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 above sea level known as the “savage mountain.”
Two Pakistanis, Samina Baig and Naila Kiyani, Iranian Afsaneh Hesamifard, and Lebanese-Arab Nelly Attar, were among the four 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.
Haidri said more than 100 other foreign mountaineers from the United States, Norway, Canada, Taiwan, Russia, Poland and Nepal, also were on their way to the summit and some of them had either reached or expected to do so by Saturday.
He said a professional mountaineer from Afghanistan died from a heart attack on Thursday attempting to scale K2 as part of the team of Pakistani climbers who reached the top Friday. He was the first Afghan to attempt the summit.
On Thursday, Nepalese climber Sanu Sherpa reached the top of Pakistan’s Gasherbrum II mountain, setting a new record by scaling all of the world’s 14 tallest peaks — all higher than 8,000 meters — for a second time.
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.