of the deadliest spots on the savage mountain. And this is where Sajid had to turn back due to his oxygen malfunction. As the young boy made his way back to the base camp, he gave a quick glimpse towards his father’s direction- Ali continued forward as he always did.  Known to take on calculated risks and impressing his team as he would be the first to trek steep slopes, even breaking into a dance move, Ali found his muse on the mountain tops.

Having lost more than 10 of his colleagues to such a daring expedition, Ali said he is not afraid to die. It seems he had already made his affirmation on how it will happen for him. He was ready to own his destiny.

So far, extensive search, which includes the high-altitude of C-130 aircraft operation as well as locating the last known location of the climbers through satellite images, adapting infrared technology, has reared no hope. In a bittersweet statement, Sajid has told the media we might as well be looking for bodies now. There is little to no possibility that the mountaineers may have survived the harsh conditions for so many days.

Some experts have pointed it is likely that a tragic accident may have happened when they were descending, which brings the bittersweet assumption that Ali Sadpara and his team might have summitted the peak at 8,611 metres.

hoping for a miracle- Pakistan’s hero’s return seems unlikely

A man who committed his all to the pursuit of a passion only few would dare, Ali Sadpara is a legend. He has given Pakistan its highest accolade- representing bravery and humbleness with just the right touch of whimsical. That is how he will be remembered by those who were fortunate enough to have been in his presence.  For even in the coldest and harshest of environments, he would bring warmth with his special touch.