In this photo taken on April 20, Sirbaz Khan pauses to catch his breath while acclimatising on Mount Kanchenjunga, the third highest in the world. On Saturday, the 32-year-old became the first Pakistani to climb ten of the world’s 14 highest peaks.—Courtesy Saad Munawar
In this photo taken on April 20, Sirbaz Khan pauses to catch his breath while acclimatising on Mount Kanchenjunga, the third highest in the world. On Saturday, the 32-year-old became the first Pakistani to climb ten of the world’s 14 highest peaks.—Courtesy Saad Munawar

GILGIT: Mountaineer Sirbaz Khan on Saturday became the first Pakistani 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.

Alpine Club Secretary Karar Haidari said the climbers scaled the world’s third-highest peak at 7am on Saturday, with Sirbaz raising Pakistan’s flag upon summiting.

In his latest communication from Kanchenjunga on Saturday, Sirbaz Khan thanked the nation for supporting him and requested them to pray for his safe return.

Saad Munawar, the organiser of the expedition, called it a moment of pride for Pakistan. “But our journey is far from over yet. 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.”

Among the 8,000ers, Kanchen­junga, which forms part of the Himalayan 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 to its steep gorges and bitterly cold climate.

As Sirbaz achieved the feat, congratulations poured in. 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.”

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.

Sirbaz is aiming to become the first Pakistani to climb all 14 of the world’s highest peaks.

Published in Dawn, May 8th, 2022

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