Mount Everest is the Earth’s highest mountain, with a peak at 8,848 meters above sea level and the 5th tallest mountain measured from the center of the Earth. It is located in the Mahalangur section of the Himalayas and it was first ascended by Tenzing Norgay, Edmund Hillary on May 29, 1953. Exactly 60 years after that I’ll be standing up on the highest point on Earth. It all depends mainly on weather, but I’m hoping to make my dream come true at some point between May 25th, my 35 birthday, and May 29th the most significant date in the history of mountaineering as we know it these days.
In order to prepare for this challenge I have climbed many other mountains, not too high in most cases, but with passion, determination and the right training I’m sure I’ll be able to cope with the extreme altitude and severe weather conditions. Training in Dubai to climb Mt Everest might seem foolish, but I’m absolutely convinced this place is not only a gateway for many expats looking to make their dreams come true from the “financial” point of view, but also for some of us who get inspired by those who managed to transform a small city located southeast of the Persian Gulf, into the cosmopolitan metropolis that has grown steadily to become a business and cultural hub of the Middle East and the Persian Gulf region nowadays. The idea of “nothing is impossible”, who is bringing Dubai to the focal point of citizens around the world, is what it drives people like me to attempt our Everest Dream, standing on the highest point on Earth and coming back safe an happy to share the story with others, while changing our own perception of the World.
Training in Dubai during summer time might seem to be extreme for those who are not used to the weather of a tropical desert climate. But climbing some sections of the route up to the summit of Everest is not much different. The Western Cwm, an area climbers go through to reach the summit, can be very hot with temperatures over 37C. While on summit day temperatures can drop down to -62C. Training in extreme weather conditions really helps developing mechanisms in our body to adapt to the conditions in Everest. Training outdoors in Dubai has proved to be very beneficial for me as I prepared for other challenges in the last two years. I have recently blogged about it here
Some people might also think the orography of UAE is not the most appropriate to prepare for a climb like this. However many people don’t know we have plenty of beautiful mountains, which in some cases are higher than those we find in the home countries of many famous climbers we follow on their challenges around the world. UAE and Oman is a fantastic playground for outdoor enthusiast, and that included Altitude Junkies like me. We might not have snow in our mountains but we are one step away from countries like Iran that stock one of the best selection of 4000m peaks in the World
On top of that, in Dubai we have a big advantage when it comes to train for positive gradient every day. Not many people can go on a long drive to hike 1200m or as higher after work. And that applies to citizens of Dubai as well as those living in Chamonix, France. However what we have in Dubai is the largest number of skyscrapers in just one town. That allows me to train for positive gradient in many different buildings whenever I want. Last year I was visiting friends and climbing the staircase in the buildings where they live. Dubai Trade Center, Dubai Marina, Greens, Tecom, JLT… the possibilities are endless and the result is that you get stronger by the day.
This year I decided to plan for a comprehensive training where I increase elevation gain in a long staircase every week, starting with 750m in the first session and finishing with 2000m
by Mach 30th right before I leave to Tibet and Everest. My training plan is ambitious and cannot be executed in random places, so I was a bit concerned about finding the right building where to train two-three times per week. Then I looked at the DMCC Almas Tower in JLT, the tallest commercial building in the Middle East, located just 10 minutes away from my house in The Springs. This 63-floor purpose built tower is home to over 300 regional and international companies from the entire value chain in the diamonds and colored stones sector. Almas means Diamond in Arabic, and I felt like discovering a mine when I first heard back from Patricia Adem, from the JLTCommunity Services team in DMCC, after I sent one email with my expedition dossier and request to use DMCC facilities to train every day. Patricia and her colleague Andrew Fairie kindly accepted to hold a meeting were to discuss the best way to help me achieving my goals, and few days after that I was provided with authorization to use Almas Tower facilities as a gateway to the summit of Mt Everest.
Dubai Multi Commodities Centre (DMCC), a government authority established in 2002 to enhance commodity trade flows through Dubai, performs several roles which have firmly established Dubai as a regional and international trading hub. DMCC regulates, promotes and facilitates trade across a range of commodities sectors, including gold, diamonds, pearls, precious metals and tea . It is also the licensing authority and the master developer of the JLT Free Zone which is home to over 5,900 companies and over 55,000 people living and working across 64 towers. Major multinational companies (the likes of DeBeers, LVMH, Harley Davidson, Tilda and Damas) as well as small and medium enterprises across all sectors have made the Jumeirah Lakes Towers (JLT) free zone their home. And today I am proudly sponsored by DMCC and I used the Almas Tower to climb up and down 4352 floors, 16552m vertical distance and 8276m cumulative elevation in only 10 nonconsecutive days. And this is just the beginning… With DMCC’s support I will climb three times the altitude of Mt Everest (8848m) in the Almas Tower before I leave to conquer the Top of The World!