On top of the world
It is refreshing to see women not shying away from extreme adventures.
Whether it is scaling buildings, deep sea diving, or climbing mountains, women are breaking the stereotypes of such intense activities being limited only to men. By braving through such adventures, women are boldly making a name for themselves, and Bahraini Sheikha Noora Al Khalifa is among such women.
Deciding to accompany climber Ahmed Jaffar on his trip to Mt. Kilimanjaro, Sheikha Noora spoke to Perle Magazine before embarking on the journey; a trail lead by and named after Mr. Ahmed Jaffar himself.
How do you and Mr. Jaffar know each other?
I read about his first expedition in the newspaper and I also heard about his other journeys to different places. I got to meet him at a seminar we organized, he was the guest speaker, and I got to know more about his expeditions; how he challenged his Parkinson’s Disease, went to Antarctica, Mt. Kilimanjaro, skydiving in Norfolk in Virginia, and his Mongolian horse back trail. The way he conquered all these adventures with his illness was truly very inspirational. It is an honour to be going with him on the Kilimanjaro trip.
What has inspired you to go on to the climb with Mr. Ahmed Jaffar?
I have always wanted to do something like this in my life. When I heard about Mr. Jaffar’s Kilimanjaro expedition, I thought “why not?” I was so inspired by Mr. Ahmed Jaffar, and he has been so inspirational for other young people too, as he is so passionate about what he does. That is when I decided to go on the trip with him. He nurtures me like a father, and that is an awesome feeling for me.
What did your friends and family think when you told them you wanted to climb?
My family and friends were shocked when they found out that I wanted to go on this trip. But if I’ve decided on doing something – I will do it with full motivation and devotion. I am confident in myself and it will make my family, friends and country proud. I love to face challenges and to reach the summit is a challenge and I know with the help of Mr. Jaffar I will be able to do so and bring honour to my country.
Do you have any fears?
I see it as a challenge, not a fear. I like facing challenges as it makes me much stronger.
What kind of preparations/training did you do for the climb? Was it quite rigorous?
I have a daily 2-hour training session, which includes running, jogging and exercise in the gym to keep myself fit and healthy.
What kind of equipment is required for the climb on Mt. Kilimanjaro?
The gear that I carry includes trekking shoes, gaiters, first aid kit, a special kind of waterproof shoes, waterproof shell clothing, cameras, binoculars and sleeping tents to spend nights in – we have tents that protect us from all kind of weather.
What peaks do you wish to climb one day?
I would like go to for different expeditions as I enjoy being adventurous. At the moment I am not sure which climbs I would go for in the future but I have a wish list of the Mongolia Trail, skydiving, Antarctica, Iceland, South America’s mountains, Mt. Elbrus, Mt. Kosciuszko, Mt. Winston, Mt. McKinley and Mt. Aconcagua.
Any advice for those who wish to becoming climbers one day just like you and Mr. Jaffar?
One should enjoy life, work hard, exercise, be positive and optimistic in whatever it is they have decided to do. Be a dreamer and an achiever at the same time. For me, my mantra is “I don’t want to write about climbing; I don’t want to talk about it; I don’t want to photograph it; I want to do it’’.
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