LABUAN: Two local hikers achieved rare mountaineering glory last Wednesday (March 1) by becoming the first Labuan climbers to set foot on the summit of Annapurna Base Camp (ABC) located at an altitude of 13,500 feet (4,130m) in Nepal.
Through their feats, 46-year-old Floreta Mojikon and 34-year-old Akhbar Khan ensured that Labuan flag fluttered on the summit.
It was during a snowstorm when the two staff of Labuan Corporation Tourism and Culture Department along with 28 other climbers commenced their challenging journey from Kathmandu to Pohkara (the starting point to the Himalaya trail) on Feb 26.
Floreta and Akhbar who have scaled Mount Kinabalu several times joined the Now Explorers Sdn Bhd expedition that included climbers from Singapore and Philippines.
Member of Parliament for Labuan Datuk Rozman Isli said the high spirit and patriotism shown by the two climbers could inspire other youths on the island.
“Floreta and Akhbar have not only made the island proud but also the federal territory as two of them are employees of Labuan Corporation,” he told Bernama Tuesday.
Rozman who is also the LC chairman contributed cash to the climbers to ease their financial burden in the expedition since they had paid for the trip out of their own pockets.
After conquering the Annapurna Base Camp, Floreta and Akhbar are planning to set foot on the Everest Base Camp (EBC) next.
“It was during the rainy season, and snow was falling at the Himalaya area, adapting to the trek condition was a struggle for us. We had to constantly adjust our breath and to coordinate every part of our body.
“We were also highly alert of the environment around us and made sure that every step was deep into the dirt, solid and strong,” Akhbar told local media in a recorded statement via telephone.
“We are proud of being able to put up the Labuan flag on the summit of ABC at 5.30pm (local time in Nepal) on March 1,” he said.
The climbers who will end their expedition Tuesday (March 7) are scheduled to arrive in Labuan on March 10.