ISLAMABAD, May 19: The news about the first Pakistani woman summiting Mount Everest on Sunday morning spread like a wildfire.
Text messages congratulating every Pakistani started doing the rounds only half an hour after Samina Baig reached the top of the highest peak in the world at around 7:30am.
And by the afternoon, almost everyone was updating their status on the social media and pasting links to images of the 21-year-old mountaineer from the Shimshal valley of Hunza.
On Saturday night, Samina Baig sent her brother a message how she had reached Base Camp IV at the height of 7,900 metres on the South Col between Mt Everest and Lhoste, the fourth highest mountain in the world, after eight hours of hard climbing.
“Samina, Tashi and Nugshi feeling great… The weather is windy and cloudy… Worried about weather… If all goes well will leave for summit tonight… Appeal from the nation to pray for us,” Samina Baig said in her last text before her push for the summit.
To the surprise of many in the mountaineering community, Samina Baig summated Mount Everest with twin sisters from India – Tashi and Nugshi Malik – also 21 years old.
Although messages had been circulating that Samina Baig and her 29-year-old brother Mirza Ali had summated Mount Everest together, the Alpine Club of Pakistan (ACP) was still to issue an official statement about it.
“We have confirmed that Samina Baig made history by becoming the first Pakistani woman to summit the world’s highest peak at 8,848 metres high. We are still trying to confirm if her brother has also made it to the top,” said Karrar Haidri, the executive member of the ACP. Once the news is confirmed, Mirza Ali could be the youngest Pakistani to summit Mount Everest.
Both Mirza Ali and Samina Baig took everyone by surprise when they held a press conference in Islamabad a day before leaving for Nepal on March 31.
The two were joining a gathering of climbers at the Mount Everest to celebrate 60 years since it was first summated in 1953. Samina Beg said she was about to become the first Pakistani woman to be part of it.
While the climbers from around the world were celebrating the 60 years, the 21-year-old climber was accompanying her brother with another mission.
“Together we are promoting gender equality,” said Samina Baig then. Although the brother and sister had not attempted any of the five 8,000 metres plus peaks in Pakistan, the climbing community was in doubt of the pair’s success rate.
Samina Baig and her brother had been climbing for the last three years together.
In 2010, she became the first to ascend the virgin peak Chashkin Sar (above 6,000 meters) now called the ‘Samina Peak’. She conquered another virgin peak in 2011 that was named ‘Koh-i-Brobar’ or the ‘Mount Equality’ in 2011. Samina Baig and her brother were not so lucky on the 7,027 metres high Spantik Peak when bad weather forced them to abandon their summit attempts.