In memory of Nanga Parbat tragedy, a women expedition team starts climbing Mount Everest

BEIJING: A four members of the first ever private Chinese women expedition to Mount Everest (Qomolangma) left from Kathmandu Tuesday to fulfill their dream of conquering the world’s highest peak from the south, reports state media.

Ma Liyamu, the team leader, is a Muslim woman from Xinjiang, which is located in the northwest of China. She started doing outdoor sports in 1996, and if she successfully reaches Everest’s 8,848-metre-high peak, she will be the first woman from her region and community to achieve such a feat, said Xinhua news agency in a dispatch from Kathmandu.

Ma Liyamu organized the expedition following the death of a fellow climber who was murdered last year by gunmen at the Base Camp of Nanga Parbat, Pakistan’s second highest peak.

“He was a very good friend and we decided to organize this first Chinese women expedition to the world’s highest peak in his honor,” Yong Liu, who has been “coaching” the female-only group both physically and mentally, said.

“In the past, women from my community were subjected to a lot of pressure but things in the Muslim tradition have changed, and I am receiving a lot of support and encouragement from my community, ” Ma Liyamu told Xinhua on the eve of their departure.

For the expedition team, making it to the summit of Mount Everest is less important than proving that a common dream and a lot of teamwork can surmount differences in skills, experience and ethnicity.

Tsang Yin Hung, a teacher from Hong Kong, set up the challenging vision of climbing Mount Everest with 400 of her students four years ago.

“This was my way of showing my students that you can actually turn your dreams into reality. At the beginning I thought I was the one supporting them, but now I realized that they are actually the ones supporting me,” the 39-year-old teacher told Xinhua.