Around 10:30 p.m. on June 22, 16 mountaineers on a mountain in the Himalayas woke to shouts of “Taliban! Al Qaeda! Surrender!” They were camped at 13,800 feet on Nanga Parbat, the world’s ninth-highest peak, known as Killer Mountain for its fierce challenges. Unlike K2 and other giants of the Karakoram Range, which lie 100 miles to the northeast, Nanga Parbat in Pakistan is a lonely outpost. It takes a three-day trek up the remote Diamir Valley to reach the base camp on Nanga Parbat’s western flank. Unlike the region around K2, a mountaineering hub patrolled by the Pakistan Army, the region around Nanga Parbat is comparatively isolated and plagued by sectarian violence.
An objective hazard. --ts