GILGIT, Pakistan (AP) – Thousands of mountaineers, trekkers and tourists thronged a remote part of northern Pakistan on Saturday to mark the 50th anniversary of the first ascent of K-2, the world’s second-highest peak.

But an official ceremony scheduled for Saturday was delayed for a day because of a local religious holiday, said Ghazanfar Mehdi, deputy managing director at the Ministry of Tourism in the capital, Islamabad.

More than 3,000 mountaineers, trekkers and tourists who have gathered in Skardu, the last village on the route to K-2, will began festivities on Saturday after 2:13 p.m., the time when Italian mountaineers Lino Lacedelli and Achille Compagnoni first reached the summit on July 31, 1954, Mehdi told The Associated Press.

“Wearing their cold weather outfits, they will dance to the tune of Pakistani drums and folk music,” he said.

Officials also plan to inaugurate a museum that will feature the history of K-2 and a photo exhibition about expeditions on the mountain, Mehdi said.

At 28,250 feet, K-2 is 785 feet shorter than Mount Everest, but generally regarded by climbers as a more challenging peak.

Located near five of the world’s tallest 14 mountains, K-2 has been successfully climbed 189 times and has claimed more than 50 lives – about half during descents of the mountain.

This year, three South Korean climbers died in an avalanche on the mountain and five Pakistani porters drowned while crossing a river on the way to K-2’s base camp.

Pakistan’s Minister of State for Culture and Tourism, Rais Munir, will give special certificates to the 30 Pakistani mountaineers who have scaled K-2 and other peaks in recognition of their achievements, said Rashid Baluch, a senior government official in the region.

Skardu and the Italian city Cortina d’ Ampezzo – the birthplace of Lino Lacedelli, K-2’s first known successful climber, will be declared as “twin cities” at the ceremony,


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