Muscat, July 17 – Hamed al Harthi has become the first Omani-Arab to scale the summit of Kilimanjaro, Tanzania, within a day (18 hours). Kilimanjaro, situated at a height of 5,895 metres, has inspired many mountaineers to take the journey up to the summit.
Usually, it is a seven-day trip. This was Hamed’s fifth trip to the mountain.
He wanted to do it one day, a task he accomplished on July 5. “The experience was amazing. Attempting to complete it in one day did create doubts in my mind. But it happened. When you believe in something, everything will fall into place,” said Hamed.
As for the lessons learnt, he said it is to “stay determined and practise even when it is tough”. On why he took up the challenge, Hamed, who works in the banking sector, said: “Maybe to prove age is no barrier. I felt instead of seven days, I could climb Kilimanjaro in a day. I took it as a challenge and I am glad I could do it.”
He underwent ten months of preparation to be physically fit.
He climbed Jabal al Akhdar, Jabal Shams and hiked up to 50 km on weekends and went for regular walks even during Ramadhan.
“It was a lot of commitment. I would hike almost every day. Twice a week, I would go up to Jabal al Akhdar.
“This involved going up and down the mountain. I used to trek at night during Ramadhan. I would trek for up to 8 km before iftar. After breaking the fast, I would complete the remainder of the distance.”
Immediately after the Eid holidays, Hamed headed to Tanzania to climb Mount Meru twice, taking three days each time, in order to acclimatise himself to the high altitude.
He was accompanied by a ranger each time to drive away wild animals.
This was followed by his climb to the Kilimanjaro in four days.
He began his ascent to the summit at 4.15 am on July 5.
By 11.15 pm, he had reached the summit. During the climb, he faced challenges such as heavy downpour (for five hours). At the first camp, the guide fell sick and he had to be replaced by his assistant, which caused some delay.
That made Hamed reach the summit later than expected. Tough conditions awaited him — thick ice and darkness. “We had to go around 45 minutes until we found the marked area of the summit. Once we found it, we recorded it, took pictures and began to descend,” said Hamed.
Climbing mountains has been his passion for the last 15 years. He has gone up the Jabal Al Akhdar and Jabal Shams in Oman; Mount Aconcagua of Argentina; the Alps in Switzerland; Karisimbi in Rwanda; Rwenzori Mountains, Uganda; Mount Meru, Tanzania; and, of course, Mount Kilimanjaro.
Hamed takes four and a half hours to reach the summit of Jabal Al Akhdar. As for Jabal Shams, he takes two hours.
Hamed used to be a long distance runner. While he stopped running in the 80s, he took to mountain-climbing in mid-2000.
What would he want to scale next? “Given the opportunity and resources, I would like to climb the Mount Everest. I could climb it differently.”