Vol. 5 Num 741 Wed. June 28, 2006  
Star City

First Bangladeshi mountaineers on Frey peak
They do us proud

Musa Ibrahim and Sajal Khaled went down in the books of history to become the first ever Bangladeshi mountaineers to reach a mountain peak.

The Bangladeshi duo completed their expedition to the peak of Frey Mountain at a height of 19,125 feet from India last May.

"A mountain expedition is very tough, and may be the only reason why it is so adventurous. The tastes of exploring new world and success remedies all the struggles," said Ibrahim.

Both Ibrahim and Khaled said that this was the first ever-successful attempt to the summit of any mountain by a Bangladeshi. Their success has now inspired them to conquer Mount Everest, the highest peak in the world, by 2010.

They had been making attempts to reach the peak of a mountain since 2003 but failed due to various reasons.

"We were very close to the Mera peak (21,000 feet) in Nepal in May 2005. But we had to return due to bad weather just before we almost reached the summit," said Khaled.

But they did not give up hope and their determination proved fruitful when they reached the Frey Mountain peak.

The Bangladeshi mountaineers underwent rigorous training under the Himalayan Mountaineering Institute in India before starting their expedition to Frey peak. After training, the 10-member team (the other eight were Indian mountaineers) started their journey to the Advance Base Camp (ABC) at 16,500 feet of Frey.

"From the base camp of the Mountain we had to climb up to the ABC along a 70-degree inclined glacier while rest of the journey was more challenging," said Khaled.

"On the final day we climbed 2,500 feet against severe crude weather. Drizzles and continuous snowfall made our journey highly risky. It was a complete white-out situation with temperature at minus five degrees Celsius," said Ibrahim describing the final moment to the peak.

Absence of sufficient air made them suffer during most of the time of climbing. When the team had only 100 feet left to reach the peak, they found they were short of fixed rope, the main support of mountaineers.

"We were so upset thinking that we would have to return as losers once again," said Khaled.

The climbers decided to fetch a rope from a position immediately below them.

"We were hanging by the 80 degree inclined wall of the mountain with help of only a fixed rope," said Ibrahim.

They finally reached the peak at 3:30 pm on May 22 after climbing continuously for eight hours.

"When we reached the peak it was so cold we could not express our joy completely. After a quick photo session, we left our destination," said the proud mountaineers. "We were on the top for only two or three minutes," they added.

"The toughest part of the mountaineering was to acclimatise to the weather and other situations, which are unpredictable at most times. Another thing is both the training and climbing are costly. One has to pay $50,000 as fees to attempt to win Mount Everest from Nepal side," said Ibrahim and Khaled.

The two mountaineers, who are members of Bangla Mountaineering and Trekking Club, are hopeful to reach the Mount Everest in 2010 and if they become successful it will be the maiden Mount Everest expedition by any Bangladeshi.

"We have planned for expedition of the Ladakh Mountain (23,000 feet) in the Himachal state of India this September and we will continue with our practice to successfully reach the Everest," said Ibrahin and Khaled with determination.

(Left photo) Musa Ibrahim (on the left) and Sajal Khaled just before the final leg to reach the Frey peak. (Right photo) Sajal on his way to the top of the mountain