By Leslie Fernandez
Fahad Badar is a Qatari senior banker who decided to reconnect with a passion he had put on hold for many years: climbing mountains. In February 2018 he climbed Kilimanjaro (Africa), without a single clue of the long journey that was waiting for him in the field of mountaineering. Nevertheless, he always kept one goal in mind: reaching the top of Mount Everest. This is his story.
“I heard many times that we should go where we feel the most alive, and for me that place is in the mountains. They represent the perfect environment for introspection, self-awareness, stillness, and growth.” – says Fahad, who became the first Arab to double summit Everest and Lhotse (1st and 4th highest mountains in the world) in one single attempt. This experience was not only life changing, but also a milestone achieved in the mountaineering history of the Middle East.
Fahad Badar’s passion for mountains shines through his eyes. After succeeding in the Himalayas, he conquered Mount Vinson – the highest peak in Antartica – in January 2020, followed by a winter expedition to summit Ama Dablam in January 2021. Dealing with extreme conditions like sub-zero temperatures or high-speed winds are some of the challenges that Fahad has faced among his expeditions, but rather than an obstacle he sees them as perfect opportunities for testing his skills or acquiring new ones. He constantly emphasizes how commitment, determination, discipline, and resilience have been pillars in the process of achieving his goals.
A Long-Sought Dream
The aim of becoming a mountaineer began in 2003 when he visited Nepal. “I remember seeing Mount Everest for the first time and straight away knowing that I will climb it one day”, said Fahad.
With an eager dream of climbing Mount Everest, the young banker completed his MBA in Durham University in 2006. Seven years later and after building a successful corporate career, he finally planned to accomplish his dream of becoming a mountaineer by climbing Mount Kilimanjaro. However, the plan couldn’t get a chase due to his constant work commitments.
It was only in 2018 that Fahad Badar finally got a chance to begin his successful mountaineering career.
The Three Peaks in 2018
2018 was the year where Fahad’s mountaineering career began, climbing three mountains situated in three different continents of the world. His first expedition was to Mount Kilimanjaro- the highest peak in Africa- in February.
After this successful trip, Fahad reached the peak of Mount Elbrus – highest peak in Russia and Europe – and ended the year with a successful expedition to Jebel Shams in Oman –the 8th tallest peak in the Middle East.
Conquering the World’s Highest Summit
In 2019, Fahad became the first-ever Arab male to double summit two of the highest mountains in the world, Mount Everest and Mount Lhotse (1st and 4th highest respectively). These two peaks belong to the Himalaya mountain range as well as being part of the 14 independent mountains on Earth with an elevation of more than 8000 meters above sea level. He is the second Qatari to reach Mount Everest.
Skiing to the Last Degree
In December 2019, Fahad concluded the year 2019 skiing to the Last Degree in the South Pole. The journey included pulling a sled on extreme weather conditions such as temperatures below 0⁰C, Antarctic winds, or 24 hours of daylight throughout 111 km. After successfully reaching the target, he immediately began the ascent of Mount Vinson, the highest peak in Antarctica.
Scaled Ama Dablam in Winter 2020-2021
Despite the COVID-19 pandemic broadly affected mountaineering, Fahad waited until December 2020 and successfully scaled the Ama Dablam in Nepal.
According to him, Everest and Lhotse were the most demanding expeditions. However, his recent Ama Dablam adventure was the toughest due to the winter conditions and level of endurance required. For example, the almost-vertical steep sections and an enormous ridge in between Camp 1 and Camp 3 made the experience extremely difficult during this season of the year.
Regarding Ama Dablam, this mountain can only be climbed twice per year, from April to May, or from September to October. However, Fahad decided to attempt the summit in December as a preparation for his next Broadpeak expedition in Pakistan, planned for the year 2021.
Fahad Badar’s Tips for becoming a successful mountaineer
Having the Right Support System
Fahad considers that it is indispensable to be surrounded by people who support your journey towards achieving goals. From family to friends, it is important to count on others during journey, for both celebrating victories as well as embracing failure. Having a circle that supports our decisions and believes in us, despite the difficulties and obstacles, will only boost our self-confidence and strengthen our convictions.
The Extraordinary MAP (Mental and Physical) Training
Mountaineering needs a whole new level of physical conditioning. Fahad comprehensively trained himself on multiple aspects, such as building endurance, developing cardiovascular fitness, or increasing his strength and balance.
With all the physical training, Fahad also prioritizes his mental health by including daily routines of meditation and mindfulness for increasing his self-awareness, reducing stress, and being in control of his thoughts. He believes that having a still mind is fundamental for succeeding in extreme conditions where our survival mode is constantly tested.
Fahad also incorporated a stretching routine in his training for enhancing the recovery process after a workout while reducing the risk of injuries.
Commitment is a daily practice
According to the Arab climber, the success of a training plan requires dedication and discipline that involves more than one element of your lifestyle. You can’t achieve your training goals without incorporating a healthy diet and adequate sleep. These elements are crucial and can’t be neglected.
Failure is not an option
Fahad finds a sense of peace and contentment in mountaineering. That’s why he never gave up on his dreams. He worked harder towards his goals and created history. His message to the aspiring mountaineers is ‘It may not be easy, but it will be totally worth it.”
Proud of Qatar
Showing the Qatari flag at the highest altitudes in the Earth is surely an honor for Fahad Badar.
According to him, passion is a contagious feature. Moreover, mountaineering transforms anyone into their better versions as it imprints resilience and strength in the individual’s character. This sport can build vital ethics and skills required to embrace failure and celebrate success at the same time.
Failure is also a source of wisdom
Fahad Badar constantly reinforces the importance of embracing failure and the lessons that come within.
“What if I told you that some of the best lessons I’ve learned were from the moments I’ve failed?” Fahad revealed. The famous saying that rock bottoms would teach you the lessons that mountaintops never will is probably one of the most vital truths so far.
“Always aim high, be humble, be firm, trust in yourself, and never give up on your dreams.” Thanks for the lessons you have shared Fahad.