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First Saudi Woman To Climb Everest Talks Of Her Delight

posted 21 May 2013, 14:13 by Mpelembe   [ updated 21 May 2013, 14:14 ]

Twenty-five-year-old Raha Moharrak speaks of her delight after becoming the first Saudi woman and the youngest Arab to climb Mount Everest

KATHMANDUNEPAL (MAY 21, 2013) (REUTERS) -  Twenty-five-year-old Raha Moharrak has become the first Saudi woman and the youngest Arab to climb Mount Everest.

She was part of a four-person expedition that also includes the first Qatari man and the first Palestinian man attempting to reach the summit.

After completing the feat, she explained to reporters how she initially encountered objections from her family.

"When I first asked about Kilimanjaro, on climbing, my father was like: 'No! You want to do what? You want to live in a tent for a week and climb the highest peak ofAfrica? No!' But what's great about my father is that, and my mum, I could communicate. I could sit and I could talk to them and I could tell them why I want this. And I wrote a long email explaining why I should climb Kilimanjaro. And he said: 'OK. You want to do this? OK.' But he said: 'never say Everest!'," she said.

Raha Moharrak also recalled the hardships she encountered during the assent.

"I never thought I was going to go back because I was never tired enough. My rule is if I was going to lose fingers or if I was too tired to move then I'd leave. But I wasn't tired, I was just very cold," she said.

"Would you ever be ready for Everest? Would you ever be physically ready and mentally ready for Everest? No. You can only prepare yourself as best as you can, and then give it the best shot," she added.

The young climber explained how she ended up being part of the expedition.

"Mohamed Al-Thani had the idea of doing a documentary about Arab climbers, and he suggested me to represent Saudi and to represent women and I jumped at the opportunity. I trained for the past year and a half," Raha said.

"It was a very personal thing. Honestly. I didn't do it to cause a movement, I didn't do it to cause anything. But, if I can change people's opinion, the world's opinion about Saudi women, and if I can change Saudi women's opinions about themselves, I'd be really happy," she added.

One of the wealthiest countries on earth, Saudi Arabia continues to be among the most conservative and restrictive when it comes to women's rights and freedoms.

Everest can be climbed from either Nepal or Tibet.

May is the most popular month for Everest climbs because of more favourable weather.