PETALING JAYA: A Malaysian mountaineer who climbed Mount Everest in 2016 is set to make a second attempt on April 5.

Azim Afif Ishak, 35, will lead a multiracial team of mountaineers in what has been billed as “Malaysia Everest 2023”. In preparation for the expedition, Azim Afif and his team underwent technical and mountain training to be fully prepared for any challenges they might face.

“We regularly climb between 6,000m and 8,000m as part of our training so that during the expedition, all of us can withstand the thin air and temperature while climbing Everest.

“One of the mountaineers I will be leading is Hawari Hashim, who represents the disabled community. He is deaf, and yet he insists on joining the climb up Everest despite knowing it might be (difficult),” Azim Afif told theSun.

After successfully reaching the Everest peak in 2016, Azim Afif continued his passion as a mountaineer and climbed Cho Oyu in Tibet, which is the sixth-highest mountain in the world at 8,201m, apart from several other peaks.

“Last October, my team and I climbed Manasulu in Nepal, the eighth highest mountain in the world. However, before we could reach the summit, we were hit by an avalanche and several people died, forcing us to discontinue the climb.”

Azim Afif plans on opening a mountain cafe. He has not finalised where it would be located, but it would provide information on mountain climbing and be a place where mountaineers could share their experiences.

“I have a rough idea of how the cafe would be that I thought of before the Covid-19 pandemic hit.

“Covid-19 put paid to my plans, and now with this expedition, the plans for the cafe have been postponed again.

“I hope to make it a reality after I return from Everest.”

Meanwhile, Ravichandran Tharumalingam, also known as Ravi Everest, is planning a Himalaya Sports Everest-Lhotse Expedition 2023 to climb the mountain solo.

“I have been doing lots of physical climbing over the years. But in preparation for the Everest-Lhotse climb, I have been doing high altitude conditioning.”

In the next four years, Ravichandran wants to conquer the 14 highest mountain peaks in the world, all of which have an altitude of more than 8,000m.

“It is a major project that requires me to complete climbing all 14 mountain peaks in the shortest time. I have set this new challenge to be achieved in the next four years.

“This back-to-back ascent will make my fourth expedition to Mount Everest more difficult than my previous climbs, but it reflects my life’s motto, ‘Challenge Your Summit’, which I define as raising the bar to achieve the very best.”

He also said he might choose to end his mountaineering career once he has climbed all 14 peaks.

“The feeling of satisfaction after the struggle of climbing the mountain, standing on the summit and returning home safely is surreal.”

Above all, Ravichandran hopes to bring glory to the nation by planting the Jalur Gemilang on all 14 peaks and being the first Southeast Asian to do so.

He said: “At the end of the day, scars will heal, and the pain will go away but our pride as Malaysians always stays and inspires many more youths to pursue their dreams.”

Ravichandran went through a rough patch with his family in the early days of his mountaineering career. However, with perseverance, he was able to convince them and they are now supportive and proud of his achievements.