Gulf | Qatar

Arab climbers make history by scaling new heights

Team scales Mount Aconcagua, the highest mountain in the Americas, standing at 6,962 metres

  • By Habib Toumi, Bahrain Bureau Chief
  • Published: 11:41 March 14, 2011
  • Gulf News

Manama: An Arab team has made history by climbing Mount Aconcagua, the highest mountain in the Americas, standing at 6,962 metres.

Qatari national Shaikh Mohammad Bin Abdullah Al Thani, co-founder of Musafir.com, reached a new personal record when he scaled 6,700 metres of the mountain.

Masoud Mohammad, a resident of Dubai, Raed Zidan from Palestine, and Zaid Al Rifai from Kuwait, the first Arab national to climb the Seven Summits, including Mount Everest, were the other members of the team.

The climbers who set off on a three-week expedition in January through the Polish Glacier Traverse Route, one of the hardest, faced intense conditions, including high winds and extremely low temperatures making the adventure all the more challenging, Qatar Tribune reported on Monday.

Working in collaboration with Reach Out to Asia (ROTA), the expedition aimed to rally support and to raise money for its causes.

Masoud reached the top in a significant victory for the team and for ROTA, and Shaikh Mohammad Bin Abdullah Al Thani beat his own record.

“Reaching a goal is an uphill battle, one that we have to tackle one step at a time,” Shaikh Mohammad said. “Life’s lessons come from the journey, not the destination. This is a personal victory for me and I believe in persistence in the face of adversity.

“Unwavering determination is essential, by learning from each setback and using the lessons to make you an even stronger fighter today for reaching your pinnacles tomorrow.”

About 200 metres from the top, Shaikh Mohammad Bin Abdullah Al Thani faced a dilemma of either climbing to the top and risking frost bite and impending death, or live to try another day.

The forces of nature were not in his favour, with looming darkness and high winds reaching 70km/h. 

“The awesome power of nature is not easy to fathom. You can only prepare, train and be equipped with the right gear. You can basically think of everything, but in the end odds may still be stacked against you. This is where we have to assess the risks along the way,” he said, quoted by the daily.  

ROTA Acting Director Eisa Al Mannai said that the organisation was honoured to have Shaikh Mohammad Bin Abdullah Al Thani’s support for making education a right, not a privilege.

“His efforts are a shining example of what can be accomplished with the right determination. The realisation of personal aspirations and goals by symbolically climbing our personal peaks is a big part of a message for today’s youth to have vision and learn from the path that gets them there,” he said.

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