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Mount Yunam Expedition

  • Published at 11:40 am March 5th, 2019
Photos: Courtesy

A 10 day-long trek above 6000 meters by Bangladesh Adventure and Tourism Society

Bangladesh has a lot of thrilling destinations to offer for its travellers. The tourism industry has been booming recently and the trend has hit our youth pretty hard. Amongst the travellers, a majority like to test their limits every now and then. Trekking works as the greatest tool in this case. Though there aren’t many destinations where one can test their limits in our country, Saka Haphong -- being the highest peak of Bangladesh -- stands at 3,452 feet. This might be very difficult to trek for beginners, but the ones who have been to Keokradong and came back without any hassle might consider this as child's play. 

Our neighbour, India, however, has a vast network of peaks to offer to mountain climbers. The first spot that pops up in everyone's mind is the Everest, but it is yet to be conquered by many experienced climbers. The high cost is one of the prime reasons, and one also has to have the proper physical and mental condition that is needed to go on such an expedition. Besides, there are a lot of mountains in India which can fulfill the quotas of climbers’ adrenaline rush. Amongst these, there are a few which do not require much equipment and technical expertise. The Yunam peak is one of those mountains located near the Baralacha pass on the border of Himachal Pradesh, and Jammu and Kashmir. 

This mountain has a peculiar 20,100 feet peak which can meet the cravings of fanatic wanderers. Speaking of fanatics, Bangladesh Adventure and Tourism Society -- a group of people who love to explore nature -- took the initiative to go on this expedition. This group consists of people from various professions and backgrounds who were successful enough in summiting the Yunam peak. Rashidul Hassan, a member of BATS, shared his experiences with us. The journey began from Dhaka with 24 individuals who were lead by a few experienced mountain climbers. 

Summiting this peak does not require any heavy-duty equipment like oxygen tanks, ropes, and axes. It might sound easy to climb when such gears are not required, but there are some things that you need to keep in mind, unless you wish to collapse in the middle of nowhere. The more you climb, the higher the gravitational pull is, which makes climbers feel nauseated. Most travellers end up vomiting at certain altitudes.

Though physical issues are a given when it comes to the human body undergoing some unusual changes, it has a huge impact on one’s mental state as well. A bunch of people on a journey with no other life form around them for a certain period of time (usually more than a week) might go through some behavioral changes. 

The trick would be to keep calm and stick together. It is very easy for a lot of people to keep up with their surroundings, yet, it does become hard to adjust with someone when you start spending your entire day and involving in similar activities. As the altitude keeps shifting constantly, you start feeling heavy, breathing becomes harder, and you get to experience a lot of headaches. 

Keeping the cons aside, adventures such as mountain climbing gives you the perfect adrenaline rush and the exact thrill you might be looking for. Along with that, it works as a good remedy for stress relief, especially, when it comes to city-dwellers living a busy life. Working your muscles also feels good – it improves stamina, endurance, and strength as well. However, you need to maintain the habit in order to enjoy these benefits.

What advice would you give to a beginner? 

"It would better to follow a step-by-step process -- starting with targeting a 3000 - 3500 meter climb. One can easily evaluate his/her own capability on achieving the target and set their goals for the future expedition(s). Mountain climbing can’t be learned in a day; you have to make clear plans for the long-run, as such expeditions cost a lot. Set up a long-term plan by taking on small challenges without targeting any mountain of high altitude. Researching on climbers and exploring their expeditions can also help." - Miazi Sagor

What does travelling signify in your life?

"Our entire life is a journey and through this long journey, I have come to believe in the saying 'you learn as you go'. Also, no matter where you go, there you are. So, why not leave our footprints on as many places in this beautiful world as possible? At the end of our lives, the only thing which will remain are those memories, those bittersweet symphonies." - Rashidul Hassan

How did it feel when you reached the peak of Mount Yunam?

"Honestly, it did not feel that different. The thing I like the most is the moment when I get to hang my country’s flag on any peak. The heart beats faster when I unfold our flag, and this is what inspires me to carry out expeditions, and I am proud of it." - Miazi Sagor     

"It was a piece of heaven. When I reached the peak, how it made me feel is inexplicable. That one moment made me realize that everything is possible, if I want it to be." - Kazi Shahria     

"When you reach a peak, it helps you realize how insignificant you are compared to this universe. The next question that popped up in my mind after the summit was 'What’s next?' Holding the flag of Bangladesh on top of 6111m was a magical feeling, and it hit like an addiction. The dream is to reach the highest peak in the world, and this was just a small step towards the dream." - Rashidul Hassan

What is the one thing to look out for on such an expedition? 

"Different hikers come on these expeditions with different mentalities. It is important to understand the mindset of every single individual at various altitudes and cope up with it. The most crucial things that I grasp on such expeditions are from the Sherpas. Usually, such expeditions are carried out under the guidance of highly experienced Sherpas. There is a lot to learn from every little thing they do, and that is what I prefer." - Miazi Sagor    

"In order to climb mountains, one has to have the potential to love them. The enthusiasm of the people who are travelling with you does the rest. I believe that mental strength, along with all these factors, can assist a person to successfully reach a summit." - Kazi Shahria     

How do you think you guys managed to stick together on your expedition with such a huge group? 

"An expedition with such a large group is not an easy thing to deal with. It needs a lot of patience and courage to help each other in tough weather conditions, where survival itself is a challenge. We believe that one for all and all for one." - Kazi Shahria     

"To be honest, we have been accustomed to this, which is why I never thought about it. We have at least 25-30 people on each trip, and before going on this trip, we trekked on 3 high-altitude areas in Bandarban. Hence, while travelling with such a big team, I believe in the ‘one man command’ discipline -- whatever your leader does or says, you follow." - Miazi Sagor

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