To be fit both physically and mentally, physical activity is a must. Involving in a physical activity that is also one’s hobby not only brings good health but also enjoyment and satisfaction.
Mountaineering is one such physical exercise that many people follow as a hobby. It is a sport that entails thrill, adventure, physical endurance, travel, and tourism. The activity is a mix of so many good things for those who pursue it as a sport or a hobby.
Polish expatriate Pawel Kulaga is one such person, who follows mountaineering as a hobby and enjoys looking at the landscapes and breathing the fresh air. Based in Qatar, the Pole is a businessman by profession and vice president of Qatar-Poland Business Council (QPBC). “I was born in Kielce, Poland, in the Swietokrzyskie region, where the oldest mountains of Europe are located. I am a lawyer by training and a recruitment company CEO by occupation. At the QPBC, our mission is to connect the markets of Poland and Qatar and enhance economic cooperation between the two countries.”
Having been born in the mountain region, Kulaga fell in love with mountains and climbing in his early days. “I was raised in a mountain region so I knew them from childhood, but started high mountain climbing in my 30’s. My second passion is karate kyokushinkai. I am a black belt.”
Talking about what he likes the most about mountaineering and what keeps him going, the Polish expatriate said: “When climbing, I forget about all problems that I leave down in the valleys. I can think clearly and deeply about life and family; remember the past and plan the future; enjoy the landscape and breathe fresh air. The adrenaline rush when summiting a peak is also unique.
“In general, the Polish people are fascinated with mountaineering. We have a history of great achievements in winter climbing: 10 of the 14 existing over 8, 000 meter peaks were first climbed in winter by Polish expeditions. We are known worldwide as the ‘ice warriors’.”
When asked what mountains he has so far climbed, Kulaga said: “I have co-organised with the Polish Alpine Club an expedition to Hunza in Pakistan, a region at the Pakistani-Chinese border, to commemorate 100 years of regaining independence by Poland in 2018. During this trip, we climbed three virgin peaks over 5, 000 meters (Two-Headed Massife, Polish Massife, Lal Sirang Kateth Sar). I have also climbed Mount Kazbek in Caucasus range, Georgia – one of the highest peaks of Europe – and many other mountains in the Alps, Dolomites and Tatra mountains in Poland.”
Regarding his future plans and the summits he wants to surmount, the mountaineer said: “Next month, I am going back to Pakistan for some mountain trekking beneath the great Rakaposhi Mountain. I want to enjoy the cherry blossom season in Hunza and support the local tourism and guides, especially my friend – Rahmet Ullah Baig from Shimshal. My dream is to climb three over 8,000 meter peaks: Lhotse, Nanga Parbat and Broad Peak. I am also planning trips in lower mountains with my wife, who shares my passion, and my one-year-old son when he would grow up.”
When asked if living in Qatar has helped him in furthering his hobby, the Polish expatriate said: “Living and working in Qatar gives a good financial base for organising expeditions, which are relatively not cheap. Qatar is also a great location and hub for flying to the Karakoram, the Himalayas ranges and the mountains of East Africa. I am happy some of the Qataris also enjoy the activity. Some of them are very successful like Sheikh Mohamed bin Abdulla al-Thani, who is the first Qatari man to summit Mount Everest, and Sheikha Asma al-Thani, who is soon going to be the first Qatari woman to climb the tallest mountain of the world. I believe more people in Qatar will enjoy climbing soon.
“I have been living in Qatar for two years and I like the country very much for its beautiful nature. I love to spend time in the desert and the inland sea. I treat the dunes there as the mountains of Qatar.”
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