K2 conqueror returns to base 50 years on

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The Independent Online

A 78-year-old Italian climber is returning to K2's base camp to mark the 50th anniversary of his pioneering ascent of the world's second highest mountain, a tour operator said yesterday.

A 78-year-old Italian climber is returning to K2's base camp to mark the 50th anniversary of his pioneering ascent of the world's second highest mountain, a tour operator said yesterday.

Lino Lacedelli set out on Friday from the northern Pakistani town of Skardu on his journey "to say hello and goodbye to the king of mountains".

He will travel by four-wheel drive vehicle to the last village before the camp, Askuli, then trek the rest of the way, which should take five days, said Mehmood Khan, a tour operator in Skardu who helped organise the trip.

Mr Lacedelli and his fellow Italian Achille Compagnoni became the first men to reach the summit of K2 on 31 July 1954. At 8,611 metres (28,250 feet), it is the tallest peak in the world after Everest.

Hundreds of climbers are heading to the mountain this month, including two other teams from Italy which plan ascents from the Pakistani and Chinese sides of K2, hoping to reach the top on the anniversary.

Mr Lacedelli is accompanied by a 24-member team of Italian doctors, guides and researchers, and he will hold a ceremony at base camp on 15 July. None of the team plans to climb the peak. Mr Compagnoni, 89, who lives in Italy, is not on the expedition.

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