Adventure stories have been at the heart of VIMFF since it was founded 20 years ago and Steve’s Swenson’s story is no exception. This is a personal story of climbing K2 and other peaks in the Karakoram range that straddle the borders of China, India, and Pakistan—a story told against the backdrop of extreme altitude and harsh conflict between these nations for control of Kashmir.
World-class alpinist Steve Swenson will present from his new book Karakoram – Climbing Through the Kashmir Conflict. This is a personal story of climbing K2 and other peaks in the Karakoram Range that straddles the borders of China, India, and Pakistan—a story told against the backdrop of extreme altitude and harsh conflict between these nations for control of Kashmir.
Love of climbing mountains has led Swenson to the summits of some of the highest and most dangerous peaks in the world. But over the years, he developed a deep respect for the rugged landscapes and local people of the remote Karakoram Range. Steve will talk about his numerous attempts and successes on these 7000 and 8000-meter peaks, including everything from expedition dynamics among his various climbing partners to the politics of obtaining permits in high security zones, and the logistics of getting there.
Access has long been an issue for foreigner climbers in Kashmir, but since 9/11security has become an even greater concern – especially in the Pakistan administered areas. After the Taliban were defeated in Afghanistan they, along with their al Qaeda supporters, were driven into the mountainous tribal areas in western Pakistan from where they soon launched attacks back over the border to the east and within their new host country. Western adventurers were largely able to avoid this political violence in Pakistan until June 2013, when a group of terrorists hiked up to the basecamp at Nanga Parbat and murdered 11 climbers. Steve will talk about the origins of this attack and its impact on his travels in the region and on his friends there who depend on income from tourism.
Steve’s presentation about his new book is the story of high-altitude adventures within the context of a complex region, where good people bond and bad people wreak havoc. It’s the story of caring about a place, its people, and its future. He will be available after the show for a book signing.
For more information and to purchase your ticket please visit www.nvrc.ca