When Climbing is a Joy!
Mountain climbing is no longer exclusive to men. Pakistani women are also ready to participate - and break records.
king zones today. Mountaineers from all over the world accept the towering stance of these mountains as a challenge to climb up the snow-covered summits. In our part of the world, mountain climbing or trekking is considered to be a man’s world and women aren’t encouraged to go on such expeditions, even if it’s only a couple of thousand feet. But this mindset is changing and it should, because Pakistani girls too, are engaging in mountain trekking and boldly tackling hostile environments just like their male counterparts.
In 2010, eighteen year old Samina Baig, belonging to Shimshal, created history by climbing Chashkin Sar, in the Karakorum mountain range, to an altitude of 5,525 meters in the dead of winter. Earlier this year, eight Shim- trained at the Shimshal Mountaineering School and prepared themselves for the nerve-wracking winter climb. The youngest girl in this team of eight, Hafiza Bano, 16, became the youngest Pakistani to climb Mingligh Sar in the winter while in 2006, Farzana Faisal, 22, became the first Pakistani girl to climb Mingligh Sar in the summer. Dur Begum, 30, climbed the same summit in 2007. These girls were accompanied by their instructors Shaheen Baig, Rehmatullah Baig, Qudrat Ali and Wahab Ali Shah.
The opinion that women are not fit for mountaineering expeditions is changing. Women climbers from urban areas are also proving their mettle as trekkers. One example is of Hina Ali, a media professional living in Karachi and an adventurist by with her entire group. Hina said that there are no schools that offer crash courses for mountain climbers. “Although trekking is not a science, it requires a certain degree of stamina and strength, especially for first-timers,” she added. In Hina’s opinion, it’s better for first-time trekkers to go with friends or acquaintances who keep you motivated throughout the climb. Women are considered to be the tender gender, but Pakistani females are certainly proving that they have the grit by demonstrating that they can go exploring the world thousands of feet up and prove that what men can do, women can do better! The writer freelances for various publications on issues related to youth, development and social activism.