On 17th October 2010, Salah Salim Ahmed Al Habsi became the first climber from UAE (United Arab Emirates) to summit Mera Peak (6654m). The highest of Nepal’s trekking peaks, Mera Peak lies to the south of Everest, dominating the watershed between the wild and beautiful valleys of the Hinku and Hongu.
After his return to Kathmandu, we got to meet Mr. Al Habsi. It was a delight to meet this friendly and courteous climber, who is also a Lieutenant Colonel and Lecturer at Police College, Abu Dhabi Police G.H.Q. He seemed elated to have accomplished his mission and was grateful to the team from Explore Himalaya for their support in organizing his expedition. He said, “I am grateful to Explore Himalaya and the team of sherpas who made it easy for me to reach the top. They did a lot of hard work.”
Coming from a country devoid of high mountains (according to Wikipedia the highest point in UAE is a 1910m unnamed knoll), I couldn’t help asking how he got interested in mountaineering. Speaking about his passion for climbing, he said he got hooked onto climbing while he was studying in USA. According to him he has done a lot of climbing in America and Europe. In Nepal he has already summitted Island peak and Mera Peak. When asked what’s next on his agenda, he replied “Everest in March 2011!”
I have heard it often times and I heard it from from Al Habsi too. Like many others who had visited nepal, Mr. Al Habsi’s views did not differ: “Nepal is a beautiful country and it’s a great place to visit. The people are nice and the place is worth visiting, but the country needs to develop it’s infrastructure. I think to attract high end tourists the infrastructure needs to be developed.”
Let’s keep our fingers crossed that the people concerned will take note of Mr. Al Habsi’s suggestion!
To know more about his views on climbing and others, check the video clip.