10-year-old Pakistani schoolgirl sets 7,000m mountain record and aims for Everest | Eurasia Diary - ednews.net

14 December, Saturday

10-year-old Pakistani schoolgirl sets 7,000m mountain record and aims for Everest

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A10-year-old Pakistani schoolgirl has claimed a world record for being the youngest ever person to scale a 7,000m peak and now intends to climb Mount Everest.

Selena Khawaja's conquest of 7,027m (23,054ft) Spantik in the Karakoram range last month comes only two-and-a-half years after she first started leisurely walks in the mountains with her father.

Her climbing exploits have seen her nicknamed 'Mountain Princess' in Pakistan's media. Driven on by her father as expedition companion, she now intends to become the youngest person ever to climb to the roof of the world.

Her young age means she has more than two-and-a-half years left to beat the current Everest record, but aims to make an attempt next summer if she can get funding.

“I like the views better than anything,” Selena explained to the Telegraph at her home in Abbottabad, in Pakistan's Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province

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Her July ascent of Spantik, also known as Golden Peak, has been verified by the Alpine Club of Pakistan. “We are meeting soon for her certification process,” said spokesman Karrar Haidri.

The climb was also praised by Pakistan's government. “Selena Khawaja has made Pakistan proud by scaling Spantik peak”, a statement said.

Selena and her father, Yousaf, began hiking up the nearby mountain of Miranjani for fun in 2017 and he quickly noticed that she was getting faster with every trip up the 2,992m peak.

Pakistan sees the confluence of the Hindu Kush, Himalya and Karakoram ranges and is a haven for mountaineers. Selena has since worked her way up 5,000m and 6,000m mountains.

Mr Khawaja went on: “She is very good at climbing. At some points she is faster and at other times I am faster. At some points she tells me 'Papa slow down a little bit!' and I say to her 'In a year you will be saying Papa speed up!'”

As well as training in the picturesque mountains around Abottabad, Selena also works out in the gym and fitness centre her father runs.

Mr Khawaja admits that at first Selena's mother was anxious about the climbing and whether her daughter was too young. But he said their success had won her over.

Guinness World Records said it did not monitor a record for the youngest person to climb a 7,000m peak and only held endurance records for those aged 16 and above. A spokeswoman said: “Therefore, at 10 years old, Selena would be below the minimum age threshold for a record of this nature. Nevertheless, her achievement is very impressive.”


The Telegraph

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