Road to The Everest Base Camp #Zero2Hero

By Dayana Zainal

Everest base camps refers generally to two base camps on opposite sides of Mount Everest: South Base Camp is in Nepal at an altitude of 5,364 metres, while North Base Camp is in Tibet, China at 5,150 metres.

Recently, one of IIUM students, Farris Amierul Fahisha Irwan (21), from Kuliyyah of Economics and Management Sciences (KENMS) turn out to be the only young hikers who take part in Everest Base Camp Trekking Challenge organized by Pertubuhan Nadi Sihat and Koperasi Wawasan Malaysia Berhad (KOWAMAS) on 11th October until 26th October.

Farris had been known by his friends as someone who is cheerful and can’t sit still especially in the evening. Because of that, he will fulfil his spare time with sports such as playing futsal, frisbee and hiking. He started hiking during his foundation at Centre for Foundation Studies in Gombak because of his friends who asked him to join the Adventure and Recreational Club (ARC) in IIUM. At first, he just doing it with friends but then, his parents started to have interest in hiking too.

Road to the Everest Base Camp

The first hill that they tried to hike together was Bukit Saga which is ‘a stone throws away’ from their house. Then, his parent getting advanced as they continuously hiking started from lower level to the higher level. Farris said during the interview that he felt very proud with his parents as they are 48 years old, but they were burning with passion and determination with hiking unlike their ages. Farris also added “Maybe that’s why they do look younger than their ages”.

First training: Bukit Saga

The beginning of this Everest Base Camp Trecking Challenge was because of Farris’s parents ideas as they have their own NGO at their workplace. Before this, they organized many event such as Fun Run, Jungle Trecking and many else. Therefore, his parents trying to suggest a new things which is the Everest Base Camp, and got approval by others.

After that, they started to do their training on weekend starting from Bukit Saga, Bukit Kutu, Gunung Irau, Gunung angsi, Gunung Kinabalu and others. At first, Farris said that he felt awkward as he is the youngest there and everyone there is much more older than him, so he doesn’t have someone to have conversation with. But then, he started to get used with the situation and he felt grateful as this hiking thing gave him a lot of time to spend with his family cause sometime his eldest brother also them if he had free time.

Hiking at Bukit Kutu. From the left, Farris, his father, mother and eldest brother

During my interview with him, he also shared some of his experiences while training. He said that the best mountain he had climbed so far is Gunung Kinabalu with a height of 4305m. He already climbed Gunung Kinabalu twice, but this first experience there was a little bit dissapointed because of the bad weather. It was raining and the temperature is too low that it was hard for them to take a nice picture because of the fog that hindered the beautiful scenery. However, because of the unsatisfaction they felt, they decide to climb Guunung Kinabalu again. “Praised to Allah, the second’s one was a very great experience ever, as we manage to see the beautiful scenery and of course a very beautiful photos” said Farris while reminiscing those memories. Farris also shared that during that time, he arrive at the base camp in the evening and they slept there untul 4 a.m in the morning before continued their journey to the peak.

Besides Gunung Kinabalu, Farris also mentioned about Gunung Irau in Cameron Highlands. He said that Gunung Irau is the second one he like after Gunung Kinabalu. That mount is very unique as it also had been know for its mossy forest and misty clouds. The average time to reach the peak about 6 hours and reach the base about 4 hours as it is not too steep. His team on that time, they brought along Baju Melayu and Baju Kurung but unfortunately, he does not have the photos to share with us.

Challenges and useful tips
The biggest challenges for Farris himself was to adapt with the weather throughout his training, also during the hiking to the Everest Base Camp later. As he had been informed that the temperatures there, during the day is below 10 degree Celsius, while on the night the temperature will drop until -5 degree Celsius. Because of that, he needs to be prepared and fully equipped mentally and physically. During my interview with him, he said on that time, for physical he had 90 percent prepared but for the mental, he had 60 percent prepared only. Regarding that matter, he needed to have a very positive mindset and mingled with positive and energetic persons.

Then, the safety and the welfare of all members in the team also become one of the challenges as it is the most important things. However, Farris claimed that, throughout their training, there were no injury except for the minor one. This was because, most of them were middle-aged men, so they do take a slow and careful step rather than rush and harmful. There was a tip shared by Farris which was if we feel like wanting to pee or defecate during the hiking, besides to notify others, we also can put down our bags to the way we will be going. For instances, if we want to go to the right path or lane make sure to left our bags on the right side, so others will know where to find us.

The other challenges were time. Because besides hiking, he also has other commitments such as studies, Mahallah Bilal Representative Committees (MRC), frisbees athletes and many others. Howbeit, for him it wasn’t a big deal as long he organized and followed his schedule correctly. For example, because of his fixed schedule he doesn’t play any mobile phones before he did his homework and revision. “All people were given 24 hours daily, but it depends on a person the way he wants to use it” quoted by Farris.

After that, another challenge was money. The cost of going there depending on the package which is around RM5000- RM7000. Besides of that cost, they also need to bought several things that were essential to brought such as the wind breaker, water resistance shoes, shade that can protect the eye from direct sunlight, hammock and many others that surely expensive and ‘will burn a hole in the pocket’. Though, they managed to find few sponsorships who willing to sponsor their expedition such as Kembara food, Quecha and many others.

Advice and hope
“Hiking is not easy things as we thought. A person needs to be strong physically and mentally. Despite of the challenges and adventurous, it is very fun, exciting and surely will give you a lot of knowledge and beautiful memories” (Farris Fahisha Irwan, 2019).

Additional Information

Farris departed with his family and teammates from KLIA International airport to Nepal on 11th October 2019 and arrived there on 12th October 2019. He came back to Malaysia on 27th October 2019.***

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