Murders at Nanga Parbat Base Camp

Nanga Parbat

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.

Climb On!
Memories are Everything

Comments on/from Facebook

Share this post:

21 thoughts on “Murders at Nanga Parbat Base Camp

  1. Sadly, this will affect the Balti people more than anyone, Their livelihoold depends upon the trekkers and climbers. The Taliban just shot their own folks, in essence. The Balti people describe the Taliban as “undeducated” murderers. I grieve for the families of the climbers and the Balti as well. It might be wise for the Gilgit Balti commission to discontinue publishing the names of climbers headed to the Karakoram in the future. As one of the few Americans in the Karakoram at the time, I was on edge for the duration of our stay as a result of having seen our names all over the internet on expedition lists.

  2. Have only just read the post re the murders on Nanga Parbat and found it hard to believe. The words climbing and murder just don’t fit together at all. I hope this isn’t the start of a series of attacks on base camps which are such easy pickings being remote and unguarded.Cheers Kate

  3. As if the risks weren’t high enough on the mountain, the last thing a mountaineer needs is such mindless madness…..what a tragedy….

  4. It is barbaric ,shocking , and in human and Taliban is known for inhumanism . My condolance to their family and friends . We have to protest against such inhuman act and cmpelled Pak Government to act .

  5. Hi Alan, I was part of the Nanga Parbat International team. I quitted the expedition early saturday morning (0530), trekked down for almost 6 hours, a 2hrs30 jeep ride in the mountain to Chilas and then a 14hrs car ride thru the mountain to Islamabad. A 23 hours non stop in order to catch a plane on sunday. In this brutal killing, I lost my climbing partner for K2 (Ernestas from Lituania) and all other dead climbers who became friends during this ascent of Nanga. RIP and sympathies to their families and friends.

    1. Great that you got up. Really feel sad for your climbing partner and others, and their loved ones.

  6. Arrgh! Not good at all. I’m very saddened for those climbers and their families. Please let this be an isolated incident and not a glimpse of things to come. Mountaineering has enough risk without adding military/political agenda risk factors.


  7. Alan, it’s a shame when innocent victims become targets in any military actions. We take enough risks as mountaineers (and try to manage them as best we can); however preventing this type of incident really would have required military guard/support. It will be a shame if future expeditions had to secure military support to prevent this from happening — it almost seems counterintuitive as to why many of us out the mountains in the first place. Thank you for the update which I certainly hope doesn’t become a trend in mountaineering in the future. For the most part, it had seemed mountaineers were spared participation in international political/terrorist/war activities — but no longer. My condolences to the families of those who were murdered and I’m wishing safe passage for any other climbers in areas of political/military unrest.

  8. OMG, I heard the reports but had no idea the folks were climbers. Senseless.

  9. I am saddened and appalled that something so pure as climbing could be drawn into political violence. I am very disappointed in the human race.

  10. Alan this is so horrible! It states in the article in was a “revenge for a drone attack.” Wonder who sent the drone? Heart breaking.

Comments are closed.