HUNZA: Young climber Sirbaz Khan becomes the first Pakistani to summit the world’s seventh highest peak Mount Dhaulagiri (8167m) in Nepal, as part of his “Mission 14 Summits” adventure.
Born in Aliabad (Hunza), Sirbaz is on a mission to climb 14 of the world’s highest peaks.
While reaching on the summit of Mount Dhaulagiri, Sirbaz also secured the record of the first and only Pakistani to summit 9 over 8,000M high Peaks.
Some memories and experiences of Sirbaz’s summit records, in his own words, below:
1) Nanga Parbat
Nanga Parbat in 2017 was special for a lot of reasons. First of all, summiting the first 8000m peak is a dream moment for any Mountaineer. It becomes even bigger when it’s the notorious Killer Mountain – Nanga Parbat and also because it was the first ever autumn ascent of Nanga Parbat. It was also my first 8000m summit with Ali bhai(Muhammad Ali Sadpara). We shared great moments on the mountain together. It was Ali bhai’s fourth summit of Nanga Parbat.
There is something different about that mountain. It attracts you like gravity and all the fairytale stories seem true in that moment.
K2 is The King of the Mountains. All those who have seen it from their own eyes will agree. In the last 17 years, I have paid K2 at least one visit every year. And then climbing Mt K2 is considered as the biggest trophy in the sports of Mountaineering. Black pyramid, House Chimney, Bottleneck, etc. are some of the most difficult climbing portions on any mountain in the world. I summited Mt K2 while working with the Japanese expedition. It was a very well worked expedition overall. We acclimitised well and our planning was pretty good too. Kako Fazal(Fazal Ali Shah), who was also a part of the same expedition, became the first person ever to summit K2 3 times without using supplementary oxygen. Huge achievement!
Mt Lhotse expedition in spring 2019 was a bittersweet experience. It was a big success as I became the first Pakistani to summit Mt Lhotse but at the same time I could not attempt summit push for Mt Everest even though I had paid for it. Actually, I got frostbite during Lhotse summit push. When I reached back at the base camp, the doctor examined me and told me that I cannot go for Everest summit now. If I go for it, I’ll lose my toe. It was a very tough decision to make and that is why mental strength is really important in Mountaineering. After I got frostbitten, Kilu Sherpa climbed down with me till C4, taking care of me like a brother. I’ll never forget that.
4) Broad Peak
Broadpeak is a challenging mountain. I see a lot of young mountaineers considering it as their first 8000m expedition. I think that’s not the right choice. In Pakistan they should go for G2 and in Nepal they may go for Manaslu. Our summit push on Broadpeak was 25 hours long, longest for me on any mountain.
Unlike Broadpeak, Manaslu looks much more difficult then it really is, only technically speaking. It does have a lot of snow, deep snow, which makes it a hard job to climb.
Manaslu, known as The Mountain of spirit, has a dominating yet beautiful look specially as seen from the serene Samagao(village). I have fond memories from that expedition as I shared the mountain with John Snorri and Ali bhai, who knew it’ll be our last 8000m summit together. I also met Nims dai (Nirmal Purja) in Samagao during his incredible 14x8000m porject. I remember his reply to someone who was calling him “Sir” over and over again. He said, “Brother, please don’t call me Sir. I have a name.” Great guy nims!
Mt Annapurna is considered as one of the most dangerous mountains in the whole world and rightly so. I have never seen so many seracs on any other mountain, always ready to fall. But we had a great expedition. It was a big moment for Pakistani mountaineering community as for the first time we took a full professional Pakistani team and headlined in Mountaineering news updates all across the world. It was special to see Abdul summiting his first 8000m mountain, long due I must say. Overall, the time spent on this expedition was the best time I have had on any expedition. Big thanks to Kamran bhai and Saad bhai who worked tirelessly to make everything happen in the best possible way.
7) Mt Everest
Every kid in the world knows about Mt Everest, it is the highest peak in the world after all. Technically, it was not a big challenge, thanks to the incredible Sherpas who make climbing Everest look easier. But I faced a lot of other challenges, off the mountain, as I summited Mt Everest only 26 days after summiting Mt Annapurna. It was a special expedition as for the first time in my climbing career I was leading an international team. My team also included Mingma bhai’s 3 sisters, all three of them summited Mt Everest successfully. Hats off to these brave ladies.
8. Gasherbrum 2
This expedition holds special place for multiple reasons. I was organizing and leading the whole expedition myself. A 4 member all Pakistani team which included a veteran climber Ali Raza Sadpara and two relatively new climbers, Naila Kiani and Sohail Sakhi. It was such a proud moment when my whole team reached the summit with Naila becoming the first Pakistani woman to summit any 8000m inside Pakistan. Apo Raza summited G2 for the seventh time. He is the only climber in the whole world who has summited G2 7 times. What a legend!