An international mountaineering outfit, comprising 20 climbers, has arrived in Pakistan to summit K2 (8611-metre) and Broad Peak (8047-metre), Alpine Club of Pakistan (ACP) said on Sunday. The expedition organized by the US-based boutique mountain guide service, Madison Mountaineering, includes 10 Nepalese, five British, four US and one Ukrainian national. “The team led by renowned US mountaineer Garrett Christian Madison have proceeded to Gilgit-Baltistan today,” Karrar Haidri, secretary ACP, told APP on Sunday. According to Haidri, the mountaineers are scheduled to complete their expedition by the end of August. “Sixteen members of the team will attempt the K2 summit, while as many will be scaling Broad Peak. Some of them will be attempting to ascend both the peaks,” he added. Around two weeks ago, Pakistan relaxed its ban on Nepali citizens amid concerns for COVID-19’s Delta strain. “They (Nepalese climbers) are considered an essential part of any mountaineering expedition. Hence, the government of Pakistan has allowed their entry into Pakistan under strict measures. They are required to provide proof of complete vaccination and two PCR tests,” Haidri added. He said formalities for the expedition were completed by the ACP on behalf of the Tourism Department of Gilgit-Baltistan, which is the climbing permit issuing authority. “The mountaineers have also been asked for strict adherence to environment preservation measures while being on Baltoro glacier in accordance with the guidelines issued by the ACP.” Haidri said the club had also requested inputs from the team for additional measures for the disposal of expedition refuse on the Baltoro glacier. In addition to co-leader Lakpa Sherpa and Mingma Dorchi, the Nepali team members include Sanu Sherpa, Pemba R. Sherpa, Chhiring N. Sherpa, Mingma D. Sherpa (Saila), Pemba D. Sherpa, Lakpa G. Sherpa, and Tashi Sherpa. “They all arrived in Islamabad from Kathmandu by chartered plane,” Haidri said. Dorchi, who holds the speed record of six hours for linking the summits of Everest and Lhotse in 2019 has ascended K2 twice in the past. He has also led teams to Annapurna and Everest and will be trying to accomplish one more feat this year by climbing K2. Besides Garrett Madison, the other US climbers include Conan Bliss, Alexander Pancoe and Chase Allan Merriam. The British climbers include Jonathan Gupta, Robert Smith, Robert Richard, Rebecca Jane Ferry and Kenton Edward. Ukraine’s Oksana Litynska is also part of the team. Despite Covid-19 uncertainty, Madison continued his expeditions, leading the first foreign team to Nepal in fall 2020. He said he was lucky enough to succeed on Everest and Lhotse this past spring with no Covid-29 cases reported in his team. “It was really a tough season. But my past experience in the Ama Dablam 2020 expedition helped us a lot,” he said. “The Covid-19 cases in Pakistan have registered a significant decrease. The Pakistan government’s decision to ease visa restrictions and facilitate tourists is highly commendable. I believe this will bring an end to a period of nothingness [due to Covid-19] and there will be a lot of climbing activities in this country,” he added.