I guess it’s a classic win-win situation. The Nepalese expedition operator “Seven Summit Treks” benefits from the fact that Pakistan’s top climber Muhammad Ali “Sadpara” strengthens their rope fixing team on the 8,485-meter-high Makalu. And the 43-year-old thus gets the chance to scale the fifth highest mountain on earth in Nepal. The climber is financially supported in this project by the Pakistan Army. For Muhammad, who has been in Nepal since Wednesday, this is the second attempt on Makalu. In spring 2016, he had to turn around 150 meters below the summit in bad weather. At that time he had worked as a mountain guide for the Brazil-born American Cleo Weidlich.
Winter first ascender of the Nanga Parbat
Muhammad Ali has climbed all five eight-thousanders of his homeland Pakistan. He became world famous in February 2016, when he succeeded along with the Italian Simone Moro and the Spaniard Alex Txikon the prestigious first winter ascent of the 8,125-meter-high Nanga Parbat (the South Tyrolean Tamara Lunger had to turn back 70 meters below the summit).
In winter 2017/18, he accompanied Txikon during his failed attempt on Mount Everest, Muhammad then climbed up to 7,700 meters. During the expedition he reached with the Spaniard the summit of Pumori (7,138 m). Last February, Ali joined the search for the two climbers Daniele Nardi and Tom Ballard who were missing on Nanga Parbat and were later discovered dead in the rocky terrain of the “Mummery Rib”.
On all five eight-thousanders of Pakistan
Muhammad was born in Sadpara village near the town of Skardu, the starting point for most expeditions in the Karakoram. In 2000, he began to work as porter in lower altitudes for foreign expeditions, as well as for the army that has stationed soldiers in the Karakoram because of the ongoing conflict with India over Kashmir. In 2004, he was hired for the first time as a high altitude porter by a Korean K2 expedition.
Ali scaled his first eight-thousander in 2006: Gasherbrum II (8,034 m), during an expedition of the German operator Amical alpin. In 2008 (again with Amical) and 2009, both times in summer, Muhammad was successful on Nanga Parbat, 2010 on Gasherbum I (8,080 m). In 2012 on Broad Peak, he reached the lower Central Peak (8,011 m), in 2017 also the Main Peak (8,051 m). In 2018, Ali completed his collection of the five Pakistani eight-thousanders by scaling K2 (8,611 m), the second highest mountain on earth.
“My passion, without which I cannot live ”
“My kids sometimes request me to give up this career. I tell them that it’s my passion and I cannot live without it,” Muhammad once said in an interview with explorersweb.com. “My friends sometimes blame that I am doing it for money. I tell them that if it was about getting rich, I would have been doing something safer, somewhere else.”
Update 28 April: Muhammad Ali has changed his plans. He now wants to climb Lhotse first and afterwards Makalu.