Pakistani woman to join 60-year celebrations on Everest
ISLAMABAD: Climbers will be gathering at the Mount Everest in April to celebrate the 60 years since it was first summated in 1953. Samina Beg, 21, is about to become the first Pakistani woman to be part of it.
While the climbers from around the world will be celebrating the event, the Pakistan young woman is accompanying her brother with another mission.
“Together we are promoting gender equality,” said Samina here on Sunday before leaving for Karachi to catch a flight to Katmandu, Nepal, on April 1.
Although the brother and sister have not attempted any of the five 8,000 metres-plus peaks in Pakistan, they claim to be well-prepared to take on the world’s highest peak. Samina and her brother Mirza Ali have been climbing for the last three years together.
In 2010, she became the first to ascend the virgin peak Chashkin Sar (above 6,000 metres) now called the ‘Samina Peak’. She conquered another virgin peak in 2011 that was named ‘Koh-i-Brobar’ or the ‘Mount Equality’ in 2011. Samina and her brother were not so lucky on the 7,027 metres high Spantik Peak when bad weather forced them to abandon their summit attempts.
“We have also attempted two winter expeditions to be better prepared for the challenges that we might face on the Everest,” said Samina, explaining how she braved and survived minus-35 degrees centigrade temperatures in the Shimshal valley of Gilgit-Baltistan they belonged to.
Samina is an arts student and probably the only Pakistani to adopt mountaineering as a profession. She has been climbing for the last four years. Her goal is to empower women through adventure and outdoor sports and to encourage them to explore the mountains. She comes from a family of climbers. Two of her uncles have been climbing for the army and one of them, Mohammadullah, was the only Pakistani to summit Nanga Parbat twice.
Her 29-year-old brother Ali has 14 years of climbing experiences. When asked who was better, the two laughed. She obviously pointed to her brother. “But what she lacks is experience, she easily makes up for courage and determination,” said Ali who supported his sister every step of the way to make her dreams come true.
The aim of this gender equality expedition, as the two climbers called it, to the Everest was to promote mountain climbing sports as well as tourism in Pakistan.
The two climbers had privately arranged the funding for their Gender Equality Expedition 2013 without support from government or the Alpine Club of Pakistan.
“A pharmaceutical company has provided us with all the necessary medical gear that we might require during the ascent,” said Ali, explaining how he intended to reach the top of the mountain without supplemental oxygen.
The expedition will spend two months to climb the Everest and return in June.