Kuwaiti Mountaineer Conquers the Highest Summit in Central America
By Muhammed Aladdin
Thrilling as it may sound mountain climbing is no walk in the park. It’s a perilous journey where one puts their life on the line to surpass one’s own limits. Despite all the danger implicated, Youssef Al-Refai, the young Kuwaiti mountaineer, was not dissuaded.
Earlier this week, Al-Refai managed to ascend the highest summit in Mexico, Central America, and the third highest in the North American continent. Mount Pico de Orizaba, which stands at a defying 5,363 meters above sea level. However, he managed to climb the mountain in just under one day, crossing off the 4th highest peak off his bucket list.
It all began in Kuwait, where he first decided to try mountain-climbing and ever since, his passion has never faded. Following the steps of other Arab Mountaineers such as Omar Samra and Raha Moharrak, the young adventurer traveled to Amsterdam and from there booked a flight to Mexico City, where the summit awaited him. Upon landing, he wasted no time; Al-Refai fueled by passion made it to the base camp which is located at a 3-hour drive from the Mexican Capital. He spent the night there, and first thing in the morning, packed his food and bag and embarked on his journey; he was accompanied by his guide.
The journey began at 11:00 A.M. and from the start, it was not an easy mission; the two men wrestled against gravity with their baggage. After five hours, Al-Refai managed to cover a decent distance. Ragged and tired, he decided to sleep, but due to the high altitude, it was very difficult to breathe so he napped for only an hour. At night, they continued, and the dangers only multiplied. Climbing in pitch darkness with only the fading light of a helmet guiding them, and the freezing cold gnawing at their bones; made this climb all the more dangerous.
With only 600 meters, separating the young Arab from his goal, he kept on going, fighting the thick snow at each step, until he finally made it to the finish line. By the time Al-Refai and his guide conquered the mountain, it was morning time, and from the top of the volcanic mountain, he could see everything. With a feeling of exhilaration; he planted the Kuwaiti flag. Seeing the flag of his country fluttering against the wind made him forget all about the ache and the fatigue; he was proud of his accomplishment.
This is not Al-Refai’s first rodeo; last August he climbed the highest summit in Papa New Guinea and Oceania. Before that, in the Summer of 2017, he was one of the few Arabs to ever climb Mount Kilimanjaro, the highest point in Africa. He has also climbed mount Elbrus in Russia, the highest summit in all of Europe.