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Updated: June 20, 2012 11:47 IST

Scaling new heights

Staff Reporter
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Ali Razvi, well-known for his climbing prowess, who climbed Mt. Elbrus, which is considered to be the highest point in Europe, is geographically the dividing line between Europe and Asia, in Hyderabad. Photo: M.Subhash
The Hindu Ali Razvi, well-known for his climbing prowess, who climbed Mt. Elbrus, which is considered to be the highest point in Europe, is geographically the dividing line between Europe and Asia, in Hyderabad. Photo: M.Subhash

Ali Razvi makes it to Europe’s highest peak Mt. Elbrus

What is it like to brave temperatures that drop to minus 35 degree Celsius at a height of 5,642 metres above sea level? When the howling winds and the persistent snow make it impossible to sleep at night?

When you have to subsist on a bowl of soup, bread and, if lucky, on boiled eggs for a week? What will be the physical condition, when a person loses close to six kgs in a matter of a day or two at high altitudes?

“Well, everyone has a different body type and unique ways to react under harsh conditions. I felt, my body just became a machine that was meant to climb and climb more. You have to tune your body to overcome the harsh weather if you have to reach the summit,” says mountaineer Ali Razvi, who is back in Hyderabad after successfully scaling Europe’s highest peak Mt. Elbrus.

Still with his deep-brown tanned face, the climber recalled his experiences during his attempt on Mt. Elbrus.

“I was with an International team of climbers. The ascent from the high camp, which is 3,800 metres above sea level, to the summit was 1,850 metres. We completed that in 12 hours. It took us another six hours for the descent. In all, it was 18 hours of non-stop trekking,” he recalls.

Before the attempt on the summit, the team spent one week at the foothills of Mt. Elbrus to get acclimatised to conditions. While climbing down, the weather on Mt. Elbrus went awry. “We could spend just ten minutes on the summit before the weather started playing truant.

During descent, at one stage, the visibility came down to just three feet. While climbing, there is a very steep 900 metres section on Mt. Elbrus. It took me five to six hours just to climb through this section,” he points out. Despite carrying sunscreen and covering face as much as possible from the harsh sun during the climb, the mountaineer could not avoid the thick layer of dark brown tan. “You just can’t avoid sunburn. In fact, I have also suffered frostbite on my lips but fortunately nothing to worry about.

Before the expedition, I weighed 67 kg and now I am around 61 kg. A good way of losing weight and staying fit,” says the 41-year-old climber with a smile.

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