Business Buzz was able to reach out to the amazing Raed Zidan; the first Palestinian man to climb Mt. Everest! We had so much to learn from him. We went through a Q & A session with him about his climb on Mt. Everest. Raed Zidan is a Palestinian who was born in Kuwait. He now lives between the UAE and USA.
What inspired you to go on this journey?
“It wasn’t really Everest, it was my lifestyle.” He didn’t have a normal life anyone would normally have. Instead, he spent it flying planes, rallying, and climbing mountains. Anything he decided to do was always a continuous challenge with himself to become better. When it comes to mountaineering, the ultimate challenge is Everest. Another thing that inspired Zidan to climb Everest is the fact that he would be the first Palestinian man to reach the top.
Have you ever felt like giving up during the climb? How did you manage to overcome it?
The Everest climb is a 2-month climb. Regardless of how physically fit you are, your body will give up very quickly. Base camp itself is over 5000 m high, and they spent most of their time there. With such extreme conditions and altitudes, the human body is not designed to live there, yet the team was able to make it. As you go higher, you reach the “death zone” at 8000 m high. Your body couldn’t handle such temperatures and it would start eating itself; not to mention that you have 70% less Oxygen at such heights. When your body physically gives up, you have to control your mental power. You have to set a goal to yourself regardless of what you go through. On your way up, you would pass by a monument that holds the tombstones of all those who died in their attempt to climb Everest. You see people getting injured. You see people dying. This should not stop you.
For adventurous people like Zidan, they have one ultimate goal; to reach the top. They would do anything to fulfill this dream. This is factor that keeps him going.
What can you share as your most memorable moment during this experience?
During those 2 months on Everest, Zidan had a lot of amazing moments. Aside from the fact that he would be standing on highest point in the world, Zidan and his crew had their fun.
“Standing up on the summit on top of the world; the highest point on earth. Holding the Palestinian flag. Being around my best friends who I climbed every mountain with. Making a phone call and talking to my wife and kids was maybe the most memorable moment. One of the things we did, we did the highest harlem shake in the world.”
What have you gained from this experience?
“One thing I mostly talk about is patience.” Zidan confesses that he likes things done quickly. Everest taught him patience and how to deal with the current situations. Spending two months on Everest with no phone, no internet, and no TV really takes it out of you. You spend your nights in a sleeping bag. You eat bad food. You drink bad water. All this teaches you to cope with the surrounding. “You just have to be patient and wait for the summit.”
After this huge achievement, what do you plan on doing next?
Anyone into mountaineering tries to chase the “Seven Summits”, which is climbing the highest peak in each continent. “So far, I climbed Mt. Vinson in Antarctica, Mt. Elbrus in Europe, Mt. Kilimanjaro in Africa, Mt. Everest in Asia, Mt. Aconcagua in South America, and Mt. Kosciuszko in Australia. One more mountain is left to complete the 7 summits, which is Mt. Denali in Alaska.”
Zidan is not one that says he wants to do something and sit. He always works towards his goals. Zidan told Business Buzz that he received an email that he will be climbing Mt. Denali on May 3rd.
The youth of your nation look up to you, what words of advice and encouragement can you give them?
“I always say there is nothing impossible. If you put your mind to it, you can definitely make it. If you are willing to sacrifice the time and put the effort, you will get there. No matter what the challenge is. Some people dream of success, other people wake up and work really hard at it. You don’t just dream of something. You have to work on it every day with all your effort. I couldn’t think of a scenario where I wanted something and I couldn’t accomplish it one way or another. As long as you put 100% into it, ultimately it will happen. Make a list of things you want 10 years from now, and start working on them today. I do a lost every day for my business and another list for my long term goals, and I work on them all the time. When that list is there, it becomes part of your life. Write your goals down and work on them every day; they will come true.”