Thiruvananthapuram, June 12 () Thirty-six-year-old Shaikh Hassan Khan, a Kerala government employee, has successfully conquered Mount Denali in Alaska.
A determined Khan reached Alaska last month with an impressive CV of having climbed Mount Everest and Kilimanjaro and set his target of climbing the tallest peaks of 185 countries in five years, Denali being the first.
On June 7, he achieved the feat amidst risking his own life. After conquering it, he observed that Denali is a beautiful mountain but Everest is mighty.
“Climbing Denali is more difficult than climbing Mount Everest. If you climb Denali, you could be better called a Mountaineer,” said Khan to over phone from Denver.
“It was midnight of June 6 in Denali Mountain of the Alaskan ranges. Only 200 miles from the North Pole. We started our journey to the summit on June 6 local time around noon. There was a small weather window for the summit. It’s difficult to predict Denali’s weather. Denali creates its own weather and this year it was the worst in the last 10 years,” said Khan.
“Me and my partner Subir Bakshi skipped Camp 5 and started walking towards the summit. We were roped together. After 18,000 feet the winds started picking up. As we approached 19,000 feet, the wind speed was between 30 and 45 miles per hour. We were walking through the ridges of the mountain. Many times, the wind almost blew us away. All the guided groups returned to camp 5 but we continued. The wind chill created a temperature drop of -60 degree Fahrenheit (-51 degree Celsius). It was cloudy. Visibility was very less. We continued and summited the North America’s highest mountain on June 7 at 12.30 am. We just made it,” said Khan.
But the descent he said was more scary. “We were unable to descend through the fixed lines at 16,000 feet. Wind was violently blowing up carrying snow. My friend developed frost bites as we stayed there for around 8 hours at -40 degree Celsius. Cold pierced through our summit suits. We were in a condition to lose our life. Our radio battery was out. No one was coming up or going down. At last we were rescued. It was a mission accomplished,” recalls Khan with a shudder.
Asked about his next adventure, he said, “In July, I will reach Russia and in August – Japan. For 2023, my target is to scale 15 peaks in various countries,” said Khan and added his next step is to find a sponsor for his trip to Russia and Japan , which he says will cost him Rs five lakhs.
Khan will arrive in Delhi on June 21.