Naila Kiani, Sirbaz Khan become first Pakistani duo to summit world’s 6th highest peak Cho Oyu

Published October 3, 2023
A photo of Pakistani mountaineers Naila Kiani and Sirbaz Khan. — Alpine Club of Pakistan
A photo of Pakistani mountaineers Naila Kiani and Sirbaz Khan. — Alpine Club of Pakistan

Mountaineers Naila Kiani and Sirbaz Khan became the first Pakistani duo to summit the 8,201-metre-tall Cho Oyu — the world’s sixth-highest peak in China’s Tibet — on Monday.

The mountain is located on the Nepal-Tibet border 20 kilometres west of Mount Everest in the Mahalangur range. Cho Oyu means “Turquoise Goddess” in Tibetan.

The duo reached the summit earlier today at 12:30pm (Nepal Time) as part of the expedition led by Imagine Nepal. Khan made the climb without using any supplementary oxygen.

They successfully reached the summit just five days after crossing the Tibet border from Nepal.

Kiani became the first Pakistani woman climber to summit 10 peaks above 8,000m and the only Pakistani to ascend seven peaks above 8,000m in six months.

Meanwhile, Khan became the only Pakistani to summit 13 peaks above 8,000m with today’s success and the only one to conquer 10 mountains above 8,000m without the use of supplementary oxygen.

Last month, the two had also successfully completed the ascent of the world’s eighth-highest peak, 8,163m-tall Mt Manaslu, in Nepal. Subsequently, the duo had arrived in China with the aim of conquering both Cho Oyu and Shishapangma.

Kiani has already scaled Broad Peak (8,047m), Annapurna (8,091m), K2 (8,611m), Lhotse (8,516m), Gashe­rbrum I (8,068m), Gashe­rbrum II (8,035m), Nanga Parbat (8,125m) and Mount Everest (8,849m).

Saad Munawar, Khan’s expedition manager, told Dawn.com that Khan was on a mission to complete the challenging goal of conquering all 14 peaks above 8,000m.

“Hailing from the Hunza district of Gilgit-Baltistan, Sirbaz continues to make his homeland proud with his extraordinary mountaineering achievements,” he said.

Munawar also commended Kiani’s determination, emphasising that her ascent of the peak occurred under “extraordinarily challenging conditions” marked by poor visibility and adverse weather.

“The marathon climb, spanning over 28 hours, stands as a testament to her exceptional strength and mountaineering prowess,” he said.

Alpine Club of Pakistan Secretary Karrar Haidri felicitated Kiani and Khan for their triumphant ascent of Cho Oyu.

“We hold our collective hopes and prayers for their safe return from this extraordinary adventure. Their dedication to mountaineering is truly commendable, and their achievements serve as a wellspring of inspiration for all,” he remarked while talking to Dawn.com.

Separately, young Pakistani climber Shehroze Kashif reached the base camp of Cho Oyu and will commence his endeavour to ascend the peak from Tuesday (tomorrow).

The summit will mark his 13th conquest of an 8,000m peak.

He also scaled Manaslu last month.

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