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For the first time, a Pakistani and Iranian woman have reached the summit of Mount K2, the second highest mountain in the world. So said the director of the Pakistan Alpine Club.
Pakistani Samina Begg hoisted her green and white flag today on top of the treacherous mountain at an altitude of 8,611 metres. Afsaneh Hosami Fard has done the same for her country, Iran.
Also reaching the top was Nelly Attar, a Lebanese woman who, according to the club, lives in Saudi Arabia. She will be the first Arab woman to achieve this.
All three were part of a group of women who reached the top of the mountain together, says the climbers club. There was another Pakistani climber in that group. Naila Kianik A little later arrived from Baig.
Norwegian Kristen Harela is also part of the group. This year she is trying to climb fourteen mountains over 8000 metres. K2 is eight thousandths for her.
K2 is located on the border between China and Pakistan. Experts often describe the mountain as the most difficult to climb. And this is clear from the numbers: in total, about 90 climbers were killed on the slopes. In 2008, eleven people died in one day. Just yesterday, an Afghan climber, Ali Akbar Sikkai, died of a heart attack while climbing to the summit, the climbers’ club said.
The number of people who have reached the summit and come back alive is also much less than the highest mountain in the world. Mount Everest has been successfully climbed more than 9,000 times, with K2 less than 400 times.
Also with oxygen and in these conditions it’s quite a feat.
“Climbing K2 is technically more difficult than climbing Mount Everest,” says Dutch mountaineer Katja Stretges. “It’s much steeper, and the way to the top is more difficult with a higher risk of breaking stones.” Starges describes it as a “fantastic achievement”.
“Certainly if you look at countries like Pakistan and Iran. Women have a very different situation compared to men here. For example, it is not usual for women to play sports there.”
Stretges did not go to K2 herself, but she was the first Dutch woman to reach the summit of Mount Everest, in 1999. “The whole world of climbing is completely changing because practically everyone is using oxygen, and Pakistani and Nepalese climbers are climbing the ropes. But also with oxygen and in these conditions it is an amazing feat” .
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