Home Baltistan Division ‘I love Pakistan’s people more than its mountains’, says Vanessa O’Brien

‘I love Pakistan’s people more than its mountains’, says Vanessa O’Brien

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ISLAMABAD: British-American mountaineer Vanessa O’Brien who scaled K2 addresses a news conference in Islamabad. APP/Irshad Sheikh
K2, the second highest mountain in the world

ISLAMABAD, Aug 15: American-British Mountaineer #Vanessa #O’Brien, who scaled K2 last month, said on Tuesday that the warmth and love she received in Pakistan was matchless stating, “I love Pakistan’s people more than its mountains.”
Addressing a news conference at a local hotel, Vanessa said she had found Pakistani people loving and caring.

“I love Pakistan, its people and will like to travel it again,” the 52-year-old former banker said, adding she would prefer to do something for Pakistan and its youth.
She said there were so many opportunities in Pakistan, it needed support in various sectors and she would like to do something for this country.
Vanessa, who had already scaled Mount Everest and other top peaks around the globe, said technically #K2 was more difficult peak than #Everest.
“Less than 400 people have climbed the second highest peak in the world and for every five that conquered it, one dies. This compares to Everest where 7,600 people have scaled that mountain,” she said.
“As far as women, who have climbed K2, I’m officially the 20th, just a speck compared to Everest’s 489 women,” she said.
She appreciated her team members saying, “I’m extremely proud of this team for their dedication, perseverance, bravery and commitment to reach the summit of K2 and to take additional risk.”
Responding to a question she said women should try to come forward and do something different. “They should try new things. And I believe they are capable of doing anything.
“But they also need the support and backing of men. Men should be forthcoming. Their support can help women achieve their goals,” she said.
“I believe one should set their sights high, announce their intentions, ask for help, learn from their mistakes, believe in guardian angels and not let others tell you it’s over until you say it’s over.
“Pivot outside your comfort zone, to try something new, knowing that you have the safety net of accumulated knowledge, skills and experience that no one can take away from you,” she added.

Fastest woman climber

After two unsuccessful attempts to scale the mountain in 2015 and 2016, Vanessa O’Brien, became the first American-British woman to summit the 8,611-meter-high K2, known as the ‘savage mountain’ on July 28.

Her team member, Icelandic climber John Snorri Sigurjónsson, became the first man from the Nordic country to summit K2. Her team was comprised of three Chinese climbers,  Zhang Liang, Jing Xue, Azong, seven Nepali Sherpas — Mingma, Dawa Gyalje, Tsering Pemba, Nima Tshering, Lakpa Nuru, Nima Nuru and Ang Tsering.

The summits came after a spell of harsh weather and heavy snowfall on the mountain.

O’Brien, according to the Guinness World Record, is the first woman to set a speed record to complete the #Explorers #Grand #Slam (#Seven #Summits plus skiing the last degree to the #North and #South #Poles) in 11 months, and one of only nine women to do so in the world. She climbed Mount Everest, the world’s highest peak at 29,035 feet, in 2012.

“It is said when you climb Everest, you are a mountaineer in the eyes of the world, but when you climb K2 you are a mountaineer in the eyes of other climbers,” said O’Brien before her climb.

“K2 fascinates me because while it is not quite as high as Everest, it is technically more challenging with exposed rock, steeper terrain and higher avalanche risk.”


The ‘savage mountain’

Located in the Karakoram Ranges on the Pakistan-Chinese border, K2 is the second-highest and 22nd most prominent mountain in the world with an elevation of 28,253 feet (8,612 meters) and a prominence of 13,179 feet (4,017 meters).

The name K2 was given in 1852 by British surveyor T.G. Montgomerie with “K” denoting the ‘Karakoram’ and ‘2’ as its second position on the list of highest mountains. During his survey, Montgomerie, standing on Mountain Haramukh, 125 miles to the south, noted two prominent peaks to the north, calling them K1 and K2. While he kept native names, he found that K2 did not have a known name. Later K2 was named Godwin-Austen for Haversham Godwin-Austen (1834-1923), an early British surveyor and explorer. Godwin-Austen climbed 1,000 meters up a spur of Masherbrum above Urdukas and fixed the approximate height and position of K2 from there, according to Catherine Moorehead, the author of The K2 Man And His Molluscs, a biography of Godwin-Austen. The local name in Balti language for K2 is Chhogo Ri, meaning ‘large mountain’ or Kechu. The Chinese call the mountain Qogir meaning ‘Great Mountain’.

The fatality rate on K2 is 27 percent. If you attempt K2, you have a 1 in 4 chance of dying. Before the 2008 tragedy, of the 198 climbers who climbed the peak, 53 died on K2, three times the 9 percent fatality rate on Everest and next to Annapurna, the second most dangerous 8,000-meter peak.

As of 2017, over 352 climbers reached K2’s summit, while at least 82 died.


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