Akke Rahman has become the first British Muslim to climb Mount Everest, the highest mountain on earth.
He reached the summit of the 8,849 metre peak in the early hours of Friday May 13 as part of a fundraising challenge for “Peak Humanity” – an initiative to raise funds for refugees and other humanitarian causes by Channel S TV, a British Bangladeshi satellite TV station.
Rahman, 39, who is from Oldham, said he was exhilarated at achieving the “mission of my life.”
He told Channel S TV: “I just couldn’t believe that I was on top of the world. It was just so difficult, I was exhausted, but I knew I had to complete this mission. The weather was extremely cold, windy and rough. You cannot predict what will happen in a split second. For three or four days while I was climbing to the top, I was living on a couple of (chocolate) snicker bars a day.”
While climbing towards Mount Everest, Akke and his team saved the life of another mountaineer who was running out of oxygen.
“It was a guy called Les,” Rahman said. “He was from a different group where we got to know him. He ran out of oxygen at 7,800 metres. We had to stick together. I just said to the guys we have to share the oxygen… I don’t care how we get down. We have to get down to Camp 2 at 6,400 metres where we will be ok. We did radio the Sherpas to get some oxygen, but they didn’t get back to us. One of my teammates suggested we give Les his oxygen and bring him down safely. I wasn’t going to leave him behind. We brought him down safely.”
Farhan Masud Khan, Head of Programmes at Channel S Television who managed Akke Rahman’s Peak Humanity campaign, said: “We were constantly trying to communicate with Akke but it was impossible to have any smooth contact due to the high altitude. We are enormously thankful to his brilliant support team who kept us informed on Akke’s whereabouts. They informed us as soon as Akke reached the top of Mount Everest. We were extremely relieved that he was safe, happy and had completed his mission.”
Khan added: “He made us all proud, but most importantly his sacrifice will benefit those who need our support now, including refugees from Ukraine and other countries.”
Prior to his Mount Everest campaign, Rahman had already set a UK record time after climbing Mount Elbrus – Europe’s highest peak which stands 5,642 metres above sea level in Russia within 24 hours, and only five days after recovering from coronavirus.
He also climbed Mount Kilimanjaro and Mount Blanc, the highest mountains of Africa and the Alps respectively.
He later completed Mount Amadablam, one of the highest mountains in the Himalayas (6856m). Rahman’s passion for climbing and a desire to support those in need meant that he completed all these expeditions within one year.
Rahman said: “We are living in challenging times. We thought Covid-19 was difficult, now look at the terrible situation in Ukraine, Afghanistan, Burma and other countries. When I see mothers struggling to feed their children, and kids rolling around hungry, it really impacts me to my core. They are crying out help. I need to do something to help them”.
Donating £15,000 to Akke Rahman’s fundraising campaign (which has raised £90,000 so far), Lutfur Rahman, Chairman of Work Permit Cloud, said: “He has inspired generations, risked his own life and left his young family behind to raise funds and support the most vulnerable and refugees. Akke Rahman is a legend and a fantastic role model for our country. We are extremely honoured to support his campaign.”