The British High Commission held a reception in the federal capital to recognize the incredible achievement of the ten Nepalese climbers who became the first-ever expedition in winter to reach the summit of Pakistan’s K2, the world’s second-highest mountain at 8,611 meters (28,251 feet).
The achievement comes in a year when the UK is hosting the UN’s climate change conference, COP26, in November 2021, and the reception was told that the UK will be using its presidency to ensure the priorities of the most vulnerable are acted on.
The reception included senior representatives from the Government of Pakistan, the Deputy Ambassador of Nepal, the Canadian High Commissioner, the EU Ambassador, media, climate change and the mountaineering community.
The Nepalese team made their historic ascent on Saturday 16th January. The climbing team included Nirmal Purja, MBE who had a distinguished 16-year military career, of which he spent 6 years as a Ghurka and 10 years with the UK Special Forces. In 2009 he became the first ever Gurkha to join the UK Special Boat Service (SBS).
Nirmal Purja MBE from the climbing team said on the occasion, “The whole team is extremely happy to have summited the hardest, last and greatest mountaineering feat. We’re very humbled that we have received such a welcoming and grand reception from everyone here in Pakistan. We’re grateful that the British High Commission reached out to join in our celebration of this successful summit.”
The British High Commissioner, Dr Christian Turner, CMG, also expressed his views on the occasion and congratulated the Nepalese team for making a seemingly impossible task possible. “The extraordinary achievement of the Nepalese climbers has shone a spotlight on Pakistan’s outstanding natural beauty – and how fragile it is due to climate change,” said the UK High Commissioner. He said, “The UK is a world leader in tackling climate change and as the climbers have shown, we can conquer and move mountains, if we work together.”