Mountaineer Sirbaz Khan became the first Pakistani on Saturday to climb 10 of the world's 14 highest peaks — each at a height of more than 8,000 metres — after he scaled the 8,586-metre-high Kanchenjunga mountain in Nepal, according to the Alpine club of Pakistan.
Sirbaz was part of a team led by Nepalese mountaineer Mingma Gyalje Sherpa (Mingma G) of Imagine Nepal.
According to the secretary of the Alpine Club, Karar Haidar, the climbers summitted the world's third-highest peak at 7am on Saturday, with Sirbaz raising Pakistan's flag upon completing his ascent.
In his recent communication from Kanchenjunga earlier today, he thanked the nation for supporting him and requested them to pray for his safe return.
Meanwhile, Saad Munawar, the organiser of the expedition, called it a moment of pride for the country.
"From the time when Pakistani mountaineers were denied the chance to summit their own mountains [mountains within Pakistan] to the time when Pakistani mountaineers are leading on foreign soil, we have come a long way," he told Dawn.
"But our journey is far from over yet. In fact, we have only just started. We will keep working to develop and promote the sport of mountaineering in Pakistan and in the years to come, we'll have Pakistani mountaineers summiting peaks all across the globe," Munawar vowed.
Among 8000ers, Kanchenjunga, which forms part of the Himalayas range, is said to be the most difficult mountain to climb to the top from the final camp and takes the longest time as well due it its steep gorges and bitterly cold climate.
As Sirbaz achieved the feat, congratulations poured in for him.
Sajid Ali Sadpara, the son of late legendary mountaineer Mohammad Ali Sadpara and a climber himself, tweeted: "Congratulations kako Sirbaz khan for conquering the world's 3rd highest mountain Kanchenjunga."
Journalist Faizan Lakhani congratulated Sirbaz as well.
Sirbaz, 32, hails from the Aliabad area of Hunza in Gilgit-Baltistan and began his climbing career in 2016.
In 2019, he became the first Pakistani to summit Mount Lhotse, the world’s fourth-highest mountain at 8,516m in Nepal, without the use of supplementary oxygen.
Moreover, he summited the 8,125-metre-high Nanga Parbat in 2017, 8,611-metre-high K-2 in 2018 and Broad Peak, which has a height of 8,163 metres, in 2019. Earlier this year, he climbed the 8,091-metre-high Anapurna mountain, 8,848-metre-high Everest and 8,035-metre-high Gasherbrum II.
On four of these expeditions, he had been accompanied by late Muhammad Ali Sadpara.
Sirbaz is aiming to become the first Pakistani to climb all 14 of the world's highest peaks.