K2: Some background and History
The local name of K2 is Chogori, which in Balti language means the king of mountains. This name is little known outside of Pakistan. It is, therefore, desirable that - K2 be used.
K2 as seen from Concordia
K2 has variously been described as the "awesome", "killer" and "savage" mountain. This is because of its massiveness in size and the numerous unsuccessful attempts made on it by various expeditions, including many American expeditions, who have made quite a few unsuccessful attempts.
K2 is a rocky mountain up to 6000 meters, beyond which it becomes an ocean of snow. The K2 peak is situated on the Pak-China border in the mighty Karakoram range. The traditional route to its base camp goes from Skardu, which is linked with Islamabad by a good road. From Skardu the route goes via Shigar-Dassu-Askole up to Concordia over the Baltoro glacier. The exact height of the peak is 8,611 meters/28,251 ft.
It was in 1856, when the British were enforcing their control over India, provoking the 1857-War-of-lndependence, that a young Lieutenant of the Royal Engineers, T.G. Montgomerie, was quietly busy in surveying the mountains of Kashmir. During this survey he saw, in the far distance, a tall and conspicuous mountain in the direction of the Karakorams and immediately named it K1 (K stands for Karakorams). Later on, it turned out to be the beautiful mountain of Hushe valley in Khaplu area of Baltistan, called Masherbrum by locals. He also saw another tall and dominating summit behind K1 and named it K2, which turned out to be "Chogori". The name K2, however, still stands.
Lieutenant Montgomerie was a good surveyor. He was the person who planned and organized the survey of Kashmir. He was also an unofficial political adviser to Gulab Singh, the then Maharaja of Kashmir. After Gulab Singhs 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. His students did good reconnaissance work in remote areas forbidden to foreigners because of local suspicions. A famous but unfortunate student of his was Muhammad Hameed.