Posted: Jul 18, 2015 03:24 pm EDT
(Tina Sjogren) She grew up grazing yaks and gathering dry juniper up to 5000 meters of altitude. While her birth hamlet, Shimshal situated at 3,300 meters got a dirt road ten years ago, up until then, "for 400 years it was only our village and the mountains," Samina Baig told Explorersweb.
During the frigid winters she'd do the laundry in frozen rivers, chores she said were "good practice for mountaineering." Meanwhile, her big brother would train other climbers how to scale the big peaks surrounding them. Spotting Samina's love for the mountains along with her stamina, Mirza Ali started to teach his baby sister how to climb.
Shimshal caught the eye of locals as well as the globe. A female mountaineer in Pakistan was new, and an important inspiration for other women hoping to find equality in a man's world. While women can be found in the army as well as law enforcement these days, climbing was still an exclusively male domain in Pakistan.
At only 18 years old, in 2010 Samina kicked off her mountain career on the summit of unclimbed Chashkin Sar (6,400m), the peak subsequently renamed "Samina Peak". Climbing schools for the youth including girls were set up in Shimshal.
Within a few years the little herder girl became the youngest Pakistani to climb Mount Everest. The mountains took her on a tour of the entire world: she did the seven summits and then turned her sights to her ultimate goal: the highest peak in her native country - the "mountaineers' mountain" K2.
Unfortunately that climb is now over, her brother reportedly stated today. The team were on a second rotation up the mountain when an old neck injury from her climbs on Spantik and Denali acted up. In fast order, a chunk of falling ice injured Samina's forearm around camp 1 and with that it was done. "We sadly called off our K2 expedition 2015," her brother said, thanking everyone for supporting the attempt.
K2 Teams Continue the Acclimatization
Pakistani girls dream higher: Samina's first 6000er climb at 18
Exweb interview with Shimshal daughter Samina Baig: "I was born and grew up working at altitude"