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10-year-old Girl is Youngest to Climb 7,000-metre Peak

Selena Khawaja recently climbed Spantik Peak in the Himalayas

Selena Khawaja is only 10 years old, but she just climbed the 7,027-metre-tall Spantik Peak becoming the youngest person to ever climb a mountain over 7,000 metres. The mountain is in the Karakoram subrange in Gilgit Baltistan’s Nagar Valley.

The young Pakistani girl already holds a number of records for summiting 5,000- and 6,000-metre mountains. In June, she climbed Mingli Sar (6,050m) and in 2018 she made headlines when she reached the top of the 5,765-metre Quz Sar Peak.

According to many news outlets, Khawaja will be attempting to climb Broad Peak (8,051 metres), the world’s 12th highest mountain, before she heads on to attempt the 8,848-metre-high Mount Everest later this year.

A few months ago, 10-year-old Selah Schneiter became the youngest climber ever to get up The Nose on El Cap. She climbed it with her dad, Mike, and family friend Mark Regier over five days.

“I might seem like a crazy dad, but I was there to watch her and help her with her every move and making sure she faces minimum risks during the climb,” Mike said. And Selah said, “I just like being away from the rest of the world. I like the skills; it’s good to be active. I like it when you get to be in nature; that’s really key for me.” Most recently, she led a 5.10 at Rifle, Colorado.

The news of a 10-year-old climbing The Nose was met with criticism from some climbers and congratulations from others. There are many differences between climbing a multi-pitch rock climb and climbing an alpine peak at a high elevation, such as objective hazards and altitude-related health issues.

The news of a 10-year-old being guided up a 7,000-metre peak hasn’t seemed to stir much controversy among big mountain climbers, however once she is taken into the 8,000-metre range, folks might feel differently.

However, since there’s an official list of the youngest climbers to have climbed the biggest peaks (Malavath Purna is the youngest girl up Everest at 13 years old and 11 months and Jordan Romero is the youngest boy at 13 years and 10 months) then maybe there won’t be much criticism at all.

Selah Schnieter on El Cap Photo courtesy the Schnieter family