A BAHRAINI adventurer, whose hope of climbing one of the major mountain peaks in the Himalayas was dashed, is determined to conquer the summit again.
Dr Ahmed Shakeeb, who is a plastic and burns surgeon at Salmaniya Medical Complex, attempted to climb the 6,187 metres Pachermo Peak in the Rolwaling region of Nepal with two other Bahrain-based trekkers.
However, the trio - which also included Britons Kevin Smith and Gerry Fenwick - fell short a mere 500m when the team's head guide developed an acute respiratory tract infection.
Four other guides, who were sharing the same tent, also contracted the infection.
Dr Shakeeb said the group deliberated on continuing the climb, but decided against it to ensure their safety.
However, he pledged to return next year and complete his mission, which would take him to the Himalayas for the 10th time.
"This was my ninth trek in 10 years," he said.
"The Sherpa guides are meant to take care of us, as they are more seasoned climbers.
"We weren't sure we could continue without their help and take care of them at the same time.
"Of course I'd want to go back in the future.
"Reaching the peak is wonderful, but it is not the entire aim of the trip.
"It's a beautiful journey and a great exercise.
"The people are also incredibly kind-hearted and a pleasure to deal with.
"I try to go every year. Not reaching the peak won't deter me."
Dr Shakeeb, who returned last month, stressed that the three-week expedition was riskier than usual.
"It was by far the most dangerous. The terrain to the high camp was incredibly steep, filled with icy drops at the edge and frequent rock falls," he explained.
He also said their guides had pointed out dead bodies at the bottom of the rocks from previous years.
However, he maintained that despite the difficulties, he was not disappointed with the trip.
"On a personal level, I am satisfied," he said.
"I am almost 54 years old, and have lost 10kg on the trip and toned up my muscles.
"I also feel like I have more nimble joints and a general feeling of well-being.
"I spend the year trying to keep up the fitness level I achieve when I'm hiking.
"I'm looking forward to next year."
Dr Shakeeb said his two young sons were also showing an interest in the sport and revealed they would attend a hiking training school in February.
"I want to take them to a great training school for climbing in Ras Al Khaimah, the UAE. It's the best in the Gulf and they're really looking forward to it," he said.
"It would be great to go climbing with them one day. I don't want them to turn into couch potatoes."