UAE resident embarks on mountaineering to encourage daughter, kids to get rid of gadget addiction

He urges children in the country to engage in outdoor activities during the cooler months of the year, rather than being glued to their electronic devices


Waheed Abbas

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Published: Mon 26 Dec 2022, 2:09 PM

Last updated: Mon 26 Dec 2022, 6:31 PM

Vineet Bhandawat has been scaling the UAE mountains for five years, conquering around 510km of UAE peaks.

Bhandawat, a UAE resident for 16 years, dedicated his achievement to the UAE’s 51st National Day.

The Indian national’s passion for mountaineering started with a purpose – to encourage his daughter and other children to get rid of their addiction to electronic gadgets and engage in more physical activity for a healthier lifestyle.

“Mountaineering is my passion and my hobby. Over the weekends or whenever I have time, I go hiking. My entire 510km journey is in the UAE mountains, including Wadi Shoka, the Stairway to Heaven in Ras Al Khaimah and the Hatta mountains,” says Bhandawat, who works as a chief financial officer at a healthcare company in Abu Dhabi.

Bhandawat has scaled peaks in Fujairah, Dibba, Sharjah and Khorfakkan. He has also carried out expeditions in other countries including Sri Lanka, Jordan, Georgia, India, Turkey, Oman, Seychelles and Iceland.

In the first three weeks of December, Bhandawat scaled around 74km of mountains, including 16km on the Christmas Day weekend. “I have one more weekend, so my aim is to complete 100km in this month alone. The support [of my family] has been great. It was not possible to achieve this feat without my family’s support.”

Encouraging daughters, other kids

Bhandawat took a mountaineering course in school, but was not able to pursue his passion properly.

After completing his Master’s in Business Administration, he moved to the UAE and began pursuing his passion here.

“I started my passion because of my daughter; I want her to do more physical activity. I started mountaineering with smaller peaks so that she could also join me in the expeditions. Now, my daughter and wife also join [me] once or twice a month [to go] mountaineering. I usually do around 20km when I do it on my own, but around 7-8km with family. On Sunday, we completed 7-8km of mountaineering with kids and other [inexperienced] mountaineers.”

He suggested that the UAE's residents, especially children, should engage in outdoor activities during the cooler climate, which last around five months, rather than being glued to electronic gadgets.

Even during the pandemic, Bhandawat would take his family out to isolated places where they could sit and enjoy family time together.

“During the Covid-19 pandemic when everybody was sitting at home, my family and I would go out to isolated areas and have meals there.”

Bhandawat praised the UAE government for the facilities they provide mountaineers, as well as the inclusion of properly marked trails.


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