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4 Dec 2022

Akke Rahman becomes the first Bengali Muslim to climb Mount Everest

Akke Rahman becomes the first Bengali Muslim to climb Mount Everest

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Invitation
Zahra Onsori is the editor of The Invitation Magazine. She is an Indian Iranian creative who loves learning. Her particular areas of interest are culture & identity. Outside of researching, writing and collating stories together, she’s an avid reader and traveller.

Akke Rahman becomes the first Bengali Muslim to climb Mount Everest

Aklakur, mostly known as Akke, set the precedent high as he climbed Mount Everest in a shocking time of 21 days. To give this achievement more context, the average climb time up and down Everest takes 40 days.

As well as this, he raised a lot of money for charity, which went to 26 different appeals. Akke reached the peak of Everest on the 13th of May. He describes the feeling to us.

When I got to the summit I was relieved. It’s so high from the summit you can see the curvature of the earth, that it’s round. I made a prayer thanking God for allowing me to get there safe and prayed to return safely. There was a sense of accomplishment, but it was short-lived because I had to get back down. I didn’t celebrate much.

The whole thing was exhilarating. I would’ve never dreamed of doing it in 21 days. My return ticket was exactly 8 weeks. I came back after 6 weeks.

Akke has become an inspiration to everyone, both Muslim and non-Muslim, and is a real-life example of Believing is achieving, which is a phrase that he has come to embody. He spoke about his cravings on Everest with us in an Invitation exclusive.

I was craving coke so much that I paid $30 for a bottle.

The coke actually got me in trouble as they told me to stay in camp but I wanted to come down for coke. We were walking through the glacier and I got to this crevasse. It was 3 feet, I didn’t think it was that wide but I was hungry and thirsty and I didn’t think I could make it.

Still, I thought the coke was at the bottom and I needed to go down to get it. I went to cross the glacier with my right leg, and I fell. I always clip myself so I was hanging off the safety line and I could see a drop of 50 feet below me. I was hanging for 40 minutes before someone was able to get me up.”

“I knew I was safe but all the negative thoughts were going through my head and all the voices of people who told me it was a death trap. I was thinking of my youngest son. I was scared, thinking about if my harness line breaks.

I survived on 2 snickers for 3 days. I had the determination and I wanted to succeed and I was thinking about the cause. You have to have passion for what you do. Believing is achieving. If you believe you can do it you should.

You could be as fit as a fiddle, even then climbing Mount Everest is 60% mental and 40% physical. It’s a mental game. I believed I could get to the top and I knew I could do it, I pushed myself, and even when I had no food I knew I could do it.

His passion for climbing is evident to see.

What inspired you to take on Everest?

I never thought I’d go to Everest. All I know is I wanted to be different and wanted to inspire people in a different way. I’ve always been athletic as a child and was a champ in the triple jump at 14.

One day I thought I want to be somebody for my kids and I wanted them to be proud and to leave a legacy. That’s where it all began.”

How did you get into climbing?

My first climb was Snowdon. I remember that climb vividly because I was athletic and I’d go to the gym but I’d never trained for it. It was the hardest climb I’ve ever done in my life despite being fit.

After Snowdon, I decided to book Elbrus, which is the highest peak in Europe, however, I couldn’t complete the trek because of a storm. I was gutted.

Despite the trek being cancelled, I raised 3.5k for 10 water wells in Bangladesh. People were crying and praying for me and it hit a string in my heart. Whilst my intention wasn’t to do it to fundraise, most of my climbs have been linked to charity appeals ever since.

Akke’s determination didn’t let that be the end of completing Elbrus; he eventually went back, and despite several curveballs thrown at him, he managed to complete the climb in a record-breaking 24 hours, only 5 days after recovering from covid. Elbrus is Europe’s highest peak, standing at 5,642 meters.

As well as this, he climbed two mountains on two different continents in seven days. He raised £10,000 climbing Kilamanjaro for a local girls’ school, and 4 days after that climb he went to Geneva to climb the highest peak in the Alpine Range; Mont Blanc.

I love what I do and I hope I can inspire people to do this stuff. I don’t think everyone should go to Everest, but everyone should do some walking. It’s stimulating and it’s fardth upon us to look after our health.

In Asian communities, we have lots of underlying health issues; half an hour of walking can help alleviate that.

Life is a fight every day, but you have to fight for your passions. I’m a normal guy, I’ve got my bills, if I can do it anyone can.

We look forward to seeing where Akke goes next.

*The interview has been edited for clarity.*

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