Pakistani mountaineer Shehroze Kashif, 19, on Tuesday became the youngest person to reach the summit of K2 — the world’s second-highest peak at a height of 8,611 metres (28,251 foot) above sea level — with the aid of bottled oxygen.
Hailing from Lahore, Kashif had also scaled the world’s 12th-highest mountain, the 8,047-metre (26,400 foot) Broad Peak, at the age of 17.
In May, he had become the youngest Pakistani to scale Mount Everest — the world’s highest mountain. He had used supplemental oxygen on both his ascents to Broad Peak and Everest.
Before Kashif, Sajid Sadpara, the son of the legendary Muhammad Ali Sadpara, was the youngest person to have climbed K2 using supplementary oxygen. He was 20 at the time.
In a message to media, Nadia Kashif, the young climber’s mother, said: “I was talking to him the other day and I asked him if he misses his home and he replied ‘mama, I am at home.’ How could you stop someone who believes that his home is where the mountains are.”
“I believe in Shehroze. He is strong, committed and passionate. I told his father not to be worried and that ‘you will see my son will make us and the whole nation proud and that he never disappoints,’” she added.
The US Embassy in Islamabad also congratulated Kashif on his record-breaking feat.
In addition to Kashif, a separate group of four other Pakistani climbers from Hushe Valley — Ali Durrani, Mohammed Hassan Hushe, Mushtaq Ahmed Hushe and Yousaf Meeri Hushe — made it to the top of the Savage Mountain.
Their team comprises experienced climbers and high-altitude porters (HAPs). Team leader and expedition organiser Mohammad Taqi had been instrumental in putting together a strong team which repeated the success of the K2 Expedition to celebrate 60 years of the first ascent of the mountain in 2014. At the time, Durrani was the youngest person to have summited K2 at the age of 24.
Nepal, China and Pakistan are home to the 14 highest peaks in the world, also known as the 8,000ers. While the world’s tallest mountain Everest (8,848m) is located in Nepal, Pakistan is home to five 8,000m peaks, including K2, Gasherbrum 1 and 2, Broad Peak and Nanga Parbat.
Climbers enter the ‘death zone’ (above 8,000m the pressure of oxygen is insufficient to sustain human life for an extended time span) to reach the summit of these 8,000ers, with most relying on bottled oxygen — much to the annoyance of those against commercial expeditions on the high mountains.
Alpine Club of Pakistan Secretary Karrar Haidri also congratulated the climbers on their summits.