He has been passionate about fitness most of his life, but mountaineer Yousef Al Refaie (Kuwait) has now taken it to the next level by clinching the record title for Youngfurthest person to climb the Seven Volcanic Summits at 24 years and 119 days.
Al Refaie is not only 24 years old, but he is also the 24th person in the world to have climbed the highest volcano on each continent.
Climbing all seven calderas is a very rare achievement, so becoming the youngest person to complete the circuit is an even rarer feat.
During a tourist trip to Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, Al Refaie learned that since he was born in the Middle East, it is almost impossible for someone like him to achieve such a feat of climbing the highest peaks. volcanoes of the world, due to the very different climates. . This comment was his main driving force to go out there and try to achieve this record.
The Volcanic Seven Summits is a relatively young mountaineering circuit, however, the multicontinental project is not easy, especially for someone born in 1997. The volcanoes were climbed in the following order:
- Mount Kilimanjaro, Tanzania – December 30, 2015
- Mount Elbrus, Russia – July 18, 2017
- Mount Giluwe, Papua New Guinea – July 21, 2018
- Pico de Orizaba, Mexico – January 6, 2019
- Mount Damavand, Iran – August 11, 2019
- Ojos del Salado, Argentina/Chile – January 15, 2020
- Mount Sidley, Marie Byrd Land – December 22, 2021
“When I first asked my mom for the Guinness Book of Records when I was a kid, she told me she would only buy it if I had something amazing to do. I really don’t know if she meant it that time, but here we are living the dream.”
According to Al Refaie, one of the main difficulties of climbing these mountains is the amount of equipment you have to carry with you, which can be extremely heavy.
While climbing 4,285m Mount Sidley (a dormant volcano in Antarctica’s Marie Byrd Land), he had to carry a huge backpack and pull a loaded sled behind him.
Marie Byrd Land is one of the largest uninhabited areas in the world and has no bases or camps, so reaching the top of the highest volcano in this area was the toughest of all the other peaks. It cost Al Refaie and his friends around US$60,000 to reach the top.
“With a cost of around $60,000 and eight other people by my side, I was able to complete the Sidley mount. We could see the sunlight, but the temperature was around -35°C,” said he added.
Each team member carried their own food and ate at least three times a day, while constantly losing weight.
“We carried 27 meals each for this trip. The food alone weighed around 10kg in total. It was mostly high calorie dehydrated meals,” Al Refaie said.
It took the team seven hours to push from their camp at 3,000m to the crest of the caldera. Of course, not all Ascendant missions cost the same, and the range is never consistent.
For example, reaching Mount Damavand in Iran does not cost more than 1,000 USD, while the others cost almost everything between 2,000 and 10,000 USD.
“Planning is key. Everyone has been given a mission, some are dedicated to digging, others to tasks like cooking and camping. You need very disciplined people around you to complete this travel.”
Al Refaie previously attempted the world record for the best time to climb the highest points of any country in the Arabian Peninsulabut like many other candidates, he was barred from entering Yemen to complete the feat.
Inspired by Mohammed Burbayea, the Guinness World Records titleholder for the Most IJSBA World Championship wins (men), Youssef wants to embark on a new challenge in November; crossing the largest deserts in the world, starting with the Empty Quarter of the region.
“I’m thinking of crossing The Empty Quarter by a new route”.
Two more peaks would have completed the relatively young Seven Volcanic Summits circuit in January 2022 following the completion of Al Refaie, bringing the total to 26 climbers, but the Kuwaiti national is still the youngest to do so.
“My message to those who try and fail, take inspiration from people who have done it before and never give up. Amazing will find its way to you one way or another.”