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Mountain Climber Reveals What Frostbitten Fingers Look Like Ahead of Amputation

Newsweek logo Newsweek 10/21/2021 Jack Beresford
Stock image of a mountain climber - one climber has shared a video showcasing the horrifying extent of the frostbite he suffered. © Jurkos/Getty Stock image of a mountain climber - one climber has shared a video showcasing the horrifying extent of the frostbite he suffered.

A mountain climber and outdoor enthusiast has given fans a closer look at the lifeless frostbitten fingers he has been left with following an expedition gone awry.

According to his personal website, Fahad Badar is a Qatari banker by trade whose passion for climbing has seen him take on some of the highest and most iconic mountain peaks in the world.

Badar has climbed Mount Kilimanjaro in Africa as well as Europe's highest peak, Mount Elbrus, while in May 2019 he made history as the first Arab male to climb both Mount Everest and Lhotse in a single expedition.

More recently still, he embarked on an epic 68-mile expedition to climb Mount Vinson in Antarctica. Part of an ongoing challenge to climb the seven highest summits in the world, Badar's quest has been one of sacrifice, and not just in terms of the level of training required to reach his goal.

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In a shocking video posted to his TikTok account last month, Badar showcased the extent of his sacrifice with the loss of four fingers and the tip of the thumb on his right hand as a result of frostbite.

The clip, which has been viewed more than 45 million times, was filmed three weeks ahead of an operation to remove the affected digits.

The video can be watched here.

Bobak Zonnoor, MD, writing for Medscape, says frostbite represents "the most common type of freezing injury" and is defined as "the freezing and crystalizing of fluids in the interstitial and cellular spaces as a consequence of prolonged exposure to freezing temperatures."


Video: Mountain Climber Reveals What Frostbitten Fingers Look Like Ahead of Amputation (Newsweek)

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The Mayo Clinic states there are three specific states of frostbite. It begins with frostnip, a mild form caused by continued exposure that can lead to numbness in the affected area and potential pain or tingling once the skin warms again.

The next step up is superficial frostbite. In these cases the skin may slightly change color and begin to feel warm. When treated, via the rewarming of the affected area, the skin may appear mottled while some stinging, burning, swelling or blistering can occur.

The most serious stage of frostbite is referred to as deep frostbite. It affects all layers of the skin, turning the affected area white or blue-grey and resulting in a loss of sensation or some pain in the affected area. Skin tissue can turn black and hard in an indication that the cells have died.

If left untreated, deep frostbite can lead to infection, tetanus or gangrene, a condition caused by an interruption of blood flow to the affected area.

In cases of gangrene, amputation is often the end result.

The specifics of Badar's case are unclear. It is not known when he suffered the damage to his fingers or if it came during his expedition to Mount Vinson.

Newsweek has contacted him for comment.

Responding to one person on TikTok who questioned why doctors had yet to remove the affected fingers given the potential risk of sepsis, Badar explained his surgery had been delayed "to let the body heal as much as possible" noting that it is common for doctors to wait up to six months.

The blackened, curled fingers, complete with white nails make for a shocking sight - but there is a happy ending to Badar's story. This week the expert climber finally underwent surgery to have the fingers removed.

Currently resting up at home following a successful amputation he posted a video updating followers on his experience and promised them there are "new challenges ahead."

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