Khalil, on the right, with the chairman and another porter infront of K2 in Gilgit-Baltistan, Pakistan

Dear Erin,
Thank you very much for your quick reply. As you know that Pakistan is a beautiful country and people are peaceful and loving. specially Gilgit-Baltistan is heaven on earth. There are thousand peaks, glaciers, Plato and 4 peaks more then 8000m. (K2, GI, G-II, Broad Peak, Nangaparbat). Media in Pakistan and outside Pakistan showing only negative aspect and the embassies are advising there citizens to avoid visiting Pakistan, the media is not showing the parts of Pakistan which is most peaceful in world. So the people who never been Pakistan should visit Pakistan, specially Gilgit-Baltistan because “seeing is believing”. ..

We always remember you friends.

Ibrahim Khalil Nakjanpa

I’d like to introduce you to my friend and mountain guide, Khalil. Khalil was born in a village called Kanday which is nestled into Hushe Valley at the base of Masherbrum Mountain (7,821m, 24th highest in the world). In 1974 – one year before Khalil was born- the Hushe Valley was accessed from the north for the first time via the Masherbrum Pass. Khalil still lives in Kanday with his parents, Ahmed and Zura, his wife, and five children, who he talks about with a smile that is nearly as wide as Masherbrum is tall.

There will be many more things to say about Khalil, his family, the wonders and explorations of the Hushe valley – but what amazes me most about Khalil is that although he lives in a place as inaccessible to the world as the Hushe Valley, he has devoted himself to the education of the children of Kanday so that they can learn about the world beyond the peaks of their village.

His determination and enthusiasm for education is insatiable and 100% contagious. In 2006 Khalil started an English language school in Kanday. The Amin Brakk Public School currently has 115 students – 40 of them are girls. As Chairman of the school, Khalil is committed to finding ways to connect his community with others to provide the highest quality education for his village.

As if that wasn’t enough, Khalil continues to lead expeditions throughout the Karakoams and is also the President of the wildlife conservation committee in Kanday – who are committed to preserving the natural habitats of the makhor and snow leopard, raising awareness of climate change on the glaciers, and educating the local communities about the dangers of chemicals and pesticides in agriculture.

We chatted about these things as we picked our way across Baltoro, swapped emails about them when I returned and I realized that it is literally, the tip of the iceberg. He’s got lots to say and some amazing experience to share. Stay tuned for more news from Khalil!

Khalil salutes to K2 as we make the trek back to Concordia.