Momentous Day for Ismaili Mountaineer Samina Baig As She Scales K2 — “The Savage Mountain” — with 4 Other Muslim Female Climbers; 5 More Ismailis in Team Also Reach Summit

“We are extremely proud to announce that Samina Baig, with her strong Pakistani team, successfully summited the world’s most fascinating and dangerous mountain known as the savage mountain” — Statement by Samina Baig’s Team

Introduced by MALIK MERCHANT
Publisher/Editor BarakahSimerg and Simergphotos

Rahim and Zahra Aga Khan with Ismaili mountaineers
Mountaineer-siblings Samina and Mirza Ali Baig present a memento to Princess Zahra and Prince Rahim at an institutional dinner hosted by the Ismaili Council for Pakistan during their visit to Pakistan in May 2016. Photograph: Rahil Imtiaz Ali/The Ismaili

Just over nine years ago, on May 19, 2013, at precisely 7:40 am, Samina Baig became the first Pakistani woman to reach the peak of the world`s highest mountain, Everest, and proudly place on it the flag of Pakistan as well as that of the Ismaili community. She spent 10 minutes on the summit as her mentor, trainer and proud older brother, Mirza Ali Baig, watched her unique accomplishment from a few hundred metres away, not wishing to scale the peak until a later date, to give the singular honour of the summit’s ascent to his beloved sister. Samina and Mirza then granted Simerg an exclusive interview which can be read HERE.

Samina Baig Mt Mckinley Alaska Simerg
Mirza Ali and his sister Samina Baig hoist the Ismaili Flag after reaching the summit of North America’s highest mountain, Mt. McKinley, in Alaska, on June 28, 2014. Photo: Malik Mirza/Samina Baig.

Samina’s accomplishments over the years have been many, and we have just learned that today, Friday July 22, 2022, Samina has scaled K2. Here are excerpts from a report by Ayaz Gul of the Voice of America (VOA).

Female Climbers From Pakistan, Iran Make History by Scaling K2

Voice of America’s Urdu channel carried a dispatch about Samina Baig and her brother, Mirza Ali in a news segment in 2011 after she had climber a 6300m peak near Hunza in Northern Pakistan, which was then was named after her. Photo: Samina Baig’s Facebook page.

By AYAZ GUL
(Voice of America, July 22, 2022)

[Note: The photographs accompanying this post are from Simerg’s archives and other external sources that are credited, and are not part of the latest VOA report by Ayaz Gul; his full report may be read on the VOA website HERE. The following are excerpts from Gul’s report – Ed.].

The first female climbers from Pakistan and Iran on Friday reached the top of K2, the world’s second-highest peak, at 8,611 meters [28,251.31 ft] above sea level known as the “savage mountain.”

Two Pakistanis, Samina Baig and Naila Kiyani, Iranian Afsaneh Hesamifard, Lebanese-Arab Nelly Attar and Bangladeshi Wasifa Nazreen, were among the five women who achieved the milestone, said a spokesman for the Alpine Club of Pakistan.

“They are also the first Muslim mountaineers to have scaled K2,” Karrar Haidri told VOA.

Baig and Hesamifard have already summited the world’s highest peak, Mount Everest, in Nepal.

“We are extremely proud to announce that Samina Baig, with her strong Pakistani team, successfully summited the world’s most fascinating and dangerous mountain known as the savage mountain,” Baig’s team said in a statement.

“Grateful and blessed that K2 allowed her to stand atop this incredible mountain.”

Pakistani government officials and foreign diplomatic missions, including the U.S. embassy, in Islamabad took to Twitter to congratulate the Pakistani women climbers for setting foot on the world’s second-highest mountain.

“A momentous day and achievement for Pakistani women!” the U.S. embassy said.

K2 has gained its reputation as the savage mountain among international climbers. It has one of the deadliest records, with most climbers dying on the way down. Only a few hundred have successfully reached its summit, while Everest has been scaled more than 9,000 times. The rocky mountain is also known as the deadliest of the five highest peaks in the world because about one person dies on K2 for every four who reach the summit.

While the sheerness of the slopes and overall exposure create a technically challenging climb, mountaineers say weather is always “the great opponent” on K2 year-round.

Pakistan hosts five of the 14 highest peaks on Earth, including K2; eight others are in Nepal, including Everest, and one along the border of Nepal and the Tibetan region of China.

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K2
K2 North Ridge. Photograph: Kuno Lechner, Wikipedia, CC BY-SA 3.0

Gari Khan writes from Pakistan:

Along with Samina Baig, 5 other Ismailis were also part of her team that completed the climb on Friday, July 22, 2022 at 7:42 AM. The complete list of Ismailis, all from Shimsal (Hunza), is as follows:

  1. Samina Baig
  2. Eid Muhammad
  3. Bulbul Karim
  4. Ahmed Baig
  5. Rizwan Dad
  6. Waqar Ali

The seventh person in the team, Hussain Sadparda, is from Skardu and not an Ismaili.

Shimsal: Village located in Gojal Tehsil of Hunza District, in the Gilgit–Baltistan region of Pakistan. It lies at an altitude of 3,100 m above sea level and is the highest settlement in the district; Skardu: City located in Gilgit−Baltistan, Pakistan, and serves as the capital of Skardu District and the Baltistan Division. Skardu is situated at an elevation of nearly 2,500 metres in the Skardu Valley, at the confluence of the Indus and Shigar Rivers (in formation from Wikipedia).

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Breathtaking Video: K2 – The World’s Most Dangerous Mountain | Eddie Bauer

“K2 is a savage mountain that tries to kill you.” That is how climber George Bell described the infamous peak after the first American expedition in 1953–forever giving the mountain its nickname–The Savage Mountain. Sixty-six years later, Eddie Bauer mountain guides Adrian Ballinger and Carla Perez aim to summit the 8611-meter peak and join a community of explorers fewer in number than those who have been to outer space. Even more incredible, they both will attempt the feat without the use of supplemental oxygen. Every step of the way the team faces hazardous conditions, terrifying setbacks, and crushing misfortunes. But as Ballinger puts it, “I’ll go until the mountain tells me I can’t go anymore.”

Date posted: July 22, 2022.
Last updated: July 23, 2022 (new information from Gari Khan, and video added)

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