With his 26th birthday approaching, aerospace engineer Feda Hussein was racking his brain for the perfect celebration. No ordinary party would do, he wanted to do something big. And, well, what’s bigger than the tallest mountain in the Alps and Western Europe?
Towering nearly 16,000 feet above sea level, Mont Blanc is a must for any hiking enthusiast. With its intense altitude and glaciated terrain, however, it’s an objectively dangerous trek.
Experts recommend attempting the climb between May and September, as the weather conditions are most favorable this time of year. Additionally, the mountain huts along the way are open, providing refuge from the brutal elements.
As the tallest mountain in the Alps, however, appropriate cold weather gear is a must even in the warmest months. In the relative “heat” of the summer, Mont Blanc still plunges to 50 degrees at night. And at the mountain’s highest altitudes, this temperature drops even lower.
With that in mind, attempting to summit Mont Blanc in the fall, when temperatures plummet to 14 degrees Fahrenheit and bone-chilling wind rips across the mountainside, requires a great deal of preparation.
Doing so in nothing but a tracksuit isn’t just inadvisable, it’s virtually certain to cost your life – a lesson Feda Hussein learned when his 26th birthday was almost his last.
Hiker Insists He Was ‘Well Prepared’ to Climb the Alps’ Tallest Mountain in a Tracksuit
Well, we can hope the lesson was learned, at least. Unbelievably, the young hiker insists he was well prepared for the frigid climb up Mont Blanc. Feda Hussein had “the right gear,” which, according to him, consisted of crampons (shoe attachments for ice climbing), a harness, and rope.
While those are certainly a portion of the gear needed to summit the tallest mountain in the Alps, they do nothing to provide warmth. Because of this, his body temperature was a mere 77 degrees Fahrenheit when rescuers found him. For context, hypothermia sets in at 95 degrees.
“I got lost and the weather turned which made things worse for me,” the foolish hiker told MailOnline.
Though he maintains that it was simply a case of bad luck and not that he was woefully underdressed for subzero temperatures, Hussein does admit that his birthday plans were unwise.
“I will admit it was pretty scary up there,” he added. “At one point, I thought I had died. I remember I called the rescue teams around 5 pm to say I was in trouble and they said I had to stay put as the weather was too bad for them to pick me up.”
“We stayed in touch for a few hours and then I remember calling and saying, ‘Don’t worry, I’m going to die in a minute,'” the hiker continued. “And then I blacked out. The next thing I remember is waking up in hospital.”
Emergency crews informed the young hiker that he was “five minutes” from dying when they found him. “I’ve climbed Snowdon a few times and I’ve done a bit of indoor climbing,” he explained. “But this was the first time I have done something like this on my own… Maybe it wasn’t such a good idea.”