Trailblazer Naila Kiani has become the first Pakistani woman to scale the dangerous Nanga Parbat this past Sunday. Find out more!
This Sunday, trailblazer, Naila Kiani, a Pakistani mountaineer based in the UAE, accomplished yet another milestone by becoming the first Pakistani woman to successfully scale Nanga Parbat, standing tall at 8,126 meters. Nanga Parbat is widely recognized as one of the most daunting mountains globally, with a significant 21% death rate. It’s notoriously titled the “Killer Mountain” due to the frequent fatal incidents caused by unstable glaciers, avalanches, and severe storms. Naila Kiani, along with her fellow climber Samina Baig, triumphantly conquered the peak, according to Karar Haidri, the Secretary of the Alpine Club of Pakistan, Naila and Samina triumphantly reached the summit at 10:18 am and 11:08 am.
Naila has been awarded the Sitara-e-Imtiaz just recently. When we found out that apart from being the youngest Pakistani climber who has successfully summitted Mount Everest she is also a banker, an amateur boxer and a mom of two girls, we became fans for life! And rightly so, you would be too! We discovered another fun thing about her: she organized a wedding photoshoot at the K2 basecamp in 2018 which went viral. Talk about taking things to the next level! She revealed how she hated the idea of a massive wedding and convinced her husband to have a small wedding at the K2 base camp but when he couldn’t go, he told her to go so that she doesn’t miss out on her adventure. She sure didn’t miss out on the adventures of a lifetime.
Fellow Pakistanis Who Made The Climb
Besides Naila, Samina Baig too ascended the climb just about an hour later. Other Pakistani male fellow mountaineers who also achieved the feat on the same day, included Rizwan Dad, Wajid Nagri, Waqar Ali, Eid Muhammad, Ahmed Baig, Saeed Karim, Shah Daulat and Liaqat Karim. All of them climbed the mountain without additional oxygen support.
The Peaks Naila Conquered So Far?
Just recently, now including this feat, Kiani has now conquered seven of the major 8,000-meter peaks on earth, solidifying her reputation as one of the most talented climbers of our time. Naila changed the course of history by scaling Everest, the world’s highest mountain at 8,849 meters above sea level, and Mount Lhotse, the fourth-highest mountain in the world at 8,516 meters above sea level. She also climbed Gasherbrum-II (8,035m) in 2021, Gasherbrum-I (8,068m) and K2 (8611) in July 2022, and Annapurna I (8,091m) in 2023.
What Kept Her Going?
In an interview on Pulse 95, when asked what keeps her going despite all the roles she juggles, she responded that initially it was really difficult as she has two young kids, 2 and 4 years old and was guilty about leaving her 7 month old daughter at home. But she knew she had to make time to accomplish her goals and using her maternity leave, set out to scale great heights. Her family she admits, was absolutely fantastic and super supportive through it all.
What further helped was the skills she had acquired in her professional career as a project manager due to which she could manage her time more efficiently. Being an amateur boxer helped her in mountaineering and when she completed her first trek of 5000 meters she realised she’s quite good at it. She believes age is truly just a number, revealing she started climbing at the age of 35 just two years ago.
Her Moment Of Doubt & What Gives Her Strength
Naila has also recently shared how, upon climbing a peak this year, she thought to her self for a moment: “Why am I doing this, it’s pure suffering” but then she was reassured eventually, thanks to the views, the excitement during the climb and finally reaching the top which all makes up for the suffering.
Her first climb was solely for herself and the ones that followed were for the many girls who wrote to her and are inspired by her in Pakistan which in turn inspired her. Girls are thought to be meek, not strong willed enough but Naila defies all such notions. She admitted she might be average physically/strength wise but mentally, she is super strong. She considers her two daughters her source of strength and it is for their sake she makes sure she doesn’t falter during her journeys.
Her Inspiration & Love For Scaling World’s Highest Peaks
She further divulged, she wants to climb as many mountains as she can while her husband still agrees (because it takes an average 7 to 8 months to get him to agree). Naila remembers watching the Everest and thinking to herself “who are those crazy people and why and what are they risking their lives for?” Classic case of you never know what life has got in store for you! The porters and the unsung heroes in the mountaineering world have inspired her.
She now accepts, once you reach the top, are surrounded by nature’s marvels and view the clouds at that unfathomable height, you want more and it’s addictive.
Despite the numerous barriers, Naila has stood tall and stayed resilient to her passion and goals. The courage and determination she has shown is exemplary for young girls and we can only imagine what this Trailblazer is going to do next.