LAU Survival Team to Climb Lenin Peak for Children Against Cancer

In its third expedition for a humanitarian cause, the team will be tackling one of the Taiga mountains in Central Asia.

By Editorial Staff

The four climbers (from left): Adel Khneisser, Richard Bshara, Alan Kairouz and Charbel Harb.

The greatest gift one can offer is a ray of hope to those who need it the most: that’s the drive behind LAU’s Never Give Up Team.

Today, July 15, the university team will be embarking on a new adventure to conquer Lenin Peak in Gorno-Badakhshan on the border of Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan, to inspire hope and provide encouragement for children with cancer in Lebanon and beyond.

To draw attention to the cause while raising the children’s spirits and reminding them that the will can be a powerful weapon in fighting the disease, the Never Give Up Team has been spending time with the children undergoing treatment at LAU Medical Center-Rizk Hospital and Abou Jaoudeh Hospital, in cooperation with Chance (CHildren AgaiNst CancEr) association.

From day one, the climbers will be in contact with the children, who will get to follow their journey through the various social media networks.

Rising to approximately 7,134 meters above sea level, Lenin Peak will be the second Taiga mountain – Elbrus being the first – that the team will be scaling, and is well-known among alpinists as a stepping-stone to Everest.

This will be the third such humanitarian expedition that the team has undertaken, having previously summited Kilimanjaro and Elbrus, the highest peaks in Africa and Europe respectively.

“While the Never Give Up team started off in 2015 with eight members, due to the altitude of Lenin Peak and the technical expertise it requires, only four of the team’s members have been allowed to take part,” says Alan Kairouz, team leader and senior student life project manager at the Dean of Student’s Office in Byblos campus. In addition to Kairouz, the climbers – all LAUers – will therefore include student Adel Khneisser, alumnus Richard Bshara and Lead Graphic Designer at the School of Architecture and Design Charbel Harb.

Following the 2019 expedition, the Never Give Up team will be the first in Lebanon and the Arab region as well as the first university team to achieve this feat.

Kairouz described the preparations for the 24-day adventure, including a 20-day steady climb to the summit, as “very intense,” since each team member will be carrying 30 kilograms of indispensable equipment, from food to clothes and sleep supplies, given also that the temperatures vary “from 38o C at the base till around -30o C at the top, with lots of snow, hail and harsh icy winds.”  

This time round, “a lot more cardio training, a heavier load, and technical training were needed to compensate for the high altitude (lower oxygen), the much heavier backpack, and difficult terrain respectively,” says Kairouz.

But the most important component shouldered by the team, according to Kairouz, is the “ray of hope to the children with cancer who have stamped their signatures and wishes on the team’s helmets and equipment.”

Although climbing Lenin Peak paves the way to Everest in the future, the team’s ultimate goal is to light the torch of hope in the hearts of the children and urge them never to give up their fight against cancer.

Contribute to the cause and support the children.