Hamady said she took on the challenge out of her love for the country Image Credit: Supplied

ABU DHABI: Abu Dhabi resident Hanady Al Hashmi has become the first Emirati woman to scale North America’s highest peak.

The 30-year-old marketing professional achieved the feat last month when she reached the top of Alaska’s Mount Denali, previously known as Mt McKinley.

Though Denali rises only 6,190 metres above sea level, the climb to the summit is fraught with challenges.

Climbers have to contend with treacherous winds and sub-zero temperatures besides the possibility of encounters with grizzly bears.

Sure enough, just over 50 per cent of aspiring climbers make it to the top on average, and more than 100 have died trying over the past century.

Rigorous training

Hanady said her rigorous training helped her overcome the heavy odds.

“I trained for five months. To prepare for the climb, I’d wake up early, go to the desert and lug a 20kg backpack or pull a tyre filled with sand and rocks. During weekends I used to go hiking in Ras Al Khaimah for hours but nothing had prepared me for the icy weather,” said Hanady.

“At times it was so cold we had to cover our faces to avoid frostbite,” she recalled.

Love for the country

Hanady, who has already climbed several mountains in the UAE and Oman, said she took on the challenge out of her love for the country. “I want to inspire other Emirati women to follow their dreams and believe that they are capable of achieving them,” she said.