Saudi adventurer on top of world after dream visit to active volcano

Al-Shibani journeyed to the Masaya lake of molten lava in Nicaragua. (Supplied)
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Updated 26 January 2020

Saudi adventurer on top of world after dream visit to active volcano

  • Al-Shibani’s passion for adventure started 15 years ago when he made a list of goals.

JEDDAH: Saudi adventurer Badr Al-Shibani will be on top of the world when he ticks off the latest lifetime ambition on his bucket list.

Hot on the heels of realizing his childhood dream of seeing an active volcano, the 39-year-old entrepreneur is now training to climb Everest, the highest mountain on Earth.

And if Al-Shibani manages to scale the 8,848-meter-high Himalayan peak later this year, he will become only the fifth Saudi to do so.

“I think traveling, and wondering, and doing adventure is the new way of living,” he said.

Al-Shibani’s passion for adventure started 15 years ago when he made a bucket list of goals which included reaching the summits of the world’s highest seven mountains, jumping out of a plane, diving into the deepest cave, and visiting an active volcano, something he did recently.

Volcanoes had fascinated him from the age of 10, and eventually he set his mind to going to see one at firsthand.

After preparing for a year, Al-Shibani journeyed to Nicaragua to experience seeing the famous Masaya lake of molten lava. Formed during an eruption 2,500 years ago, the so-called lake is contained in a volcanic vent and with expert help he was able to hang above it.

“I cannot find a word to describe how I was feeling, but it was a mix of thrill, adrenaline rush and maybe scared a little bit, especially when I was in the middle of the robe and seeing the volcano beneath me,” he said.

And he only told his family and friends about his daring escapade after he had done it, sharing photos with them of his experience.

He now plans to visit another active volcano, Mount Nyiragongo, in Congo, in the next two or three years.

Other items on his bucket list include summiting the highest mountain on each continent, and he has already conquered four of them — Kosciuszko in Australia, Elbrus in Europe, Kilimanjaro in Africa, and Vinson in Antarctica.

But the biggest challenge, Mount Everest, is yet to come.

Al-Shibani has been training for six months for the trip and still has four months of preparation to go. “It is not an easy mountain. It’ll take us two months there in the mountain just to reach the summit and come back,” he said.

Calling himself a “life-seeker,” Al-Shibani said adventure and experiences were something that would benefit most Saudis, helping to broaden their minds, connect with the world, and discover and try new things.


Masoud Al-Qahtani, assistant professor at King Abdul Aziz University in Jeddah

Updated 22 February 2020

Masoud Al-Qahtani, assistant professor at King Abdul Aziz University in Jeddah

Masoud Al-Qahtani is an assistant professor in the dean’s office division of the deanship of student affairs at King Abdul Aziz University (KAU) in Jeddah.

He received a doctorate in the Qur’an and the Sunnah and its sciences from the College of Da’wah and Fundamentals of Religion at Makkah’s Umm Al-Qura University.

Al-Qahtani was a public educator between 1992 and 1996, a lecturer at Jeddah’s Teachers College between 1996 and 2001, the undersecretary of Jeddah’s Teachers College for educational affairs between 2003 and 2008, undersecretary of the same college between 2004 and 2007, and undersecretary of KAU’s College of Education between 2009 and 2010.

He has been an assistant professor at the department of Islamic studies of the College of Education at KAU since 2001 and dean of student affairs since June 2018. 

He is also the vice dean of KAU’s student affairs for cultural and social activities.  

KAU recently received the UN’s “Zero Project Award” at the UN’s headquarters in Vienna for an initiative focusing on disabled students and their learning and movement on campus.

The ceremony was attended by KAU’s vice president for educational affairs, Dr. Abdul Moneim bin Abdul Salam Al-Hayani, Al-Qahtani and others.  

KAU is the Kingdom’s first educational institution to win this award. The project’s current session featured 469 initiatives from 106 countries, from which around 80 were chosen based on the following criteria: Innovation, influence, scalability and development.