ISLAMABAD: Pakistani climber Asad Ali Memon said on Tuesday he made history on Kilimanjaro mountaintop with climbing hero Ali Sadpara on his mind. Memon, 23, ascended the tallest mountain in Africa in less than 24 hours, setting the record as the fastest Asian and Pakistani to accomplish the feat.
“When I reached the top, I had Ali Sadpara’s photo with me,” Memon told Arab News over the phone from Tanzania. “I wanted him to be there at the summit with me.”
Feb 16 2021: Alhumdulillah, I became the only Asian & Pakistani to climb #kilimanjaro in less than 24hours.
It took complete 20hours to summit and return back to the gate.#kilimanjaro #pakistan #record pic.twitter.com/fICUJ2ilWN
— AsadAliMemon (@asadmnpak) February 16, 2021
Sadpara, 45, was attempting a winter ascent of K2, the world’s second tallest mountain, when he went missing, along with two other expedition members, on February 5. The group strived to summit the mountain only a few days after a team from Nepal accomplished the feat in January this year.
“It’s sad to see what happened, but that’s what mountaineering is like,” said Memon, who himself faced unexpected weather conditions that delayed his climb and forced him to descend the mountain in the dark. “Getting to the top was easy, getting down was difficult.”
Kilimanjaro stands at 5,895 meters (19,341 feet) above sea level and about 4,900 meters (16,100 ft) above its plateau base. Memon scaled it in 20 hours, an accomplishment that was shared by the Pakistan embassy in Tanzania.
He told Arab News he was not aiming to make a record when he first decided to go to Kilimanjaro. In fact, he went to Tanzania when his plan to visit Alaska in the United States was thwarted due to virus-related travel restrictions.
“Even after doing initial research, I didn’t realize a record could be made here,” he said. “Then I found out that no one from Asia, let alone Pakistan, had summited Kilimanjaro in less than 24 hours. From that point on, I was truly motivated. I started training and left for the climb after three months.”
Memon, who hails from Larkana in Pakistan’s Sindh province, decided at a young age that he wanted to join the world of extreme sports. Mountaineering became his profession after he studied it for some time in Islamabad.
He self-financed his ventures, climbing mountains in places like Africa, South America and Russia. Now he hopes for financial support to summit the tallest peaks on all seven continents.
“Sponsorships can make it happen,” said Memon. “I will go to Antarctica, Alaska and do my best to climb K2. My plans are in place, and I just need to work out the financial side of it.”