On May 14, Sirbaz Khan became the first Pakistani climber to summit Mount Lhotse in Nepal without the use of supplementary oxygen. Lhotse is the world’s fourth highest mountain at 8,516 meters, after Mount Everest, K2, and Kangchenjunga. This short video recounts his journey so far; one of aspiration, joy, struggle, and hope.
Thirty-year old Sirbaz Khan hails from Aliabad, Hunza, and started his mountaineering career in 2016. As part of an international expedition in 2017, he climbed Nanga Parbat, also known as Killer Mountain (8,124m), successfully reaching the summit on 2nd October 2017. He has been associated with the Aga Khan Youth and Sports Board (AKYSB) for Hunza for 10 years and currently serves as a master trainer for climbing and mountaineering.
Recalling his journey, Sirbaz said, “When I was six, I remember; I used to go out to the mountains with my late uncle to graze our cattle. I was fascinated and mesmerised by the breathtaking birds-eye view of my hometown from the grazing area. I asked myself how beautiful it would be to be on the top of the mountain and see the other side of the world. As time went by, it became a routine for me, as it is our tradition to graze cattle in the winters. I started going to the mountains with my friends taking our cattle with us. Whenever I go out into the mountains it gives me a spiritual calmness,” he recalled.
Other renowned Ismaili mountaineers include Nazir Sabir, the first Pakistani mountaineer to summit Mount Everest, Ashraf Aman, the first Pakistani to summit K2, and Mirza Ali and Samina Baig, the only siblings to scale The Seven Summits – the highest mountains of each of the seven continents.