Chogori, K2: The king in the north
During this survey he saw in the far distance a mighty and conspicuous mountain in the direction of the Karakorams and immediately named it K1 (‘K’ for Karakorams).
Later on, it turned out to be the beautiful mountain of Hushe valley in Khaplu area of Baltistan, called Masherbrum by the inhabitants of Hushe valley. He also saw another tall and dominating summit behind K1 and named it K2, which turned out to be “Chogori”. Hence the peak of K2 was discovered by the outside world.
He reportedly remained an unofficial political adviser to Gulab Singh, the then Maharaja of Kashmir.
After Gulab Singh’s death in 1857, Montgomerie continued his survey work as he carried the same influence with Maharaja Ranjit Singh, the successor of Gulab Singh.
Montgomerie trained many locals in surveying who later helped the British government in achieving its political purposes in Kashmir and what we now call the Northern Areas of Pakistan.
The old record further shows that in 1860, Captain H.H. Godwin-Austen of the Survey of India and an officer in the 24th Foot Battalion, went to Baltistan and surveyed the famous Shigar and Saltoro valleys.
Death in the clouds
K2 is also known as ‘the Killer Mountain’, and it’s a deserved title. One in four of those who have attempted to scale this peak have lost their lives in the process. Fifty six climbers have died on K2, 22 while descending from the summit. The overall summit/fatality rate of 27pc gives K2 the highest summit-to-fatality ratio of all the 8,000-metre peaks. After all, it is probably the most difficult of the 14 8,000-metre peaks to summit. To conquer this holy grail of mountaineering you have to be physically fit, adept at climbing, able to surmount severe and unpredictable weather conditions as well as risking the ever-present danger of avalanche. Continue reading……..