• Sunday, May 26, 2024


Ain’t no mountain high enough: Mama Misba scales new heights

BY DAY Misba Khan is crunching numbers, but on weekends she is crunching chocolate bars as she scales the world’s highest mountains.

The mother-of-two is a keen hiker and has scaled peaks including Ben Nevis in Scotland, the Atlas range in Morocco and Kilimanjaro in Tanzania.

She has now been picked to represent Great Britain in a skiing expedition to the North Pole with 12 other women from Europe and the Middle East.

The team was formed by famous polar explorer Felicity Aston MBE and will see them trek 100 km in ten days.

Misba, 47, told Eastern Eye she has been nicknamed Mama Misbah by the group since they met for training in Iceland, Scandinavia, earlier this year.

“Being the oldest, it is like I have adopted everyone; it’s one great family. They call me Mama Misba as I have those mumsy-elements. As for the younger girls, I’m their mum’s age.”

The finance worker at North Manchester General Hospital took up hiking eight years ago after joining a local Ramblers club which visits hills and mountains in the UK.

And she admitted that scaling Kilimanjaro in 2015 to raise funds for the hospital was not as difficult as she expected.

“It was awesome. It wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be. They gave us a lot of time to acclimatise. For eight days we were going up and down constantly,” she said.

“The main experience was for me to live in tents; when I hike I usually stay in a hut. I learnt a lot and would definitely go again.”

The British Pakistani’s New Year resolution is to learn how to read maps. She said a love of the countryside and testing herself makes her venture out on weekends.

“I wanted to see more of Britain and the countryside. I wanted to push and immerse myself in that environment on the top of higher mountains. I didn’t want to join a gym.

“Every fortnight I like to lace up my boots, throw on my rucksack and head up a mountain. I am testing myself and I enjoy the self confidence to reach the top.”

The Women’s Euro-Arabian North Pole 2017 Expedition will see the group of 13 women carry out training in Norway in February before the trip in 2018.

Misba, who lives in Manchester, said her background plays an important part and the aim is to inspire females.

She explained: “The expedition is about uniting people and foster greater dialogue and understanding between women from Western and Arabian culture.

“Also to work to inspire all women to reach beyond the expectation of others.

“At the same time [it is about] pushing myself physically and mentally. I want to form bridges between different cultures by encouraging women in my community to gain new skills.

Misba added: “[I also want] to show people that all abilities and backgrounds can get involved in achieving and pushing themselves for their own self-development.”

Misba said another perk of climbing is the food to boost her energy levels, as climbers have to eat 5,000 calories per day in the North Pole.

“I ask for fish; other things will be nuts, raisins and chocolates,” she said.

“It’s one of things that is a must have. We are burning a lot of carbs and chocolate is sugar; when I’m travelling to the lakes, I pack chocolates and cakes.

“It’s really junk food I have when I’m trekking. You can eat as much as you want because you burn it off quickly.”

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