NEW HEIGHTS

Written by: editor Dec,07 2012 16:36 PM


               


E: EYEGLAMOUR MAGAZINE  R: RAVI CHANDRAN
TELL US ABOUT YOURSELF AND WHAT INSPIRED YOUR PASSION FOR MOUNTAINEERING.
I love sports since school days and have been staying active in many sports. Being active in sports, I have developed the attitude of facing challenges in my daily life. I increase the level of challenge as a bigger challenge gives me more satisfaction. From a simple trekking to the base camp of the highest peak in the world, my challenges have grown to climbing Mount Everest. Facing challenges and the satisfaction of reaching the summit of any mountains inspired me to go for my Mount Everest Solo Expedition in 2006. Every mountain has its own challenges and all these challenges inspire me to be an even more complete and successful mountaineer.

SHARE WITH US WHAT THE MOUNT MANASLU EXPEDITION 2012 IS ALL ABOUT.
Mount Manaslu is the 8th highest mountain in the world located in Nepal with the altitude of 8163 meter (26,798 ft). This will be my 7th major Grand Slam Expeditions and it’s shorter than Mount Everest just about 685 meters. It’s smaller than Everest but the death rate is higher with heavy snow falls and avalanches during the climbing season.
Being the first Malaysian to take on this challenge, I hope to record my name and our country name in the Mt. Manaslu summitter’s list.

HAVING CLIMBED MORE THAN 10 OF THE WORLD’S HIGHEST PEAKS, SHARE WITH US SOME OF THE CHALLENGES YOU HAVE FACED, BRAVED AND OVERCAME.
Every mountain has its own challenges and I have met many of them during each expedition. Some are very common but there are a few that can be mentioned which clearly describe the level of challenges and life threatening experiences.
Acute Mountain Sickness due to high altitude and low oxygen in the atmosphere is the biggest challenge faced by climbers and I still remember having a mild system of AMS during my Mt. Everest Expedition North Face in 2006. Moving down to a lower altitude is the best treatment for AMS.
Crossing deep crevasses on the shaky leader and being crushed by the heavy snow balling during avalanches are another few challenges that I have faced. Facing cold temperature below -30 degrees is tough for a Malaysian coming from a tropical country and it takes a much longer time to adjust to living in the cold environment, with snow storms, strong winds and moving glaciers.

OF ALL YOUR PAST EXPEDITIONS, WHICH HAS BEEN YOUR MOST CHALLENGING AND MOST REWARDING ONE?
Mount Everest Solo Expedition 2006 – The North Face was my most challenging one in my mountaineering resume. Being the first Malaysian to do an expedition on the north face of Mount Everest was very challenging but satisfying. It’s really news for a Malaysian to climb on the Tibet side with the climbing permit being approved by the China Government and managed by the China-Tibet Mountaineering Association. The routes to the summit are longer and very steep. The wind blows very strong on the Tibet side and as such the challengers faced on the North Face are much more higher compared to the South Face, Nepal. There is no Helicopter rescue on the North Face, and rescue is very limited compared to the south face.
I had a tougher challenge on the North Face and I lost 8 fingers due to frostbite. I lost 2 friends on the North Face due to altitude sickness and it was sad to goodbye to them. My South Face expedition was smoother and very comfortable with the support and rescue services being provided by the Nepal Government.

WHAT TRAINING DID YOU DO IN PREPARATION FOR THE CLIMB? DID YOU HAVE A SPECIFIC EXERCISE AND DIETARY REGIMEN PLANNED OUT?
Mountaineering requires lots of endurance and physical strength and equally a very high mental strength. All my previous involvements in sports and climbing experiences help in my preparing me mentally for all upcoming expeditions. To build my endurance level, I just do my road running and road cycling training daily and increase the cardio work out 2-3 months before the expedition and at times, I do some tropical mountain climbing here in Malaysia and the Asian region. Physical strength needs to be maintained at all times but I increase the level 2-3 months before any major expeditions especially when the expeditions involve carrying my cargo (10-20 kg) and walking daily for 7-14 km per day at altitude 5000 – 8000 meter where oxygen level in the atmosphere will drop every steps I take.

BESIDES HAVING A FIT PHYSIQUE, THE TOOLS OF THE TRADE MAKE OR BREAK THE TASK. WHAT ARE SOME OF THE ESSENTIAL GEARS YOU REQUIRE IN PREPARATION FOR AN EXPEDITION?
Mountaineering expedition requires many tools and equipments. All tools and equipments are very much related to the extreme challenges that I face during my expedition. To face low temperatures, I use a down suit and down jacket that keep me warm and dry. I use down gloves to protect my fingers and hand and I use gortex shoes to protect and keep my feet warm and dry.
Most deaths happening above 6000 meters is due to loss of eyesight or what is called “snow blind”. This is common among the climbers once we move above the snow level around 6000 meter. The sun shines very bright at high altitude as we are closer to the sun compared to zero level. The sun glare and its reflection from the snow need to be avoided and having a reliable sun glasses and goggles will protect my eyes and avoid me from getting “snow blind”.
Climbers also depend on oxygen above the death zone (7900 meter). So I carry an oxygen bottle and a mask for my survival above the death zone.

A LOT OF PEOPLE ARE OFTEN UNDER THE IMPRESSION THAT SUNSHADES ARE ONLY WORN TO KEEP OUT THE GLARE. AS A SEASON MOUNTAINEER, SHARE WITH US THE IMPORTANCE OF A GOOD PAIR OF GOGGLES/SUNGLASSES.
I don’t climb any mountains without any sunglasses or goggles. That’s how important these items are to a mountaineer. Most climbers die up in the mountains due to snow blindness caused by the sun glare and the snow’s white glare. It takes only a few minutes to lose our sight and our eyes and that’s why we protect our eyes at all times. During a hot sunny day, I use a polarized lens to reduce the glare and in the mist during snowstorm, I use clear glasses to protect my eyes from the snow and strong winds.
Goggles are big but it gives clear and well protected vision. Above 7000 meter, I depend much on goggles. Usually I carry three pairs of sunglasses and two pairs of goggles for all my expeditions above 6000 meters.

WHAT ARE YOUR CLIMBING AND MOUNTAINEERING PLANS AFTER YOU FINISH THE MOUNT MANASLU EXPEDITION, CONQUERING THE 8TH HIGHEST MOUNTAIN IN THE WORLD?
Mount Manaslu Expedition 2012 is the 8th of the “Grand Slam of Mountaineering” expedition and I have the remaining 15 more expedition to complete by year 2018. Year 2013 will be an interesting year where I hope to do my 3rd expedition to Mount Everest. Also in the schedule is “Mount Gasherbrum I Expedition” in Pakistan for 2013.


Eye Guide

 


 

Latest Promotions

Latest Blog

blog image
blog image