The westernmost peak of Himalaya is Nanga Parbat (8126m), the 9th highest mountain in the world ranking and second in Pakistan. From the arid Indus the view of its massive vast snowy face is glorious spectacle. Apart from the highest 8126m Nanga Parbat in the massif, there several other prominent peak such as Raikot, Chongra, Mazino, Buldar, Ganato and Jillipur.
Nanga Parbat has three main faces known as Rupal, Diamer and Raikot, which are totally different in appearance and their route start from different valleys. Rupal face is in Astore region of Diamer and known as highest rock face of 4570m. the diamer face known for its most direct route and famous among alpinists. The Raikot face at the head of Fair Meadows, one of the most beautiful place on earth, has the longest route from base to peak.
Though the approach route to the base camps of Nanga Parbat is easy and scenic but the climb is treacherous and technical. Unstable glaciers, frequent storms and avalanches have proved hazardous. Due to the highest rate of accidents and number of causalities while making early attempts on this peak, the peak got the name of "Killer Mountain and was considered as un-climbed for long period. This idea was also supported by the locals legends and fairies guarding the mountain. Unfortunately the name of Killer Mountain was associated with Nanga Parbat but in fact it is one of the most spectacular peaks in the world, popular among climbers and trekkers alike.
At was in 1856 when Adolf Schlagintweit at the foot of Nanga Parbat and sent his reports with sketches and Nanga Parbat came into lime light in the Europe. Later on in 1892, W. Martin Conway visited the Nanga Parbat region during his Karakorum Expedition and announced that Raikot Face is supposedly the best possible to make a summit bid. In 1895 a British mountaineer Albert Fredrick Mummery and his Gorkha porter Raghobir started climbing from Rupal side and disappeared with out any trace. In 1910, the mountain writer and publisher Walter Schkidkunz advised the Nanga Parbat is best attempted from Raikot valley. In 1934, German Himalayan Expedition led by Willie Merkl reached up to a height of 7850m. Merkl along three climbers and sherpas perished in a blizzard. Karlo Wien was the next victim of Nanga Parbat in 1937. He died in an avalanche with 7 other climbers and 9 porters. In 1938 Paul Bauer made a concrete attempt with a good climbing team but reached up to 7300m only. In 1939, a reconnaissance expedition led by Peter Aufschnaiter made two attempts on Diamer Face but bound to gain the maximum height of just 6000m. In 1950, a British Expedition made the first winter reconnaissance of the Nanga Parbat but again the unfortunate. J, Thomley and W. Carce perished while climbing.
In initial reconnaissance, route finding and climbing attempts, the Germans made a rich contribution and Nanga Parbat got the name of German mountain (a few other names associated to this peak are sleeping Beauty, Killer Mountain and Naked Mountain etc). In 1953, a German – Austrian expedition was initiated by Dr. Karl Maria Heligkoffer (stepbrother to Willy Markl who died on Nanga Parbat in 1934). The expedition faced several problems but finally with the support of a good climbing team, made an attempt.
The climbing started smoothly and camps were established, but due to deteriorated weather spell, Herligkoffer ordered all the climbers to come down from mountain to base camp. Bhul, Kampter, Frauenbergar and the cameraman Erlt were still in higher camps. They have refused the retreat order on July 1st, the weather turned better and on July 2nd, Bhul and Kempter established camp V at 6900m. On July 3rd at 1:00am Bhul left the camp heading upwards while Kempter followed him at 5:00am the sun rose above the horizon and Bhul reached the sliver saddle. The three km long plateau taxed Bhul's strength. At the end of the plateau, Bhul had some tea and left his pack behind to move easily. Kempter also have reached the plateau but realized that Bhul is far away so he returned to the camp.
Bhul reached at 7800m, and had the technical most difficult section of the whole climb ahead of him and last 300m didn't look promising. He started the climbing rocks and reached the shoulder, then at 700pm he stood on the summit. It was dead claim and perfectly clear, the chapter Nanga Parbat was finished for the lonely man on the top. He planted his ice-axes with Pakistani and Tyroli flags attached to it and took a few pictures. Night was falling fast as he started to descend. At tiny ledge above 8000m, he had an emergency bivouac and stood there for the whole night in exposure. At dawn he started descending and again after hazardous full day of waling reached back to the camp.
The history was made and it is truly said that if anyone at that time could manage such a climb, it was Hermann Bhul.
Nanga Parbat was next climbed by Reinhold Messner from Rupal Side. The expedition was again led by Herligkoffer. Later on Messner climbed the mountain from Diamer face as well, making a remarkable and historical solo climb.
A team of Pakistani climbers also scaled the mountain in 1989 where Sher Khan, Ata and other climbers succeeded to reach the summit.