For as long as he can remember, Justin Dubé-Fahmy has always loved going on expeditions. “Hiking, canoeing, mountaineering… Anything that is long and takes me into unknown territory appeals to me,” he says.
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The 47-year-old Montrealer will embark on the biggest expedition of his career this week: attempting the ascent of Pakistan’s K2, the world’s second-highest peak.
Justin Dubé-Fahmy will join an international team of six climbers who will be part of the expedition. “We have never met, we talk to each other by zoom and I can’t wait to be there with them. »
At 8,611m, K2 is a few hundred meters lower than Mount Everest.
However, the mountain is considered much more difficult to climb, in particular because of its weather, which can be both extreme and unpredictable, its avalanches and the verticality of the ascent.
Dubé-Fahmy has already been to K2. It was in 2003, when he participated in a winter expedition organized by Jacques Olek, one of Quebec’s pioneers of great Himalayan expeditions and former owner of Blacks Camping International stores, that Justin worked early in his life. twenty.
At K2, Dubé-Fahmy provided resupply logistics to forward base camp. “I was struck by the excess, and the cold, which was constant, between -5 and -30 degrees, he says. The only source of heat is the people around you in the store. 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. »
The first winter ascent of K2 was finally achieved in January 2021 by a group of Nepalese climbers.
Over the years, Dubé-Fahmy has done high-altitude mountaineering in Peru, as well as climbing Gasherbrum II, 13me among the highest mountains in the world, located in Pakistan. “That’s when I saw that my body reacted well to high altitudes,” she says.
More than 12 hours of training per week
Justin Dubé-Fahmy grew up in the Sainte-Dorothée sector of Laval, when forests and fields covered much of the territory. The family then moved to Winnipeg, Manitoba, from where Justin returned at age 19 to study mechanical engineering and design in Montreal.
Father and founding president of Rümker, a company that designs commercial environments and exhibitions, Justin Dubé-Fahmy could not leave Montreal to complete his training, which has occupied him daily since last September.
He spends 12-15 hours a week training, mostly running, but also weight training.
I also train on the stairs of my mom’s condominium tower. I climb the stairs two at a time with two 70m ropes and a 20lb weight on my back. Then I go down in the elevator. I do this for two hours.
Mr. Dubé-Fahmy finances his own expedition, carried out without sponsors.
In 2018, Montrealer Serge Dessureault died while climbing K2. Mr. Dessureault, 53, fell near Camp 2, at a height of 6,700m.
Mr. Dubé-Fahmy is aware of the risks that this mythical mountain poses for those who climb it.
During the expedition, several variables are uncontrollable, such as worse than expected weather or a landslide, he analyzes.
“However, there are variables that are under your control. The logistics, the pace of the climb, that’s where I focus and put my energy. »
He also points out that he does not want to attempt the summit at all costs.
“The summit would be a bit like the surprise gift you weren’t expecting on Christmas Eve. The most important thing is to live an adventure in a group, to share the beauty, to share the difficulties, the sufferings, the joys. That’s what attracts me. »
Justin Dubé-Fahmy left Montreal for Islamabad on Thursday and has planned two months to complete his expedition.
Among his relatives, his affair causes concern, but also a wave of support. “Everyone supports me 100% and understands that it is something that is part of me. The people around me know that I will push my limits, but above all they trust me. »
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