The mountaineering legend Mehrban Shah belongs to Shimshal valley, Upper Hunza, Gilgit Baltistan, Pakistan; Shimshal keep a unique status in whole mountaineering world where every 3rd or 4th person is a mountaineer.
He was born in 1957 and started his climbing career in 1991 under the mentorship of then famous climber late Rajab Shah who successfully climbed all five 8000ers in Pakistan. In 1995 Rajab-Mehrban duo successfully climbed K2. At that time he held the title of youngest Pakistani climber to summit K2, later on Ali Durani from Hushe valley, Baltistan took over this title summiting K2 at the age of 24 in 2014 with the Pakistan K2 expedition team with the technical and financial support of Italians.
The significant accomplishments of Mehrban Shah climbing career;
- Summit of Gasherbrum I (8068m) in 1992
- Summit of K2 (8611m) in 1995
- Summit of Passu peak ( 7478 m) in 1996
- Summit of Gasherbrum II (8035m) in 1998 & 1999
- Summit of Broad Peak (8030m) in 2001
He participated in 1997 Sino-Pak expedition to Everest. Mehrban & Rajab duo worked extremely hard for this chance of once in life time. It’s allegedly believed that Rajab and Mehrban were in best position to make it to the top of Everest, when they were sent back to base camp by senior climbers. After this unsuccessful attempt, his main distress was not being able to scale a mountain that he felt was child’s play as compared to the many fold tough and arduous K2.
Mehrban Shah firmly believes in gender equality in every field of life including climbing and mountaineering. In 2007 he climbed Mingling Sar (6050m) along with his daughter-in-law. Mehrban Shah is an instructor and vice president of Shimshal Mountaineering School with mission statement, “To promote adventure sports as a profession, disaggregated by gender and sex for the youth of mountain region of Pakistan in a sustainable manner, through boosting professional skills.”
He was honored with President’s Pride of Performance Award in the field of Mountaineering in 1993 which was presented to him by then President of Pakistan late Farooq Leghari.
In 2005, Mehrban put down his ice axe and his sons also urged him to retire from climbing. Currently he is living a happy life in Shimsah and watching things grow.