KARACHI: It’s the beginning of an era of young Pakistani athletes making their mark. While 2019 saw the phenomenal rise of Arslan Ash becoming the undisputed Tekken champion of the world, the new decade has started with 22-year-old Asad Ali Memon set to climb highest mountain in South America as part of “Seven Summit Challenge”.
Located in the Andes mountain range in Argentina, Aconcagua is the highest mountain peak not only in South America but in the world outside Asia. Asad, an undergraduate student in Karachi, is originally from Larkana. During his high school studies, he became interested in climbing.
“There was no way of training because we don’t have any such facilities or trainings in Larkana. So, after moving to Karachi, I came to know of a two-week training camp in Islamabad and that was how my journey as a mountain climber began.”
Since then, Asad hasn’t looked back. Now after climbing mountains across Pakistan, Nepal and Russia, he is set to conquer Aconcagua. This is the second mountain as part of the ‘Seven Summit Challenge’ in which Asad will climb seven of the highest peaks in all seven continents of the world. Earlier in August 2019, the young athlete took on the Mount Elbrus, located in Southern Russia, near the border of Georgia.
Mount Elbrus is the highest mountain in Europe as well as the tenth most prominent peak in the world. In the last few years, Asad has gone through intensive training and climbed seven to twelve times, including an expedition to the base camp at Mount Everest, which is going to be his final adversary in this Seven Summit Challenge.
After four months of intensive preparation, Asad is ready to set off on the dangerous 25-day expedition on January 4, 2020 to Argentina where the nearly 23 thousand feet high Mount Aconcagua awaits him and his group. After that, his next summit is Denali, which is the highest mountain in North America. The young climber was full of passion as he sets off to write his name in the history books. “They say if you come from a place with hot weather, you can’t climb mountains because you can’t survive the cold and the lack of oxygen at high altitudes,” said Asad. “In Larkana, we have temperatures running over 40 degrees, while at the mountain peaks, you have temperatures as low as minus 40 degrees. I wanted to prove it wrong and push myself and my body to do it. It’s a great feeling of accomplishment.”
He continued, “Coming from a rural area and making it this far, I would like to inspire my fellows all over Pakistan to follow their passion and go for what they like to do, what gives them the adrenaline rush, be it mountain climbing or any other field. I would wish that I can motivate my people in Sindh and all over Pakistan not just to live their lives working a full-time job or only havee the option to aspire to play cricket, but explore their passions whatever they may be.”
Published in Dawn, January 4th, 2020