This Desi Mountaineer Won’t Rest Until He Has Climbed Mount Everest & K2
As kids whenever we looked at birds flying high, we wished we could do the same. Even as adults we still want that, the thrill of being among the stars, high in the sky. Some children never get over this wish and choose their careers accordingly. Saad Mohamed is one such individual. When he had to give up on his dream of becoming a pilot, Saad decided to become a mountaineer. After all, it is the mountain tops the wild and brave birds frequent.
I had a little chat with Saad Mohamed and here is what he had to say to my questions.
1) What were your dreams as a child?
Like most kids my age, I wanted to be a fighter pilot. I had this wild fascination for fighter jets and an untamed patriotic jazba to serve in the armed forces. My eyesight got weak at 13 so I had to realign my life goals; thus I thought that I should aim for the national cricket team. I started playing club cricket from a very young age and ended up playing for my university but that was the end of that. I also played squash for my university and then went on to become the top cede at my club but I was never national level material.
2) What brought you to mountaineering?
During our travels up north as a family I got fascinated with all these towering peaks. In 2005 having trekked to enough passes, lakes and base camps I decided that I would venture into mountaineering by climbing a 6,000m trekking peak. In retrospect, I see it as a very logical & gradual progression. The first peak I attempted was Mingleeg Ser in Shimshal and it was an epic failure but I learned from my mistakes and was able to summit a 7,000m peak among others along the way.
3) What mountaineering means to you?
It means everything to me, it defines who I am, even my twitter handle is @DesiMountaineer. The progression from a trekker to a mountaineer and then to someone who has aimed for an 8,000m peak has taught me one thing; that I can no more be a once or twice a year type hobbyist climber. If I am going to keep climbing high mountains then it has to be my lifestyle, more than it was before.
4) Which particular moments would you regard as milestones of your journey so far as a mountaineer?
These mountaineering and trekking achievements have been the highlights of my journey and my happiest moments:
- 2017 – Mt. Everest 8,848m – part of a 2 member Pakistani team to attempt the world’s highest peak. Made it to Camp III (7,060m).
- 2015 – Ra’na Kook Ser 5,525m & Moamee Mariya Kataria Ser 5,457m in Shimshal Expedition Resilience – expedition leader of the first ever ascent of the peaksin alpine style and that too in tandem.
- 2013 – Kooksil V 5,830m Expedition Gecko – led the first all Pakistani expedition on a previously unclimbed route on a peak in the Khunjerav National Park.
- 2012 – Spantik 7,027m – summiting member as part of the Pak-China Expedition, commemorating 60 years of bilateral diplomatic relations.
- 2008 – Peer Peak III 5,600m – expedition leader to the peak on Shpoadeen Pass, Shimhsal Valley.
- First non-Shimshali person on the planet to have crossed Shimshal Pass 4,700m both in summer-2006 & winter-2014.
- First non-Shimshali person on the planet to have crossed Shpoadeen Pass 5,350m thrice (summer of 2008 & 2015 and autumn of 2010) and now an expert on treks & expeditions in Shimshal.
5) What kind of documentaries do you make?
6) Tell us about your future plns.
Well for me scaling Mt. Everest from both South and North is a mission. However, I would prefer climbing a local 8,000m peak before I return to Everest. My ultimate dream is to climb K2.
7) Any message or advice you want to give people?
Pakistan has 5 of the 14 tallest peaks on the planet. And not just that: we have so many spectacular landscapes; desolate deserts, crystal clear lakes, lush green meadows, rolling hills, mighty rivers & majestic mountains, we have it all. And we have such a diverse, beautiful and culturally rich country, which gives us a huge potential for local and international tourism. And despite a sharp decline in international tourists we have seen phenomenal growth in local tourism. For the last couple of years, huge numbers of locals have ventured beyond the more popular destinations. So my request to people heading up north is that be open to different cultures, learn to respect local customs and for the love of God – Do Not Litter! As one of my mentors once said to me:
“Leave only footprints and bring back only photographs”
Thank you for taking out time to answer our questions, Saad. Team Twittistaan and our readers wish you best of luck for your future.
Photos by Saad Mohammed