A 12-Year-Old Girl Will Try to Climb Broad Peak

A local Pakistani girl aims to become the youngest person to climb one of the 8,000m giants. Twelve-year-old Selena Khawaja will try to climb Broad Peak, supported by her father, Yousaf Khawaja.

Born in Abbottabad, Khawaja has climbed since she was six years old. Local media have dubbed her the Mountain Princess of Pakistan. She intends to break the previous Pakistani record by five years. It was set in 2019 by then-17-year-old Shehroze Kashif, aka Broad Boy, who also summited Everest this past spring.

Selena’s young age has sparked debate on social media.

File image of Selena Khawaja. Photo: Geo News


“8,000’ers are not for kids,” some readers remark.

One Kuwaiti (@theprotrekker) tweeted back: “I met Selena three years ago. At that time, she was stronger than half the climbers I met. She has already climbed Spantik (7,027m).” Indeed, Selena summited that peak at age 10.

The current youngest 8,000m summiters, Jordan Romero and Malavath Purna, both climbed Everest at 13 years old in 2010 and 2014.

Yet both cases spurred such heated controversy that authorities took measures. Romero summited from Tibet. Shortly afterward, the China-Tibet Mountaineering Association limited the ages for climbing Everest to between 18 and 60, although exceptions have been made.

After Purna’s ascent in 2014, Nepal banned anyone younger than 16 from attempting Everest. Since then, records have gone to teenagers such as Gabrielle J. Kanizai of Australia, who summited Cho Oyu at 16. So far, there is no age restriction in Pakistan.

Camp 1 set on K2 and Nanga Parbat

Meanwhile, on K2, climbers have begun working. The Karakorum Adventure team fixed the route to Camp 1 and returned to BC today, according to Samina Baig. On Nanga Parbat, the Andalusian team finally managed to establish Camp 1 as well, after some attempts thwarted by bad weather.

Senior journalist, published author and communication consultant. Specialized on high-altitude mountaineering, with an interest for everything around the mountains: from economics to geopolitics. After five years exploring distant professional ranges, I returned to ExWeb BC in 2018. Feeling right at home since then!

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Glory days are over
Glory days are over
9 months ago

And this is why the glory of mountaineering has long been gone.

9 months ago

This is hilarious – I hope she manages it

9 months ago

I have conflicting reactions to this. Kids on 8K mountains…👎.
But a Pakistani Muslim father teaching his daughter to climb and supporting her participation in mountain sports 👍 . It takes a great deal of courage, not only physical but social, to do this in a country where extreme conservative Muslims threaten women who step outside their traditional roles. Women in Pakistan have been attacked and killed for less.
Have to applaud and respect Selena and Youssaf Khawaja, and hope they stay safe and accomplish their goal!

9 months ago
Reply to  MuddyBoots

i second your words.go for it go for it Selena and stand for your dreams Girl and proud Father