I have always been into sports since I was a child, but surprisingly my passion and interest for the outdoors only started about 3 years ago, I started off by buying my first 4×4 car and joined some groups that went off to Oman for some village trekking and mountain drives. What started off with one to two-hour hikes to see how Omanis lived, turned out to change my life, I started to want to extend the number of hours I could hike, how fast and whether I could reach the highest peaks in the region. 

In one of my earlier training, before I could really reach any high peak, I hurt my knee, went to the doctor, had it x-rayed, and discovered I had a meniscus tear. I was told to do physiotherapy at the hospital and to stop every other training I was doing. This put me down in the beginning because I was so excited to get started, I wanted to get out there and start reaching new heights, and I felt defeated before I had even taken off, but I knew I had to stay positive!

What took some time to realize was that my training either wasn’t that efficient; I hadn’t strengthened my leg muscles enough, or perhaps I simply did something wrong, either way, I had a knee injury. Now, instead of giving up on hiking, I made sure to stick to the physiotherapy and strengthen my muscles with an aim to get back to the mountains. I could have given up and thought “Maybe hiking isn’t for me”, but it taught me that it’s okay to have drawbacks and to take them face on and learn from them to improve, grow and become stronger than before. You can make a choice on how you respond to these types of situations.

I try to remember this story at times when I am training or climbing a hard route, that I am only getting stronger, faster and better (of course, as long as I am doing it right and safe!).

You could find yourself in a tough situation or have an unpleasant experience and you can either talk yourself down and give up on something for good because it was hard or take it as a challenge; learn, read, ask for help, and try again, anything is better than nothing at all.

But if you haven’t done the best you could do, you will keep asking yourself “What If?”, and you might miss out on the views and gratification from climbing the highest mountains in the world. ■

Words + Photos by: Hanady Alhashmi