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Tuesday May 25 2021
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Pakistani mountaineer Asad Memon sets his eyes on conquering the mighty Denali

Pakistani Mountaineer Asad Memon. Photo: Reporter  

Pakistani Mountaineer Asad Memon has set his eyes on conquering his  fourth summit of the Seven Summit Challenge after first embarking on the challenge two years ago. 

Next month, Memon will make an attempt to summit the highest peak of North America — Denali.

"I have not stopped since I began the challenge. As soon as I summit a mountain, I want to climb the next one. I want the name of Sindh to be in the books of mountain climbing, and that is why I have taken up the challenge to summit all seven peaks of the world," Memon told Geo News.

During the last two years, Memon has undertaken multiple expeditions. He climbed Mount Elbrus in Russia (Europe's highest peak), Mount Aconcagua in Argentina (highest South American peak), and recently he ascended and descended Mt. Kilimanjaro (at 20,000ft, the highest in Africa) in 20 hours to become the youngest Pakistani to achieve the feat.

Read more: Pakistani mountaineer becomes first Asian to summit Mount Kilimanjaro within 24 hrs

Memon's goal is to climb the 20,130ft Denali, the third most isolated peak on Earth, after Mount Everest and Aconcagua. 

He believes the summit will open up more learning opportunities and a new chapter of climbing. 

"I want to experience climbing solo in the Arctic zone, known for its brutal conditions, where there is no one to help," said Memon.

"People were going up and down [on their own] on all the mountains I have climbed. I took the assistance of a porter or an animal. Like in Argentina, it's a flat hike till base camp, which takes 3-4 days, but there is an option to let animals carry the heavy load while you carry the light load. But unlike the rest, Denali is deadly," he said, adding that just a couple of days back, a person died there, and another was injured as they were all alone.

Memon aims to summit Denali in as little time as possible. He is targeting a two-day summit. However, due to the COVID situation, the authorities have imposed restrictions on speed climbing as a precautionary measure.

Asad Memon during one of his hikes. Photo: Reporter

He noted that the most challenging part of the climb is not the summit or the altitude but the obstacles to cross before reaching the summit. 

"The biggest obstacle is to carry all the stuff, which equals 60kgs in two portions divided in the bag and a sledge, while you pull simultaneously on the move. The challenge starts from the base camp and lasts till the last camp, at a height of nearly 5,500m," he said.

"I have never done a solo glacier climb. Kilimanjaro was solo, but it wasn't a glacier climb. There were rocks and land too, but Denali is only ice. [Even] planes land on an ice strip instead of a runway," he said.

"The temperature is also deadly, with the Arctic side having the pressure of different zones making it more rigid.”

Read more: Pakistani mountaineer aims to climb Mount Kilimanjaro in less than 24 hours

For the young Sindhi climber, when it comes to expeditions and life, everything is about the hard work you do in making the right decisions at the right time and understanding which route to take. 

Following the same philosophy, Memon will set out in June to conquer the deadly Denali, the fourth stop in his Seven Summit Challenge.