Some years back, he did not even think of having a passport or visiting foreign shores.
And last year, 36-year-old Shaikh Hassan Khan from Kerala scaled Mount Everest and in 2021, he climbed Kilimanjaro.
Now, he is on a mission to climb the highest mountains across the world and is set to climb Denali, the highest peak in North America, this month.
“My aim is to make India proud, hoist the Indian flag in the highest mountains, spread the message of unity as well as make people aware about climate change,” Shaikh Hassan Khan told PTI in an interview.
A native of Pandalam in Kerala, he is a state government employee and gives lectures on mountaineering whenever invited by various entities.
When the bug of mountaineering passion bit Shaikh Hassan Khan in 2017-18 period, family and people close to him never believed that one can chase such a wild dream — that of climbing the highest peaks.
After much effort, Shaikh Hassan Khan said he convinced his family, later enrolled for a short-term mountaineering course and the expeditiion to Kilimanjaro, the highest peak in Africa, happened.
His dreams began facing financial hurdles but that did not stop him from aiming for Mount Everest.
By taking loans, borrowing money from friends, and pledging gold, he pooled the money for the Mount Everest expedition, Shaikh Hassan Khan said.
Last year, he said that while climbing the world’s highest peak, “there was a near death experience as I ran out of oxygen, my body slowly began to freeze and the struggle continued for around 20 minutes before I managed to get a new oxygen cylinder”.
As Shaikh Hassan Khan set out from the national capital for Denali, the worry lines are not about climbing but about financing for future expeditions. Scaling the highest peaks in Russia and Japan, are among those in the immediate to-do list for him once he returns from Denali.
“I need funds, sponsorships that will help me with my mountaineering and my dream… (among others) flight tickets are expensive and that is a main issue,” Shaikh Hassan Khan said, while adding that he has already invested in equipment.
Sporting long curly hair Shaikh Hassan Khan takes help of his close friends for planning the trips and is a firm believer that society always helps in one way or the other when needed.
His six-year-old girl does not understand much about mountaineering but with a smile, he said she tells her friends that her father climbed mountains.
“Each mountain is unique,” Shaikh Hassan Khan signed off. And his endeavour too is unique.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by String Reveals staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)