Multiple news agencies and climbers posting dispatches are reporting that at least 11 climbers have been murdered at the Base Camp for Nanga Parbat (26, 660’/8,126 m) in Northern Pakistan.
It was reported that the killers kidnapped two Pakistani guides to lead them to the camp at Fairy Meadows. Impersonating police over a dozen armed men stormed the tents at Base Camp around 10 PM on Saturday June 2. They tied up the climbers, took their valuables before shooting the foreigners plus one Pakistani.
UPDATE: The dead include three Ukrainians, two Chinese, two Slovakians, one Chinese-American, one Lithuanian, one Pakistani, and one Nepali – Sona Sherpa (35) of Chheskam Solukhumbu. There are conflicting reports on the total number of dead.
A spokesperson for a local branch of the Pakistani Taliban claimed responsibility saying the killings were to avenge the death of a leader killed in a drone strike.
The Pakistani police had moved into the Nanga Parbart area to take control. It has been shut off to foreigners. This report from Gripped said Canadians Ian Welsted and Raphael Slawinski along with American Jesse Huey on expedition in the area were turned back while traveling on a bus on the Karakorum Highway.
More than 50 climbers are still on the mountain, including eight Sherpa who were above Base Camp establishing high camps. In addition, teams are on the other side of the mountain climbing the Rupal Face.
Thus far there are no reports of any incidents on the other Pakistani mountains including K2, Gasherbrum or Broad Peak. Many teams were already at those mountains but some were still traveling within Pakistan. Teams include: 45 on Broad Peak; 50 on Nanga Parbat; 21 on K2; and 20++ on Gasherbrum I/II
The area where the murders occurred, the Diamer district of Gilgit-Baltistan, is extremely remote and takes days of travel to reach. It had been considered safe for climbers.
When I climbed in the area in 2006 (Broad Peak/K2), there were Pakistani military patrolling the area. We had a member of the military with us as a liaison officer. It has been reported that there was no similar security in place at Fairy Meadows which is about 200 miles north of Islamabad and 100 miles West of K2.
My condolences to the families of the dead.
Memories are Everything