Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Scaling of K-2 commemorative stamps

Scaling of K-2Celebrating 50 years of scaling of K-2

Dubbed the "Savage Mountain," K2 in the Himalayas is Earth’s second-highest peak and among the top three hardest climb in the world. With a 8,611-meter (28,250-foot) summit and surrounding weather that is significantly colder and less predictable than on Everest, reaching the top of K2 and coming down alive is every veteran mountaineers dream.

K is for Karakorum and K2 was first scale on July 31, in 1954 by two Italians Lino Lacedelli and Achille Compagnoni. Since then, there have been around 240 summits (compared with approximately 2000 on Everest). Fifty six climbers have died on K2, twenty-two while descending from the summit. In terms of the overall summit/fatality rate of 23%, it is the third most deadly mountain in the world. Only Nanga Parbat and Annapurna are deadlier. K2s statistics for female climbers are particularly dramatic. Some even say K2 is "cursed" for women. Six women have reached the top, but of those 6, three died on the descent. (2 have since died on other 8,000-meter peaks.)

The Pakistan post issued a commemorative stamp in 1954 to celebrate the maiden achievement by the Italians as shown above (left). 50 years later, the golden jubilee of this historic event was once again celebrated in Pakistan and Italy besides among other mountaineers across the globe. Pakistan Post once again issued a commemorative stamp befitting the occasion (above right).

The 50th anniversary events, which took place mainly between July 30 and August 1, included a scientific-mountaineering expedition on K-2, the honorary leader of which was Minister Alemanno, the inauguration of a K-2 museum in Skardu donated by Italy, the issuing of a K-2 postal stamp by the Government of Pakistan and an Italian-Pakistan polo match During the celebrations, six Pakistani porters were drowned in a river while an Italian expedition was attempting the K-2. To attend the celebrations, 78-year old Lino Lacedelli came to Pakistan and went to Skardu “to say hello and goodbye to the king of mountains”. Lacedelli was accompanied by a 24-member team who held a ceremony at base camp on July 15. Compagnoni, then 89, living in Italy could not attend the ceremony due to poor health.

Related reading:
K-2 The Savage Mountain (Pakistanpaedia)

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