Akbar Conquers Kilimanjaro
We recently caught up with Akbar Abawi, a strategy consultant currently living and working in Amsterdam.
Akbar recently completed the full length and endurance of climbing Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, but not without extreme challenges and adversity.
Read this inspiring story below.
Kyle: Akbar, can you give us a short personal intro as to who you are and what you do:
Akbar: Hey, I am Akbar, currently 25 years old and am a full-time strategy consultant while part-time pursuing an MBA. Seeing other ambitious people around me struggle with maintaining a healthy lifestyle while pursuing careers, I realised my opportunity to start helping others, through my lazy but effective health & training system. As we all know, time is scarce, my mindset is a minimalistic approach wherein you can reap the most benefits with the least effort.
Kyle: Tell us a bit about your motivation for climbing one of the highest mountains in the world:
Akbar: I believe in challenging yourself and getting outside of your comfort zone to become more comfortable in uncomfortable situations. I have never camped or hiked before and wanted to challenge myself to do it. As I am generally physically fit, I wanted it to be a challenge wherein I would test my mental, so I did not prepare for it physically or mentally on purpose.
Kyle: Can you give us some insight into your preparation for this climb - how did you mentally, physically and emotionally prepare for this? And was your preparation sufficient?
Akbar: As described above, I had no actual preparation besides “walking in” into my hiking shoes to prevent blisters. In hindsight I underestimated it, but it made the achievement even more satisfying that way. The only thing I put thought into was what kind of clothes, equipment and food I would be taking with me to prevent having to hire them from the organisation at the mountain.
Kyle: We would love to hear a quick showreel about what happened and how did the journey go - start to finish. Challenges, issues, highs, lows etc
Akbar: From Lemosho gate, we set off towards the lofty, snow-capped peak, adapting to the altitude as we traversed the rainforests and moorlands. Encountering turbulent weather and sparse water resources in the alpine desert stage made our guides' support and nutritional supplements essential.
The most taxing was the journey from Barafu Camp to the summit, where I had to leave my best friend behind due to altitude sickness. Having to finish it for both of us while enduring the biting cold and limited oxygen made every step a triumph. The sunrise from Uhuru Peak, Africa's pinnacle, rewarded every challenge with overwhelming euphoria.
Descending was another test, swiftly acclimatizing to the increased oxygen and managing steep slopes. However, descending through changing terrains back to the lush rainforest, the triumphant feeling lingered, underscoring our remarkable achievement.
Kyle: What kind of food were you carrying on your hike? How did you ensure you were sufficiently nourished and energised while enduring these extreme conditions and environment?
Akbar: I must say, this is where Runder helped me out a lot. Nutrition is an absolute cornerstone in a climb as demanding as Kilimanjaro. My hiking nourishment was centred around protein bars and biltong, all aimed at minimizing weight while maximizing nutritional intake.
In the warmer, lower regions of the mountain, my protein bars started to succumb to the heat. This is where the biltong was a game changer, remaining intact and providing vital sustenance.
As we climbed higher, altitude sickness began to cast its shadow, dulling my appetite and reducing my desire to drink. The salty tang of the biltong was an unexpected saviour - it sparked a need for hydration, ensuring that I kept my water intake up, a crucial factor in staving off the ill effects of altitude. The biltong was not just a snack, it was an essential tool in my Kilimanjaro journey!
Kyle: what is the big takeaway lesson you learned about conquering something like this and what advice could you give our readers if they wanted to follow in your footsteps?
Akbar: Conquering Kilimanjaro has taught me an incredible lesson in resilience, discipline, and belief in one's self. The biggest takeaway is that our mind is our most powerful tool. It's not only about physical strength but also about mental fortitude. Overcoming the hardships during the climb taught me that we can apply this to any situation in life. It made me realise that after conquering anything; the obstacle does not change, you change.
Kyle: Do you have any other recommendations, companies, equipment or general tips that may be useful to anyone wanting to climb Mount Kilimanjaro?
Akbar: The biggest mistake we made was going for mostly budget options. I would advise you to spend a little more, to grant yourself a bit more comfort on the trip. Besides, you should consider doing a safari if you are already in the region.
If you have any questions left about my coaching or about conquering the mountain yourself, feel free to reach out to me!