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Swiss, Czech climbers summit Trango Towers

Swiss, Czech climbers summit Trango Towers

ISLAMABAD: After a successful summit of the Trango Towers, the Swiss and Czech climbers who made the 6,000 meter trek said the mountains were farther,

taller and harder than they looked.

“It is a 6,000 meter vertical wall and very difficult to climb,” said Swiss alpinist Lorenz Frutiger, who is visiting Pakistan for the first time like his colleagues.

The climbers reached Islamabad Sunday morning after their successful climb and talked about their experiences.

The Trango Towers in Gilgit-Baltistan are one the largest and hardest cliffs in the world. According to the climbers, they are also one of the most spectacular, with rock walls soaring seemingly endlessly upward.

Several expeditions from around the world travel to Pakistan each year to attempt a climb up the difficult granite cliffs.

When they set out to climb the Towers, Loren Frutiger and his colleagues, Andreas Abegglen, and Lucas Desax said they thought they had a 50-50 chance of climbing to the top of the highest tower, which soars 6,286 meters.

“Trango Towers is worlds away from any of the 8,000 plus peaks,” Lorenz Frutiger told Dawn. He said he has been climbing for some 15 to 20 years.

Andreas Abegglen joined in and said: “The 8,000 meter mountains are steep walking and are not easy to climb. But the

Trango Towers are just vertical with plenty of overhanging at times.”

However, the climbers said, they never had a moment of fear.

“You cannot be afraid for your life. If you are, it means you have misjudged,” said Czech climber Jindrich Bednar.

Though Bednar and his partner Michal Plunder shared base camp with their Swiss counterparts and shared strategies, they climbed separate routes.

After five days of climbing the rock walls and sleeping on a ridge roughly 600 to 700 meters from the top, the two groups were delayed by bad weather for another five days before they could continue on their trek to summit.

“It was a great view from the top. The weather was perfect. We were tired and it was a lot of hard work. But we were lucky,” said Lorenz Frutiger.

“Pakistan is nothing like the negative news we watch on our TV screens back home. The food, people and the natural environment are incomparable,” he added.

Published in Dawn, August 8th, 2016

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