Naila Kiani (left) and Samina Baig
Naila Kiani (left) and Samina Baig have become the first Pakistani women to reach the summit of K2. Image Credit: Supplied

Islamabad: July 22 was a glorious day for the Pakistani mountaineering community as two Pakistani women reached the top of the world’s second-highest mountain, K2.

First Pakistani woman to climb K2

Samina Baig became the first Pakistani woman climber to raise the green and white flag on the 8,611-metre-high K2. The 32-year-old from a remote village of Gilgit-Baltistan summited K2 with a 7-member team that included Eid Muhammad, Bulbul Karim, Ahmed Baig, Rizwan Dad, Waqar Ali and Akber Hussain Sadpara.

“We are extremely proud to announce that Samina Baig with her strong Pakistani team, successfully summited the world’s most fascinating and dangerous mountain K2 this morning at 7:42am PKT,” read a statement by Samina’s team. “Grateful and blessed that K2 allowed her to stand atop this incredible mountain,” the statement added.

“It is a historic day. Really proud moment for Pakistan” said Karrar Haidri, the general secretary of the Alpine Club of Pakistani adding that the climbing fraternity is extremely proud of Pakistani women climbers.

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif also congratulated Baig and her family, praising the climber for emerging as a “symbol of determination, courage and bravery” for Pakistani women.

UAE-based Pakistani summits K2

A little later the same morning, a second Pakistani female climber, Naila Kiani, also reached the top of K2. Pakistan’s accomplished climbers Sohail Sakhi and Sirbaz Ali Khan also summited K2 along with the Dubai-based Pakistani climber Naila — who is known as the ‘K2 Bride’ as her love for mountains inspired her to have a small wedding celebration at the K2 base camp in 2018.

K2 - Challenging climb
Considered extremely difficult to climb, K2 is not only the second-highest mountain after Mount Everest, its ascent and descent are considered much more challenging that the world's highest.
K2 is also the coldest and windiest of climbs. At places along the route, climbers must navigate nearly sheer rock faces rising 80 degrees, while avoiding frequent and unpredictable avalanches.

100 climbers begin K2 final push

At least a hundred climbers from different countries began their push for the K2 summit, to take advantage of weather conditions likely to remain clear until July 22.

On Friday, dozens of Pakistani and foreign mountaineers summited K2, known as the ‘Savage Mountain’ for its difficult terrain and treacherous climbing conditions. In a tragic incident, Afghan climber, Ali Akbar Sakki, died on Thursday due to a cardiac arrest while attempting to scale K2. He was part of a team of Pakistan climbers.

First Arab woman to summit K2

This year’s K2 expedition includes several women climbers and a few of them, including female climbers from Iran, Oman, Lebanon, and Taiwan, successfully reached K2’s peak on July 22.

Nelly Attar K2
Nelly Attar has become the first Arab woman to reach the summit of K2. Image Credit: Supplied

Nelly Attar, a Lebanese mountaineer born and raised in Saudi Arabia, became the first Arab woman to summit K2. “This is a true testament to her months of strenuous training, strength and determination,” her team said in a social media post. Attar said she wanted to inspire women across the Middle East by summiting the world’s second-highest mountain.

Climbers from Iran and Taiwan make history

On the same day, a 29-year-old female climber, Grace Tseng, from Taiwan summited the K2 mountain without using supplementary oxygen and has become the youngest woman in the world to do so.

Iran’s Afsane Hesamifard and Oman’s Nadhira Alharthy, who were part of the Seven Summits Treks team, also became the first-ever women climbers from their respective countries to summit the K2, according to media reports.

Another woman climber from Andorra, Stefi Troguet, also reached the top of K2 on Friday. “I can’t believe it. I’m on top of K2 without no O2. The hardest thing I’ve ever done” reads a message on her Twitter account. She dedicated the summit to the late Ali Sadpara, Sergi Mingote and Antonio Atanas — the fallen heroes of the K2 winter expedition.

One Pakistani climber Ahmed Hussain made history when he summited Gasherbrum II (8,035 metres) in just 14 hours from the base camp.