Nanga Parbat – The Killer Mountain | Why Nanga Parbat called Killer Mountain

Nanga Parbat is a Sanskrit word, which means ‘The Naked Mountain,’ however, it is nicknamed “The Killer Mountain.” It is named so because it is difficult to climb, and a high rate of deaths has resulted while ascending it. Furthermore, It is the third-most dangerous mountain range that races with K2 while considering practical hardships. Climbing the Nanga Parbat is challenging even under the usual summer seasons with low temperatures and extremely high winds.

The King of Mountains

Nanga Parbat is known as Diamer (King of Mountains) or Deo Mir (Deo meaning Huge and Mir as Mountain) by the locals. It is amongst the 14 eight-thousands of the world and is now one of the most challenging mountains to climb.

Location of The Killer Mountain

Nanga Parbat Location
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The Himalayas are large cliffs spread over Nepal, Bhutan, Sikkim, and Pakistan. It is the Western anchor of the Himalayas and is the second-highest peak in Pakistan, after K2, while the ninth-highest in the world. It is situated in the Gilgit-Baltistan Region of Pakistan. Additionally, the Indus River covers the area around Nanga Parbat.

Base Camp of Nanga Parbat

The South Face of Nanga Parbat ranges more than 4km beyond the base camp and is the largest on earth. A trek to the base camp has been an adventure and a famous destination for mountaineers and trekkers. The base camp is four hours away from the Fairy Meadows, and anyone can reach there easily.

Pakistan’s Tourism and The Killer Mountain

Hunza Valley and Nanga Parbat are amongst the top tourist destinations in Pakistan. Tourists frequently visit the Its viewpoint because of its magnificent beauty. When planning a tour to the Northern areas of Pakistan, visitors highly prioritize Fairy Meadows as one of their destinations as the beautiful Mountain is visible from its foothills. Foreigners and locals of Pakistan frequently visit Norther areas for their alluring beauty. Their visits help Pakistan in generating revenue from its tourism industry.

However, unfortunately, the Northern areas are undeveloped to attract more people. Many accidents frequently take place, keeping some people away from visiting it. Also, the poor infrastructure leading to Northern areas bound people from touring the lovely mountain ranges. Though there is a development of airports, due to weather conditions, many flights cancel.

Nanga Parbat and the formation of Indus River

Nanga Parbat is known for calamities and disasters. In 1841, a giant rock from this mountain blocked the Indus River. As a result, a gigantic lake appeared that was 55 km long. When the dam broke, the river level rose because of the flood of water at Attock that brushed away a complete Sikh army. Likewise, many more tragedies have taken place in Hunza as well.

Faces of Nanga Parbat-The Killer Mountain

There are three faces of Nanga Parbat. The West Face, Diamir, is to date the most common face that the teams have attempted to climb. While, a minority of people tried to ascend the Rupal, South Face. Hikers have periodically made efforts to trek the North Face, Rakhiot, over the decades.

The Rupal (South) Face

Rupal Face
Rupal Face

Very few people attempt to climb the South Face of The Killer Mountain. It is a very steep wall of ice and rock. Also, it is now known as the “Highest Ice and Rock Wall” in the world. It rises 4,600m (15,090 ft) above the base camp. Thus, there have been just five climbs so far.

The Diamir (West) Face

Nanga Parbat face from Diamir
Diamir Face

It is the most famous and reachable face of the three, which the climbers have ascended. It is also assumed to be the safest and easiest way to climb Nanga Parbat. Therefore, it is highly the most common and usual route.

The Rakhiot (North) Face

Rakhiot Face
Rakhiot Face

Climbers have repeatedly attempted to ascend to Nanga Parbat through the North face having two routes. It rises 7,070m (23,196 ft) above the Indus Valley and has giant rock ridges, steep ice walls, and hanging glaciers. It is equally terrifying as the South, Rupal face.

Early Efforts to Ascend to the Killer Mountain

“Every mountain top is within reach if you just keep climbing.”

Albert Frederick Mummery and his team made the first attempt to ascend to the top of Nanga Parbat in 1895. Mummery is ‘One of the greatest alpinists of all time.’ Mummery and his companions reached an altitude of 6,100m (20,000 ft) on the Diamir Face. However, two Gurkha fellows and Mummery died while making a military survey on the Rakhiot Face.

The Mummery Spur or the Mummery Rib

Mummery Spur - The Suicide Way
Mummery Spur – The Suicide Way

Mummery Spur, also widely known as Mummery Rib, is a lovely, however, suicidal route. It is the route that is hit by avalanches continuously. It is dangerous due to porter strikes, altitude sickness, and bad weather. People call it the Mummery Spur after Albert F. Mummery. He was the one who died on his expedition to climb Nanga Parbat.

This route rises beyond the Diamir Glacier, covered with rocks and ice. People call this route suicidal, impossible, and full of dangers leading to nowhere. Hence, all the attempts have been unsuccessful through this route.

The First Successful Attempt to climb

“The best view comes after the hardest climb.”

Before the first successful climb, more than 30 people died in an attempt to reach the top of Nanga Parbat. The very first successful and unbelievable attempt was in July 1953. The heroic Hermann Buhl was the one to complete it. He was a German-Austrian alpinist who reached the peak of Nanga Parbat through the Rakhiot (North) Face.

After his fellows had turned back, Buhl continued alone for the last 1,300m (4,300ft). He finally reached the peak at 7 pm, which was very late than his expectation. Buhl also lost his crampon, resulting in a slowed-down descent. He temporarily camped without tents on the snow, standing straight. However, Buhl succeeded in maintaining his balance. Fortunately, the night passed out calmly without chill winds, and finally, he reached his camp the next day at 7 pm. He was the first man to ascend to Nanga Parbat alone, without the aid of oxygen.

The First Successful Winter Climb

The harsh weather conditions, low temperatures, and high risks of avalanches make the mountains more difficult to climb in winters than in the post-monsoon season in April and May. Numerous mountaineers died during their climb, and many of the dead bodies were also found in the mountains after they went missing.

More than 30 teams tried to climb during the winter season before the first successful winter climb took place on 26th February 2016. Simone Moro from Italy, Ali Sadpara of Pakistan, and Alex Txikon from Spain were the first people to succeed in ascending to the Killer Mountain of Pakistan.

Some Quick Facts about Nanga Parbat – The Killer Mountain

  • Ninthhighest Peak in the World
  • Height: 8,125m (26,660 ft)
  • Location: Gilgit-Baltistan, Pakistan
  • Parent Range: Himalayas
  • First Ascent: 3rd July 1953
  • First Successful Climber: Hermann Buhl
  • First Woman to climb: Lilliane Barrard
  • Easiest Route: Western Diamer District
  • Nickname: Killer Mountain
  • Local name: Diamer (King of Mountains)
  • Number of Faces: 3
  • Before the successful ascent, over 30 people died.
  • Ninth-highest in the World
  • One of the most dangerous and difficult mountains to climb.
  • The Nanga Parbat Range covers an area of 19-39 km in width and 190 km in length.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Why is Nanga Parbat called The Killer Mountain?

Nanga Parbat is one of the 14 eight-thousanders that are the highest peaks in the world. It is an intense giant peak rising beyond 8,000m. It is hard to climb, and many mountaineers have died while trying to conquer it. It has a death rate of more than 22%. Thus, people call it “The Killer Mountain.”

Is Nanga Parbat in India or Pakistan?

Nanga Parbat is in the Diamir District of Gilgit-Baltistan in Pakistan, between Astore and Chilas. Unlike other mountain ranges, it stands unaccompanied. It is one of the most dangerous mountain peaks.

Which mountain kills most climbers?

The highest mountain in the world, Mount Everest, attracts several backpackers and mountaineers each year. It is one of the most climbed peaks, and it has a fatality rate of more than 29%. Each year many climbers attempt to reach the top of Mount Everest.

Summing it up – Conclusion

Many people call Gilgit-Baltistan ‘Heaven on Earth.’ Several sightseers every year visit the Northern areas of Pakistan. Visitors enjoy the atmosphere and find the places relaxing and peaceful. Besides nature lovers, other people also come to Pakistan, such as photographers, climbers, hikers, trekkers, geologists, etc.

Five of the 14 highest eight-thousanders are in the Gilgit-Baltistan region of Pakistan. Nanga Parbat is the ninth-highest peak on earth. Although it is easy to reach Nanga Parbat, it is very challenging to climb it. It is one of the deadliest and most dangerous mountains due to unstable weather conditions, frequent avalanches and storms, and unpredictable glaciers. Therefore, people call it ‘The Killer Mountain,’ however highly known as Diamir.

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