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In focusSpotlightChecking off the Everest Base Camp from the Bucket List

Checking off the Everest Base Camp from the Bucket List

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BTW had the pleasure of meeting with the Award-Winning Bahraini Speaker & Amazon’s Bestselling Author, Mohamed Isa on his recent Expedition to Everest Base Camp.

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Why Everest Base Camp?

I am always looking for a new challenge to expand my comfort zone’s boundaries.  In October 2021, I was delivering a course to a Bank in Riyadh.  I told them about my many adventures during a break, including jumping from an airplane to celebrate my 40th birthday.  I jokingly commented I was not sure what to do next.  Perhaps, I should go to Mount Everest.  Little did I know that it would be my reality in May 2022.  So that was it.  I floated a random idea, and it came back to me.  I reached Everest Base Camp at a height of 5,364 meters.

What are the main challenges of reaching Everest Base Camp?

The expedition is challenging both mentally and physically.  This is common knowledge for anyone who researches this adventure.  I will talk about a less-known challenge: Getting the right insurance policy for the expedition.  The policy must cover items, including, among other things, helicopter evacuation, accidents at heights over 5,000 meters, and psychiatric counseling sessions for mental health recovery in case of injuries.  I searched for such policy in Bahrain and the entire Gulf States Countries, but I found none.  Ultimately, a friend of mine, who works as an insurance broker, advised contacting a company in Australia to get the policy.  I got it.  It was relatively expensive.

Let’s go back to the physical and mental preparation.  Which one is more important?

Mental preparation is more critical for making it to the Base Camp.  If your mind tells you, you cannot do it; then you are done.  If you do not take it from me, take it from the Omani Champion Suliman Al-Naabi, who summited Mount Everest on 12 May 2022, one day before we reached the Base Camp.  I had the privilege of talking to him before flying out from Kathmandu.  He told me his mental preparation was more important than his physical one.  According to him, if your mind and heart say yes to a challenge or an objective, you become unstoppable.  And I agree with that.  I was not fully prepared physically for the expedition, but in my mind, I was mentally prepared the day I decided to go.

Tell us about the Expedition Team.

We were six adventurers.  Myself, Ahmed Salman, Hasan Ali, and Mai Moosa are from Bahrain.  Hamad Al-Zaidi is from the UAE.  Kawthar Al-Habsi is from Oman.  The memories we created together during the expedition will last a lifetime.  We struggled together.  We laughed together.  And we reached Everest Base Camp together.  We also had our Nepalese Guide Ganesh and three Sherpa Porters who made our journey possible.  While we carried what we consider loaded backpacks, each porter carried two duffle bags with weights up to 40 kilograms!

What was the most inspiring moment for you during the expedition?

In 2001, I worked in Dubai.  During my time there, I took a grueling wall-climbing course.  Our instructor asked us what the most important body part is for climbing.  We had a split.  Some said the hands.  Others said the legs.  We were all wrong.  He told us; it was the eyes.  The eyes chart the path to the climb.  The hands and the legs do the work.  Knowing this, I was very impressed and inspired when I was having breakfast in our lodge in Phakding to see a blind lady take on the challenge of reaching the Everest Base Camp.  I met her again in Lukla after she conquered the camp.  Her name is Jennifer Doherty.  She is Irish.  Google her.  The BBC featured her achievement recently.

You never miss an opportunity to write a new book.  Any plans?

Absolutely.  I am planning to write a book about our expedition.  It is called – The Everest Experience.  The book cover is ready.  The skeleton of the book is taking shape.  I will talk about my decision to join the expedition, preparation rituals, and highlights from the journey.  The book will feature several appendices on matters like facts and figures on Nepal and Everest and a checklist for the required gear.  And, of course, stunning pictures from our expedition.

What is next?

God willing, in 2023, I will plant Bahrain’s flag on a summit, not a single Bahraini reached before.  I will only reveal the details of the expedition on the date of my flight.  The summit height is almost 7,000 meters, and the expedition will be 33-day long.  Ultimately, it is part of my preparation to reach the summit of Mount Everest at the height of 8,848 meters within the coming three years if I get the appropriate level of funding and sponsorships from corporates in Bahrain.  Summiting Everest requires considerable time and money investments.

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