Dubai adventurer scales highest mountain in Europe
Dubai-born businessman and mountain climber Rohan Mehta scales 5,642-metre Mt Elbrus
You can accomplish anything if you have the determination, says Dubai adventurer Rohan Mehta, 27, who has just returned to town after an arduous 7-day climb to conquer the highest peak in Europe, Mount Elbrus in Russia.
The Dubai-born mountain climber, and only son of Indian businessman Yogesh Mehta, claims he is the first Indian from Dubai to achieve this feat. He says he took up this challenge to get out of his comfort zone and to prove something to himself. Mount Elbrus, the highest mountain in Europe (5642 mt), has the second highest death rate in climbing after Mt Everest and what helped him overcome his fear was mental preparation. "It's important to be motivated and determined to get over your fears," he advised. We speak to Rohan to know more about conquering Mt Elbrus. Excerpts from the interview:
Why did you go on this climb?
I wanted to get out of my comfort zone. I took this up as a challenge.I wanted to achieve something and learn a new skill.
What was the feeling after reaching the peak?
It was an emotionally uplifting experience. We had tears of joy when we reached the summit.
How did you train for it?
I had done a few climbs prior to this - in Vermont, California. I also climbed glaciers and mountains in Iceland.
How difficult was it up there?
The coldest it got was - 20 degrees and the wind speeds were about 50km/h. It was a challenge battling extreme conditions. It also gets difficult to breathe because of low oxygen at high levels. You have to be mentally very strong, and we had to keep motivating ourselves.
Why does attitude over altitude matter?
It doesn't matter how much you train or how fit you are. In the mountains, it's all about mental strength.
Where in Dubai did you train?
We began in January this year. I used to go to gyms. The trainers here were aware of my climb so they concentrated on strengthening my calves, knees and lungs. I would carry a 10 kg bag on my back to acclimatise myself for the climb. I trained for two hours, five days a week.
What inspired you?
I have always enjoyed the outdoors. Actually, after I joined the family business, I have been at the desk for the last four year. I wanted to get out of this and achieve something outside my comfort zone.
The death rate at Mt Elbrus is second to Everest. How did you overcome your fears?
Determination is key. No matter what obstacles come your way, you have to keep motivating yourself. I used to have butterflies in my stomach before the climb, but the thought of seeing myself standing on the summit was the motivating factor.
You are an only son, so was there any opposition from your parents or wife?
There were constraints. Initially the family was concerned. But once they accepted it, they were very encouraging and supported me all the way.
What is the takeway from this experience?
It was a humbling experience. We get too used to our comfortable lifestyle. But there's so much else to do in life.
What are your best memories of Dubai?
I grew up in Dubai and I really miss the old Dubai when we used to play football in the sand. You hardly see that these days. A lot has changed since then. But having said that, there's something for everyone here.
What's your advice for adventure enthusiasts?
Don't give up and if you set your mind to it, you can do it.
What's your next adventure?
We plan to climb Mt Everest next. We are looking to do it next year. It's a two-month climb and I have to set aside a lot of time for it.
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