mountaineering | A Quebecer will attempt to climb K2

For as long as he can remember, Justin Dubé-Fahmy has always loved going on expeditions. “Hiking, canoeing, mountaineering… Anything that’s long and takes me into unfamiliar territory excites me,” he says.

Posted at 8:00 am

Nicolas Berube

Nicolas Berube
The press

The 47-year-old Montrealer will embark on his biggest career expedition this week: climbing K2 in Pakistan, the second highest peak in the world.

Justin Dubé-Fahmy will join an international team of six climbers who will take part in the expedition. “We never met, we talk through each other zoom and I can’t wait to be with them. »

At 8611 m, K2 is a few hundred meters lower than Mount Everest.

Photo provided by Justin Dubé-Fahmy

K2 summit

However, the mountain is considered to be much more difficult to climb, mainly because of its extreme and unpredictable weather, its avalanches and the verticality of the ascent.

Dubé-Fahmy was already at K2. It was in 2003 that he took part in a winter expedition organized by Jacques Olek, one of the pioneers of the great Himalayan expeditions in Quebec and former owner of the Blacks Camping International stores, where Justin worked in his early twenties.

At K2, Dubé-Fahmy provided the resupply logistics for the advanced base camp. “I was struck by the exaggeration and the cold, which was consistently between -5 and -30 degrees,” he says. The only source of heat is the people around you in the tent. I wasn’t there to go to the top, but the mountain was so impressive that I thought I’d like to go back there one day. »

Photo archive Agence France-Presse

Climbers will make the first winter ascent of K2 in January 2021

The first winter ascent of K2 finally succeeded in January 2021 by a group of Nepalese mountaineers.

Over the years, in addition to climbing Gasherbrum II, 13, Dubé-Fahmy has been mountaineering at high altitudes in Perue to the highest mountains in the world in Pakistan. “That’s when I saw that my body reacts well to high altitudes,” he says.

More than 12 hours of training per week

Justin Dubé-Fahmy grew up in the Sainte-Dorothée sector of Laval, when forest and fields covered much of the territory. The family then moved to Winnipeg, Manitoba, where Justin returned at the age of 19 to study engineering and design in Montreal.

Photo David Boily, LA PRESSE

Justin Dube-Fahmy

As the father and founding president of Rümker, a company that designs commercial environments and exhibitions, Justin Dubé-Fahmy was unable to leave Montreal to complete his education, which has kept him busy every day since last September.

He spends between 12 and 15 hours a week exercising, mostly running, but also strength training.

I also train in the stairwell of my mother’s high-rise building. I climb the stairs in pairs with two 70m ropes and a 20lb weight on my back. Then I take the elevator down. I do this for two hours.

Justin Dube-Fahmy

Mr. Dubé-Fahmy finances his own expedition, which is carried out without sponsors.

In 2018, Montrealer Serge Dessureault died while climbing K2. Mr Dessureault, 53, fell near Camp 2 at an altitude of 6700m.

Mr. Dubé-Fahmy is aware of the risks that this mythical mountain poses to those who climb it.

During the expedition, several variables are uncontrollable, such as worse weather than expected or a rock fall, he analyses.

“However, there are variables that you can control yourself. The logistics, the pace of the ascent, that’s what I focus on and put my energy into. »

He also points out that he doesn’t want to attempt the summit at any cost.

“The summit would be a bit like that surprise gift you didn’t expect on Christmas Eve. The most important thing is to live an adventure as a group, to share the beauty, the difficulties, the sorrows, the joys. That’s what attracts me. »

Justin Dubé-Fahmy left Montreal for Islamabad on Thursday and has planned two months for his expedition.

His adventure causes concern among his loved ones, but also a wave of support. “Everyone has my back 100% and understands that it’s something that’s a part of me. The people around me know that I will push my limits, but most of all they trust me. »

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