Back from the top, mountaineer shares her experience

Denis becomes the third woman in the world to summit K-2.

Express August 19, 2011


The quality of being undeterred, no matter what the enormity of a challenge, has often led human beings to perform wondrous deeds.

French mountaineer Sophie Denis is one such figure who, with her matchless courage and devotion, became only the third woman in the world to successfully climb K-2, the second highest mountain of the world with the reputation of being a “killer mountain”.

Mount Everest may get the headlines, but for veteran mountaineers, reaching the top of K-2 and coming down alive is a cherished dream.

Sophie, who a few days back successfully completed her latest expedition at K-2, kept the audience at National University of Sciences and Technology (NUST) enthralled as she shared her adventurous experiences while climbing the world’s highest mountains. NUST Adventure Club (NAC) organised the event to honour the world famous summit climber here on Wednesday.

“For the last several years, I have been in the middle of gigantic mountainous regions with my ever-increasing desire to summit peaks,” Sophie said.

Sophie maintained that tough weather condition prevent most K-2 climbers from reaching their destination. “Though climbing to a height of more than 8,000 metres anywhere is never an easy task, the expedition at K-2 is the most challenging,” she said.

Sophie added, “What make K-2 the most dreaded for summit aspirants are the extreme factors; may it be the steep ascents, avalanche slides or the ailments caused by the frostbites.”

“But,” she said, “one needs is to be highly optimistic in overcoming the [challenges]; losing hope could be disastrous.”

Next she plans to climb Shishapgma (8,013 metres) in Tibet, and Manaslu (8,156 metres) in Nepal.

(Read: Such great heights)

Her speech was followed by a question and answer session, where aspiring and veteran climbers asked her many questions about the different aspects of mountaineering.

Published in The Express Tribune, August 19th, 2011.