"The only disability in life is a bad attitude; as I turn 43 today, I remind myself to keep going, keep dreaming, and never give up."
Welcome to the next instalment of our personal inspiration series! Today we tell a story which demonstrates that anything is possible so long as it is approached with resilience and grit. Follow along and read his journey and the lessons that we have learnt from Fahad Badar, an individual with an immense passion for mountaineering who powered on through adversity.
Fahad Badar's Background
A banker by profession, Fahad Badar was always enthusiastic about the outdoors and held a lifelong dream to reach some of the world's most famous summits - including Everest itself.
Even though he had been practising martial arts since his late teens, he hadn't previously undertaken any training in mountaineering, so with an unwavering determination to realise his childhood dream he took the leap - the time was right to begin training for his first expedition. The goal he had set himself was a big one, to conquer the Seven Summits - a mountaineering challenge in which the highest mountain of each of the seven continents is conquered.
Now, bear in mind this is no small feat. Jason and I have scaled numerous mountains in the UK and Spain, our highest (to our knowledge) being Scafell Pike the highest mountain in England, which pales in comparison to even the smallest mountain that Fahad was to attempt. To commemorate our success, we created the Scafell Pike Leather Patch and Hip Flask.
Fahad began an intensive training regime in the run up to his first expedition. His background in Aikido and enthusiasm in martial arts supported this journey. In order to ensure that he did everything in the most optimal manner, from training to diet, he consulted with numerous sports professionals and mountaineers.
With this training and preparation well underway, he gave himself the goal of summiting 3 peaks in 2018. He embarked on his first summit, Mount Kilimanjaro (which stands at 5,895m), the highest peak in Africa and was able to attain the feat in February 2018. He then went on to conquer Mt. Elbrus in Europe 6 months later, which stood at 5,642m. The third mountain he intended to complete was his highest yet - Mt. Aconcagua, which stood at 6,921m. However, he was unfortunately unable to do so and came back from camp 2 of the mountain which stood at 5,500m. This setback, however, didn’t deter his passion and gave him further resolve, desire and determination to stand atop the highest mountain in the world, Mt. Everest.
The following year, he went on to make history, he was the first Arab to ever conquer Mt. Everest (8,848.86m) and Mt. Lhotse (8,156m) in a single expedition - this huge achievement didn’t stop his ambition. He went on to complete Mont Blanc and Matterhorn in the summer and finished the year with a 7 day long adventure doing The Last Degree Expedition, which involves skiing from the Antarctic plateau to the South Pole.
Soon after, in 2020, he continued on to attempt Mt. Vinson (4,892m), the coldest mountain in the world but was unfortunately unable to complete the climb. It was at this point that the dreaded Covid-19 swept the world and due to restrictions, he was unable to summit any other mountain that year.
With itchy feet and desire of getting back into the mountains, he chose to break his mountaineering hiatus by climbing to the summit of Ama Dablam in Nepal (6,812m) a choice that was seen as worthy preparation for his next expedition, Broad Peak. In June 2021, he left for Broad Peak, a mountain which Fahad also chose as part of his training regime and one which would prove to be one of the most pivotal mountains he would climb thus far, putting him in great peril.
Fahad Badar's Frostbitten Fingers
On his venture up Broad Peak, a series of unfortunate occurrences led to Fahad running out of oxygen whilst descending the mountain. He was alone on his descent and this, coupled with a lack of oxygen led to life threatening conditions. A lack of oxygen often causes confusion and exhaustion, a terrifying prospect when mountaineering alone, where trails can be lost and hypothermia can take hold. These conditions and the state of his well being led to him being gravely frostbitten on his hands, and suffering hallucinations. Fahad survived this harrowing event faced with the reality that he had lost the use of many of his fingers. It was a time of worry and concern - what limitations might these changes force upon him? Would he still be able to scale mountains?
Following his amputation, he knew he absolutely couldn’t abandon his love for mountains. With his sheer determination to not give up, he returned to his training to conquer K2 (8,611m), the second largest mountain in the world. With a fatality rate of 25%, this was certainly no easy feat. His hard work and resolve would finally pay off with him conquering K2 on July 22 of 2022. This renewed sense of vigour and achievement in the light of adversity has spurred Fahad on to begin planning the completion of The Seven Summits challenge and we can't wait to follow his coming achievements.
Fahad Badar on K2
Fahad’s journey is certainly one which shows how the power of the mind can really propel us to achieve our goals. He faced isolation, fear and pain and yet it wasn’t enough to drive him away from his passions. Alright, it’s time for me to dust off my journal and write up some new goals to conquer! I hope you'll join me in doing so too…
P.S. Are you a conqueror of the three British Peaks (Ben Nevis, Scafell Pike, and Snowdon)? Commemorate your trip with our British Three Peaks Leather Patches!