Business Community Commends Mountaineer

Finance Desk
Business Community Commends Mountaineer
Business Community Commends Mountaineer

People do not decide to become extraordinary; they decide to accomplish extraordinary things, said the mountaineer, explorer and philanthropist Sir Edmund Hillary.

Azim Gheichisaz, an Iranian mountaineer could have drawn upon those inspiring words when he decided in 2005 to self-finance his expeditions to the world’s highest peaks after Iran Mountaineering & Sport Climbing Federation halted its sponsorship of such adventure sport due to the heavy risks they entailed.

That set Gheichisaz, 35, on a perilous quest ultimately earning him kudos and membership to an elite club of mountaineers that has only 14 names on its list.

“There are only 14 peaks above 8,000 meters in the world and I am one of the 14 people who have conquered 13 of them,” he told a business community celebration in his honor in Tehran recently.

The mountain that remains to be climbed is Lhotse, the fourth highest in the world at 8,516 meters on the Nepal-Tibet border.

Of the 14 tallest peaks, two are located in Tibet, 5 in Pakistan and 7 in Nepal. These summits have been known to mankind from the beginning of the 20th century and efforts to conquer them started in 1920.

“The first two climbers to stand on top of Everest were Edmund Hillary and Sherpa Tenzing Norgay in 1953. After Everest, interest in climbing peaks above 8,000 meters grew, especially in the remaining 13,” he said.

“For instance, the Germans focused their efforts on Nanga Parbat (in Pakistan) which was a gargantuan task, taking several years and 15 casualties before it was accomplished. Likewise, the French set their sight on Makalu (in Tibet-Nepal) and the Italians aimed for K2 (in Pakistan-China.)

  First Expedition

Gheichisaz embarked on his first undertaking to ascend the Everest in 2004 while accompanying the first Muslim women who had dared to take on the adventure. He compounded his experience by twice repeating the journey with the Iranian National Climbing Team. That’s when IMSCF decided the adventures were too risky to continue and Gheichisaz seized the moment to go solo.

However, determined to leave a mark, he went a step further and decided to reach the roof of the world without the use of supplemental oxygen or Sherpa support.

“This year around 220 people have climbed the Everest and among them I was the only one to do so without bottled oxygen.”

The business of climbing the 8,000-meter peaks is a dangerous game of life and death. “For instance the mortality rate for K2 Mountain which I have scaled is 33%, meaning that a third of the climbers who take the journey never make it back,” he said.


Gheichisaz said that all the risk and pain becomes endurable and worthwhile once you think of your country’s flag flying atop the peak.

“Athletic contests are like fighting battles in times of peace when national flags become the symbol of victory.”

The members of the Tehran Chamber of Commerce, Industries, Mines and Agriculture–the organizer of the event– have now offered financial aid to fund his future expeditions.

“The Iranian business community has never ignored the basic principle of social corporate responsibility even in the most difficult economic conditions and that is why we have chosen to pay tribute to Gheichisaz,” said Masoud Khansarai, TCCIM head.

He urged business leaders to examine the opportunities in the field of mountaineering and as a sport in the global arena.