GILGIT: For the first time, more than 100 climbers summited the world’s second highest peak in a single day, with female mountaineers from Pakistan, Iran, Saudi Arabia and Oman creating history by becoming the first-ever woman of their respective country to reach the top of 8,611-metre K2.
Pakistani climber Samina Baig, who had summited Mt. Everest in 2013, summited K2 along with her team, three hours before ‘mountaineer mom’ Naila Kiani, who had scaled Gasherbrum-II only last year, summited it. In all, 18 Pakistanis, including many from Gilgit-Baltistan, scaled the country’s highest peak on the same day.
Also, 29-year-old Grace Tseng has become the world’s youngest female climber to summit K2 without supplemental oxygen and the first Taiwanese ever to have stood on top of the Savage Mountain.
While 170 climbers from various continents had started their summit push from the base camp recently, more than 100 mountaineers from the US, Canada, the UK, Russia, China, Germany, Norway, Sweden, the Netherlands, France, Andorra, Poland, South Africa, Japan, Pakistan, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Nepal and Malaysia started reaching the top of K2 from the early hours of Friday morning till afternoon.
Samina Baig creates history, again; 29-year-old makes it to summit without supplemental oxygen; women from Iran, Saudi Arabia and Oman break glass ceiling
The astonishing feat by several expedition teams was made possible as the forecast of stable weather at Karakoram Range Mountains encouraged five people from Nepal to fix ropes to the top of the peak, opening the route for other climbers on late Thursday evening.
Besides the two Pakistani women, Sirbaz Khan, Fida Ali, Eid Mohammad, Sohail Sakhi, Bulbul Karim, Ahmed Baig, Rizwan Dad, Waqar Ali, Shah Doulat, Shah Shimshali, Wajidullah Nagri, Akber Hussain Sadpara, Abid Hussain Sadpara, Zakir Sadpara, Ashraf Sadpara and Mr Inayat from different parts of Pakistan with various expedition teams summited the peak on Friday.
“We are extremely proud to announce that Samina Baig with her strong Pakistani team, successfully summit the world’s most fascinating and dangerous mountain known as Savage Mountain, the world’s second and Pakistan’s tallest mountain, this morning at 7:42am,” said Karakoram expedition through a press release.
Samina Baig who comes from the remote village Shimshal not only has the honour of being the first Pakistani woman to summit K2 and Mt Everest, but also holds the unique record of being the first Pakistani amongst men and women to climb seven summits in seven continents.
From Iran, Afsaneh Hesamifard is the first woman to summit K2. She has already summited Mt Everest and Manaslu. Similarly, Lebanese-Saudi fitness expert Nelly Attar set a new record by becoming the first-ever Arab woman to summit the world’s second highest peak. Also, Nadhira Alharthy is the first woman from Oman to have graced her country with the honour.
As part of her campaign to beat the time record of ascending all the 14 eight-thuosanders across the world within six months, a 36-year-old woman from Norway, Kristin Harila, also summited K2. For this purpose, she had started her attempt to climb five 8,000-metre high peaks in Pakistan, including K2 and Nanga Parbat, in two months.
Tseng Ko-Erh, aka Gr Stefi Trouget, a woman from Andorra, who summited K-2 without any supplemental oxygen, dedicated her summit to late Sergi Mingote, Ali Sadpara, Antonio Atanas — all fallen heroes of K2 Winter 2021 expedition.
Also, Ms Jing from China, who earlier climbed Mt. Everest and Lhotse in spring season without supplemental oxygen, summited K2 without additional oxygen.
French trekker rescued
Meanwhile, female French trekker, Nadia Sarah Baloul, who had been stranded at Concordia near K2 base camp since Wednesday, due to high altitude sickness was airlifted to Skardu by Pakistan Army helicopters on Friday.
The foreign trakker was awaiting rescue at Concordia near K2 base camp after she came down with high-altitude sickness. She is under treatment in Combined Military Hospital, Skardu, where her health condition is improving, said Apricot Tours managing director Wajahat Khan while speaking to Dawn.
He said the French trekker was part of a 13-member team of foreign trekkers who had started their base camp trek from Skardu about 10 days ago. He said Ms Sarah complained about breathing problems and nausea when she reached Concordia.
First summer push
This was the first K2 summer push of the season, as climbers are expected to summit the peak till July 25 before the next weather window on July 28 allows them to make an attempt, Mohammad Ali Nagri from Adventure Pakistan told Dawn.
He said over 100 climbers started their final summit push after the Nepalese team opened the route from camp to the top on Thursday night. The climbers started reaching the top of K2 at 2am on Friday and continued to do so till afternoon.
Karar Haidri from Alpine Club of Pakistan said K2 summiters descended to camp 4 or camp 3 after the summit. According to him, the fresh teams of climbers would start to move towards the summit on Saturday (today).
Published in Dawn, July 23rd, 2022