At the end of August, 26 employees from Omnicom Media Group MENA, climbed to Everest Base Camp. In partnership with Gulf For Good, they successfully raised money for two charities – Mission Himalaya Eco Farm orphanage and the UNHCR, specifically donating towards secondary medical care for Syrian refugees.
Of the 26 who climbed, three of them, Adrian Turcsan, Aiala Icaza and Zsolt Siklodi were from Resolution MENA. We caught up with them to talk about their experience hiking to base camp.
WHAT WAS THE HARDEST PART OF THE CLIMB?
Zsolt: People think I’m crazy when I say this, but for me the hardest part of the entire trip was the day after we got to Everest base camp. We were exhausted from the long hike as it is, and had to wake up at an unearthly hour and walk back down at night in the cold with low visibility. People often forget that once you’ve gotten to the top, you have to climb all the way back down too!
Aiala: We were warned about this constantly during our training but unfortunately nothing can prepare you for the lack of oxygen as you climb higher. I struggled with that and dehydration from the beginning and really needed a push to keep going.
Adrian: How can you ever really be prepared for something like this? You can plan for every eventuality but at the end of the day, there are the things out of your control. With this experience, you are faced with the weather and don’t really know what to expect. We had to then just accept that when faced with the elements you can’t really prepare for everything.
WHAT DID YOU ENJOY THE MOST?
Zsolt: Even though it was the hardest part, I also enjoyed coming down from base camp the most. Personally, I like getting up early, when everything and everyone is asleep. As we walked down, we had time to catch the sunrise from behind the mountains. This was definitely one of the highlights.
Aiala: There’s so many things to pick from. If I were to choose just three it would be: 1) meeting the kids at the orphanage 2) the astonishing views and 3) the support I got from all my colleagues.
Adrian: The helicopter rides and hanging out with everyone in the evening. This was only the second time I have flown in a helicopter, so it was very memorable, especially because we covered a lot of distance and gave us the chance to see some stunning views. During the day we were hiking, but in the evenings, we all spent time together, talking, playing games and just generally getting to know each other better.
WHAT IS YOUR BEST MEMORY FROM THE TRIP?
Zsolt: Getting to know my fellow co-workers better in one of the most beautiful places on earth was a unique experience by itself. I’m an outdoorsy person, anyway, but it was amazing to see everybody embrace nature and fitness as well. It also really highlighted to me where Omnicom stands as a company and their commitment to things I’m very passionate about. Even better, we had a 100% success rate, which is excellent when you consider how tough the experience was. We all just kept moving together.
Aiala: There are so many to choose from! Like Adrian, I loved the helicopter ride (something I can check off my bucket list!) but also, I’ll never forget the support I got from my colleagues. Getting through those last few steps wouldn’t have been possible without them.
Adrian: Whenever we sign up for these challenges, the purpose is to always support a charity that needs it. Meeting the kids at the Mission Himalaya Eco Farm orphanage was incredible. It was humbling being able to spend time with them, playing and taking funny pictures. After months of raising money, we were able to see what impact our fundraising would have on this organization, and it really made it worth it.
SO… WHAT’S NEXT?
Zsolt: On to the next summit for me. Over the next 5 years, I want to do all the 7 summits, starting with Kilimanjaro and ending with Everest.
Aiala: Wasn’t that enough?!?! I think Everest base camp was challenging enough but the experience has really gotten me into hiking again. So, the next time I’m at home in Spain, I plan on going for another hike. Maybe not one that lasts eight days though!
Adrian: I’m still planning. Any suggestions?
Watch a video of the experience below.
*All photos in this piece were taken and provided by Zsolt Siklodi. You can see more photos here.