Empowering women by climbing one 8000-er at a time

Pakistani mountaineers set sights on conquering K2
<p>Mount Goodwin Austin - K2. PHOTO COURTESY: ADVENTURE FOUNDATION PAKISTAN</p>

Mount Goodwin Austin - K2. PHOTO COURTESY: ADVENTURE FOUNDATION PAKISTAN

Two Pakistani women have set their sights on proving that what men can do, they can too, and conquer one of the world’s tallest but feared mountains, K2 in the summer season.

The two women include Dubai-based Pakistani banker and amateur boxer Naila Kiani and Shimshal-born Samina Baig. The two climbers are aiming to scale the world’s second-highest peak, the 8,611-meter K2.

While Baig has already reached K2 basecamp to prepare for her attempt, Kiani has only just departed for Skardu.

Both mountaineers are no strangers to the extreme challenges of climbing mountains.

Baig had first climbed the world’s tallest mountain, Mt Everest in Nepal in 2013. It made her the first Pakistani woman to accomplish the feat. She followed that up by climbing the highest peaks on all seven continents of the world - a feat called Seven Summits.

Similarly, Kiani got her first taste of an 8,000-meter peak when she held her marriage ceremony at the base camp of K2 in 2018. It inspired her to climb mountains and she conquered her first major peak, the 8,035-meter Gasherbrum II, in 2021.

This made her the first Pakistani woman to scale Gasherbrum II, and also the first Pakistani woman to scale one of the five peaks taller than 8,000 meter in the country.

While Baig has been thwarted multiple times in her attempt to scale K2, this will be Kiani’s first attempt to officially climb the mountain.

A mission

In a statement, Naila has said that she is on a mission to promote Pakistan tourism. The other half of that mission is to empower Pakistani women.

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