Sharjah: The group of Arab climbers who made history by climbing Mount Everest arrived at Sharjah airport yesterday after spending two months in Nepal for their climbing expedition.
The team members who call themselves ‘Arabs with Altitude’ comprised the first Qatari man to climb Mount Everest, Shaikh Mohammad Bin Abdullah Al Thani, the first Palestinian man, Raed Zidan; the first Saudi woman and youngest Arab, Raha Moharrak, and Iranian Masoud Mohammad.
The plane carrying the team arrived at the airport at around 4pm where they were received by their family members, diplomats and ambassadors.
Following their arrival the ‘Arabs with Altitude’ members addressed a press conference where they revealed some of the biggest challenges and achievements they accomplished in their journey.
"The trip took us two months to complete from when we left the UAE until we came back,” Zidan said.
"It was a long and difficult trip and it took a lot of patience and perseverance and I thank god that we all made it together safely with minimal injuries as Mohammad suffered from frost bite in his feet. The doctors did however assure us that they will be healed and return to their normal state."
As for challenges Zidan stated that being shut off from the world was among the difficult challenges faced.
“I want to emphasise that without my friends, without us as a group sticking together and taking care of each other we wouldn’t have made it to the top. Although we were physically prepared we were not mentally prepared for how long it was going to take us and how long we would have to stay away from our families and away from the world as there was no internet, there was no outside communication, it was just us and the mountain.”
He also added that sleeping with an oxygen mask on and using ladders to climb were among the challenges they faced while climbing the 8,848 metre high mountain. The team also suffered from food poisoning and were faced with windy weather on the day of the summit.
Raha, who wanted to climb Mount Everest as a birthday present stated that convincing her parents was not easy. “Convincing my parents was as difficult as climbing Everest. Nine people died, some in front of our eyes, so it took a lot of convincing for them to finally accept.”
Shaikh Mohammad said that the team hoped to raise funds for the Reach Out to Asia’s educational projects in Nepal.
“We as a team were raising scholarship funds for children in Nepal to go to university after they finish school. It is part of the Reach Out to Asia’s educational projects in Nepal and are aiming to raise $1 million (Dh3.67 million)” said Shaikh Mohammad.
The first Arab climber to climb Everest and the first Palestinian woman, Suzanne Al Houby, was also present at the press conference. Both Al Houby and Zaidan stated that as the first Palestinians to climb Everest they hope that they shed light on the Palestinian conflict.
When asked what plans they have next Shaikh Mohammad said: “What is planned next is to go home and sleep.”
Noor Nazzal is a trainee at Gulf News