If you have the courage and conviction, then even reaching the peak of the world’s highest mountain is not an insurmountable goal. This was proved right by four young Arab adventurers, who named their group, Arabs with Altitude. The team of four intrepid adventurers successfully scaled the peak of Mt. Everest and returned to Sharjah on May 26. They reached the summit at 10am and stayed there for 10 minutes. Mt. Everest is 8,848 metres.
The team comprised the first Qatari man to climb Mount Everest, Sheikh Mohammed Bin Abdullah Al Thani; the first Palestinian man, Raed Zidan; the first Saudi woman and youngest Arab, Raha Moharrak, and Iranian Masoud Mohammed.
They all started their journey to the Himalayas on April 4 and concluded it on May 22. In just 60 days, their long-cherished dream turned into reality and they became real-life heroes. That was clearly evident when they returned from their conquest to Sharjah International Airport, where they were accorded a hero’s welcome by enthusiastic friends, family members and officials and diplomats.
Born and raised in Sharjah, Mohammed completed his MBA in 2006 from the American University of Sharjah. In January 2012, he was entrusted with the position of Director General of Sharjah Statistics Centre. He is also a member of Air Arabia’s Board of Directors and a successful entrepreneur.
When asked about his inspiration, he pointed towards his 6-year-old son. He said, “He was my inspiration.”
Mohammed could not believe his eyes when he raised the UAE flag on the summit. “Being all alone for two months taught me what is important for me and what is not,” he said.
Another achiever, Raed Zidan, remarked, “I want to emphasise that with the help of my friends, we climbed every mountain together. We as a team of Arabs with Altitude got to be there at the top once again. Our trip started from Sharjah two months back and concluded today (Sunday, May 26) at the same place.”
About his scaling of the summit, he said, “It was a different feeling for all of us, since we had no connection with the actual world. No laptops, no internet and no phones, only mountains.”
Raha Moharrak is unfazed by the fact that she is the first Saudi woman to do so: “It did not matter to me at all. I hope I am not the last.”
Refuting reports that she faced family resistance, she said, “Like most parents, my parents were upset over the safety and convincing them was a really daunting task.
“But I am overwhelmed by the response of my family members,” said Moharrak.
Sharing a word of inspiration, she said, “Do dream and pursue it. Conviction peppered with training, perseverance and hard work will take you to your goal.”
About her experience, Moharrak said, “I reached the peak on May 19, at 8am. But my journey was a bit challenging, since I had to manage heavy traffic, even the weather was extreme windy.
“Everest is the most dangerous peak to climb, but we did our homework much before we started,” said Zidan.
Sharing his extraordinary accomplishment Masood said, “I was speechless and could not believe. My biggest fear was that we would not come back,” he added.
Replying to a question of sponsorship, Zidan said, “I refused sponsorship. We all are self-sponsored. We don’t want extreme pressure. Sponsorship adds a lot of unnecessary pressure. A lot of people die of with the pressure of sponsorship,” he added.
Mohammed talked about their celebrity-like status in Nepal. “People would recognise us wherever we would go.”
“Reaching the summit was a dream come true. I was dreaming about it for four years. I could not believe what I had done,” said Thani.
Basking in the glory of becoming the first Qatari national to have reached the peak of Everest, Thani said, “Mount Denali in Alaska would be our next target and we hope to do it in a year or so.”
Photos below: Nisham A. Manaf / The Gulf Today