By Deema Al Bugmi
Mount Kilimanjaro is no match for this group of Saudis.
On Sept. 28 last year a group of young men from Khobar went on an adventure to reach the top of the world. Aziz Al Omran, Ryan Al Zamil, Ziyad Al Zamil, Aziz Al Rabia, Marwan Al Khulaiwi and Abdullah Al Maghlouth climbed Mount Kilimanjaro, standing tall at 5,895 meters as the highest freestanding mountain in the world.
The inspiration behind their journey was about new experiences and trying something out of the ordinary and they chose Kilimanjaro because of its high success rate. The climb took seven days, no showers (yikes!) and a whole lot of will power.
I had a quick sit-down with Al Omran and asked a few questions about their journey.
What were the challenges you faced?
The whole experience was very challenging, right from the planning phase. It was hard for us to know what to expect because we’d never done this before.
Mentally, you had to be prepared for whatever came your way while always determined to reach the summit. Physically, the biggest challenge we faced was altitude sickness. Some of us had intense reactions that included severe headaches, diarrhea and even passing out so close to the summit.
How did you feel when you reached the top?
At that moment when we reached the summit and saw the breathtaking view, we all forgot how tired we were and an incredible sense of serenity came upon us. It’s very difficult to put in words how we felt, but we couldn’t contain our excitement and sense of accomplishment. With immense pride and having just celebrated Saudi’s national day, we planted the Saudi flag on the highest freestanding mountain in the world.
What are your takeaways from the experience?
I learned so much from this trip. Because it was my first time in Africa, it was an insight into a whole new culture. The tribes we came across led a simple and old-fashioned lifestyle and taught me a valuable lesson about appreciating the simple pleasures in life.
My friends and I agreed that the entire journey was very dependent on team effort and the support of one another. When one of us fell, we had to pick them up and push through together until they regained their strength.
Most importantly, I learned and highly recommend that everyone pursue and experience their dreams and earn that most satisfying sense of accomplishment and fulfillment.
What is your advice to future climbers who were inspired by your experience?
My advice for future climbers is to prepare yourselves mentally and physically, be patient and never give up on yourself. Don’t listen to anyone who wants to discourage you or stop you from accomplishing your dreams!