Ali Rizvi at Mt Elbrus which is on the border between Europe and Asia; (below) Rizvi during one of his other expeditions.
At 41, Ali Rizvi is no ordinary Hyderabadi. Having successfully established a company of his own, he is now scaling heights across the world. His dream - conquer the seven summits of the world, including and at least 14 peaks, that rise above 18000 feet. “Seven Summits are the highest mountains on each of the seven continents. Conquering all of them is regarded as a mountaineering challenge. It was first postulated and achieved in April 1985 by Richard Bass and his group. I have kick-started my journey as well,” Ali said.
Talking to a gathering here on Tuesday as part of Sculler’s This Is Life initiative, which identifies achievers from diverse spheres of life and shares their inspiring stories with others, Ali gave a fascinating account of his journey.
Asked how and when he dreamt of scaling mountains, he recalled, “I have always been interested in mountaineering ever since I was a child. I was 14 when I started trekking small peaks about 500 mts or a little more than that. Then, gradually I started summiting bigger ones. I had to take a break in between to set up my career, support my family and now, I am back to this serious hobby of mine. I am very passionate about this, as it deals with overcoming challenges and one’s own endurance.”
He funds his own trips. “It is quite an expensive process as one has to import equipment from other states or even countries. Stores in Hyderabad do not have suitable equipment. So, yeah, sometimes it gets a little over the top for me,” he admitted.
Did Hollywood movies like Cliff Hanger or 127 play a part in his life? asked an inquisitive youngster.
“Not really. If you want to climb a hill, do not watch these movies. And if you do, please do not believe them,” Ali replied with a laugh.
His latest achievement is the Mt Elbrus, Europe’s highest peak, 5642 meters above sea level. The feat was achieved after a gruelling midnight trek that lasted for 12 hours covering close to 1,850 metres from the high camp of Mount Elbrus. “This one was not easy. The temperature we were dealing with was -35 Degree Celsius. And it was snowing on our way back and the visibility was barely 10 feet. But, once you are atop the peak, the feeling is out of this world,” he explained.
Accomplishing such a task is no cake walk. Talking about preparations prior to the summit, Ali cautioned, “Fitness is a very important factor. Regular jogging, swimming and trekking should be a part of the physical training exercise. One should not directly jump into peaks above 2000 feet. Aspiring mountaineers should always set goals according to their endurance levels.”
He also regretted that mountaineering is not being taught as a separate adventure activity. “We have adventure clubs in the city, but we do not have an exlcusive mountaineering club. It’s time we start one and help spread this activity in the city.” What say?