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UAE residents set sights on Everest
[March 07, 2006]

UAE residents set sights on Everest

(Gulf News Via Thomson Dialog NewsEdge)Dubai: In April, two UAE-based mountaineers will fly to Tibet in separate attempts to reach the summit of Everest.

The mountaineers Adrian Hayes and Ali Bushnaq are friends and have known each other for 15 years. However, they belong to different expeditions and are climbing Everest from separate routes.

"We've competed against each other in triathlons for many years," says Hayes. "But this time we will both be wishing each other only the best of luck."


Hayes, regional sales director for Airbus, is an ex-British army officer. He is joining an international eight-person team united by Ice 8000, an expedition company that claims one of the highest rates of summiteers.

Ali Bushnaq is a Palestinian engineer brought up in the UAE. He is climbing with the Everest Peace Project an expedition designed to send a message of peace and cultural understanding. The team has nine climbers with varying backgrounds.

"I have been preparing for the last three years to become an Everest-level climber," he says.

"I am doing this for a cause to prove that different cultures and religions can work together. I also hope to become the first Palestinian on the summit."

As an officer for eight years in the Ghurkas, an elite British regiment recruited in Nepal, Hayes has often climbed in the Himalayas and will be able to chat with his Sherpa guides in their own language.

"I have made three ascents of peaks over 6,000 metres in Nepal," he says. "There is never any guarantee of success on Everest there are too many factors that are beyond your control but I am as prepared as I will ever be."

While the Everest Peace Project will approach Everest from the north, the Ice 800 climbers are taking the southern route. Both expeditions will spend April acclimatising to high altitude before setting off for the summit towards the middle of May.

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