VANESSA O’Brien holds a Pakistan flag while a colleague unfurls the Stars and Stripes at the summit.—Dawn
VANESSA O’Brien holds a Pakistan flag while a colleague unfurls the Stars and Stripes at the summit.—Dawn

GILGIT: Vanessa O’Brien, a 52-year-old British-American moun­tai­neer, has scaled K2, the second highest mountain on the planet.

According to the Forbes magazine, she is the first American woman to climb the treacherous mountain.

The Alpine Club of Pakistan said on Sunday that Ms O’Brien, who has also scaled Mount Everest, reached K2’s summit on Saturday and began descending from the peak the same day.

Authorities said on June 19 that a nine-member international team — comprising climbers from Scotland, China, Norway, Pakistan and Nepal, and led by Ms O’Brien — had left for Askoli from Skardu  to attempt a conquest of K2.

On July 23 the team reached the base camp and on Saturday it had reached the peak of K2.

Ms O’Brien installed flags of both the US and Pakistan atop the mountain.

In a message posted on her Twitter account, she said: “One most important flag I carried to the top of #K2 was #Pakistan, a country that has showed me so much love & support #PakistanZindabad.”

She also tweeted: “A proud day for #woman everywhere at the top of #K2, the world’s second highest mountain @unwomenpak @UNWomen #empowerment #leadership.”

Another top climber, who also reached the summit of the dangerous mountain, tweeted: “Friendship, Peace and Solidarity — Forever #Pakistan #USA on the top of #K2.”

According to the Forbes magazine, O’Brien is a former banker from New York. She is an honorary ambassador of the US-Nepal Climbers Association.

At 28,251 feet above sea level, K2, which is also known as Mount Godwin-Austen or Chhogori, is the second-highest mountain in the world. It is located on the China-Pakistan border between Baltistan and the Taxkorgan Tajik Autonomous County of Xinjiang, China.

It is considered to be a treacherous peak for climbers. On an average, one climber out of four loses his or her life while descending from it.

Published in Dawn, July 31st, 2017

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