Young adventurer calls on Omani youths to discover the world on their own terms
Hamdoon Sultan has done it again! This young Omani adventurer who recently scaled Morocco’s Mount Toubkal sans protective gear, this time took on another daunting task – of scaling the Daubenhorn in Switzerland, which has the longest via ferrata (secured climbing route). with bare minimum climbing gear.
Daubenhorn via ferrata is the longest in Switzerland, graded as K5 (extremely difficult). The itinerary leads almost entirely along vertical rock faces, and features many dangerous as well as interesting highlights, including a cave with a waterfall.
The route is built into the mountain’s south-eastern face and continues to the summit 2,942m above sea level. Hamdoon was over the moon when people in Switzerland told him that hewas the first Omani to complete this extremely difficult via ferrata. “Not everyone can do this,” they told him fanning his ‘never-say-die’ spirit.
Though he couldn’t get an official confirmation about being the first Omani to complete the route, he entered his comments in a visitor’s book kept on the summit, after fluttering the Omani flag at the peak in the Bernese Alps, located above the town of Leukerbad.
After conquering this peak, which has made many an ardent climber give up midway, Hamdoon literally jumped for joy on the icy terrain.
Known for heading out to explore new territories on a shoe-string budget, Hamdoon proudly announced that besides his airfare, he barely spent RO130 on this trip wherein he was welcomed into homes of some locals who provided him food and shelter and took special interest in learning about Oman from him.
“You don’t need a guide to do this via ferrata, although they are provided to those who need them. I believe in guiding myself. There is a unique thrill in researching about the chosen destination and exploring it without any help,” says Hamdoon, calling on young Omanis to head to the great outdoors to seek adventure and guide themselves around the world.
Hamdoon was joined on this trip by one of his Omani friends working in London. However, though his friend was well- equipped with protective gear required for such adventure, Hamdoon chose to rough it out with the minimum – he didn’t even have protective gloves, an essential accessory for climbing and via ferrata adventures.
“This was my first via ferrata experience. I had never done it before and my friend, who himself has been on many climbing trips, was surprised at my willingness to take on such a difficult task without previous experience,” Hamdoon said, adding, “In fact authorities in charge of this climb termed it as ‘extremely difficult’ and said not everyone can complete it. But I kept that a secret from my friend, lest he get discouraged.”
Hamdoon had initially planned cycling to this destination, but chose to go climbing instead due issues concerning his legs.
It seemed easy at the beginning, but the reality of how daunting their task was, sank in when they stood at the foot of the mountain.
“We were told, ‘If you are really determined to do this trip and have strong arms, then go for it. If not, then don’t dare take it up’,” said Hamdoon, adding that being challenged makes him tick.
And so, he made up his mind to do it against all odds. He researched extensively about this via ferrata route and made contingency plans in case they were unable to continue, he said.
After conquering the summit, Hamdoon and his friend took short cuts for their descent, sliding through vast stretches of ice and snow, wading in pools of ice-cold water and walking endlessly to reach their base camp.
“It was our Renaissance Day and it felt great to do something different – a unique achievement for ourselves and our country. We also met people from different countries and took the opportu-nity to share information about Oman with them. Many of them said they would love to visit Oman in the near future.” Hamdoon said that after seeing his social media posts, many of his friends have expressed keen interest to take up this adventure.
“I had three aims for this trip – seek adventure and challenges, promote Oman and inspire others, and discover newer aspects of my own abilities and potential,” said Hamdoon.
I learnt how to guide myself, how to collect information to conduct myself in any place in the world, how to make back-up plans and be confident in fulfilling the goals I set out to fulfil.
We are in 2019 and no one actually needs a guide. The media brings all the information to your fingertips. You just need to conduct your research and set out confidently.
I carried 5kg of kubs rakhal (crisp Omani bread) which I had along with oats and eggs for breakfast, besides meals in local eateries.
On this trip, I realised that it was more important to be mentally stable and ready than physically fit. You need to have Plans A, B, C ready and be prepa-red to face a number of challenges as they unfold without a warning.