Saeed Al-Memari becomes first Emirati to summit world's most dangerous mountain
GILGIT – Saeed Al-Memari has become the first Emirati to summit K2, the world’s most dangerous mountain located in Pakistan.
Talking to the media, Al-Memari said this feat has become a milestone in his special mission of peace.
K2 (8,611 m) is located in the Karakoram Range and lies partly in the Gilgit-Baltistan portion of the Kashmir region in Pakistan and partly in a Chinese-administered enclave of Kashmir within the Uygur Autonomous Region of Xinjiang.
Second only to Mount Everest (8,849 m), it is known as the Savage Mountain because of its challenging terrain and treacherous weather, making it one of the most difficult peaks to climb. Only the most experienced climbers attempt ascents, and for every five who reach its top, one dies.
On July 22, Al-Memari joined the record group of 87 climbers from all over the world who summited K2 this summer season.
The summit of the world’s toughest peak was not his first mountaineering record as an Emirati, for in 2011 he was the first person from the UAE to climb Mount Everest. He has stayed on top of his game ever since.
“I climbed over one hundred mountains around the world so far. And this (K2) was a big challenge for me but, by the blessing of God, I could climb this mountain. And finally, we just made it,” Al-Memari said in an interview to a Saudi newspaper.
This year’s record, he believes, is likely to encourage more Arab mountaineers to conquer the world’s toughest peak.
“Many mountaineers, mostly in the Arab world, would love to climb K2,” he said. “This year, the biggest number of successes on K2, I think, it will open the door for the Arab world, to Arab climbers to climb K2.”
For the 45-year-old Fujairah-born mountaineer, the success was part of his “Peak for Peace” mission of climbing the world’s highest summits to spread the message of tolerance and love from his motherland.
“I was born in the mountain region of UAE. And my dream was to see my (country’s) flag and peace message on top of the highest mountains in the world,” he said. “I just want to send the message of peace, because our religion is based on peace.”
Among the 100 mountains Al-Memari has already scaled are the Seven Summits — the seven highest mountain peaks on each of the seven continents, and the Broad Peak (8,051 m) — his first mountain to climb in Pakistan.
“Last year, I climbed Mt. Broad Peak. And this year, alhamdulillah, we were blessed to climb Mt K2,” he said, adding that he aims to reach another Pakistani eighthousander. “If I get the chance by next year, I will do Nanga Parbat (8,126 m).”
Pakistan and its people have a special place in Al-Memari’s heart.
“The people, how they are humble, I feel they are my family,” he said. “I saw the love of Pakistani people for UAE people which is something I cannot explain in words. Once you visit Pakistan, you will feel are at the home and enjoy the beauty.”
But he worries about the future of the country’s nature, especially its iconic peaks, which lately have often been attempted by unexperienced climbers just for fun.
“They are destroying the beautiful mountains,” he said. “We need more rules to manage the mountains, so we could leave it for our next generation to enjoy the beauty of the mountains.”
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