A Lucky Pilot - Pakistan Aviation

Lucky Pilot Home | Concordia Expeditions

Wing Commander Lanky Ahmad passed away on October 12, 2004 at Lahore, Pakistan where he was born in 1924 and is buried in the Pakistan Air Force graveyard located just before the landing strip of the Lahore International Airport runway.


To K-2!
By Masood and Published in the Chaffee Country Times, Colorado on 21st Nov. 1996.

"Allah Akbar!" God is Great! The Balti porters cry out in unison as they move out in a single file onto the Vigne Glacier.

It is 2 a.m. and a moonless night. We are at 17,000 feet in the heart of the mighty Karakoram Range of Northern Pakistan.

Our goal is the 19,000-foot Gondogoro La (pass). This pass connects the most imposing mountain site in the world, Concorida, with another valley south of the second highest mountain in the world-K-2.

We are in a wonderland of lofty pinnacles, jagged mountains and the longest glaciers outside the polar regions of our planet.

Our party consists of ten Balti porters, three Hunza guides and three American clients who are on the adventure of a lifetime!

The warmth of the fire from our campsite is now long gone. In this absolute stillness, all we hear is the cranking of the metal from our ice axes as we venture into the icy void.

There is a faint path that our head porter is able to discern even in the dimming light of his lantern. We try to keep up with him with our flashlights.

There is a danger of hidden crevasses here and we keep our eyes fiercely focused on the next step. There is only one wish in our hearts: let there be light.

By the time the crystal clear sky turns crimson, we have made it to the base of the formidable Gondogoro La. We find ourselves surrounded by immense ice walls not unlike a white fluted gown of a young bride.

Our guide has fixed ropes with ice screws on the steep sections and we proceed to put our crampons on.

The climb begins.

We gasp for oxygen in this rarefied air.

We have to reach the top of the pass before 8 a.m. as there is danger of rock fall later in the day when the sun frees the frozen earth.

One by one we emerge into the bright morning sunlight, finally finding ourselves on the crest of Gondogoro La. What a view: K-2 (28,250 ft.) Broad Peak (26,400 ft.), Gasherbrum IV (26,000 ft.) jutting up beyond an endless ocean of pinnacles, points and fantastic peaks.

"This had to be the greatest mountain spectacle on our planet!" exclaims one of our clients.

On the other side of the Gondogoro La a huge avalanche thunders down from a massive ice peak next to us. The white cloud envelopes the entire valley thousands of feet below us.

A little farther down we see the beautiful pinnacle of Laila Peak. We are in the throne room of the mountain gods.

We have to descend immediately before the sunrises too high. Again ropes are fixed and we rappel down over scree and snow slopes. The constant danger of rock fall is over present in our minds and we somehow avoid a huge barrage of them.

At 2 p.m. we stagger, exhausted, into our heavenly campsite under the beautiful Laila Peak. We pitch our tents on a warm sandy beach surrounded by green meadows full of wild mountain flowers.

Later, we realize that we joined a handful of humans on this planet that were as high as us on that September day. Needless to say, the past 12 hours of our lives have been unforgettable.