Rubab Nayeem Khan sits in awe as Salehin Arshady talks about his life as a mountaineer.
Despite knowing the possible risks that are associated with mountaineering, Salehin Arshady’s quest to conquer the greatest heights never comes to a standstill. What we address as risk is often identified as ‘a thrill of uncertainty’ by the passionate mountaineer; and that’s what fuels his love for the sport.
According to Salehin, there is a fine line between being courageous and being reckless. Whether you’re a good mountaineer or not depends on your ability to assess a particular situation in order to take your next step. “One important lesson I’ve learned embarking on this journey is that courage and caution must go hand in hand up there. I know my limitations very well and if my situation demands, I never hesitate to turn back. Because, I could go back to the mountains only if I returned back safely,” he says boldly.
For mountaineers every expedition is like a goal. To be able to step foot on unchartered lands is what gets their blood pumping. Salehin too maps out a few lands he has yet to explore. “When I climb a mountain top and see the distant horizon, I could sense elusive peaks and valleys are beckoning me. And at that very moment the journey continues. Apart from that, I feel a strong urge to explore the mountain K2, backpacking through the ancient silk routes, climbing the Pamir, Hindu Kush as well as Patagonia,” says the adventurer.
Salehin shares as to how these ventures have shaped him over the years, giving more than just a few perspectives about life beyond his comfort zones. “After all the planning and yearlong preparations, sometimes you can’t execute despite having planned ahead of time. But no matter how much you break whilst going down these tracks, mountains teach you to rise up again, learn from the mistakes and motivate yourself to come back stronger than before,” stresses Salehin. He also claims that it teaches you to see every problem from a different dimension in order to tackle the challenges with new energy and confidence.
The mountaineering extraordinaire believes that one has to be passionate if they plan on pursuing this path. “If you want to chase your dreams then you must dedicate enough time for them to thrive. Adaptability, adjustment and improvisation are skills one must develop if they take backpacking, mountaineering or any outdoor activities as a lifestyle,” he mentions.
To Salehin, mountaineering is a complex combination of science, art and pinch of luck. “One has to go through history, read up on journals, analyse others success and mistakes, have knowledge about mountains, weather, gears, technologies and techniques because being in the vertical wilderness is a lifestyle. You’ve to advance step by step. You cannot expect to climb up to the roof without counting all the stairs; there’s no short cut to the top,” he ends.