Making history: Saudi woman climbs Mount Everest

By AFP
Published: May 19, 2013
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Raha left her home in the Saudi city of Jeddah on April 3 and underwent rigorous training before the climb. PHOTO: AFP/FILE

Raha left her home in the Saudi city of Jeddah on April 3 and underwent rigorous training before the climb. PHOTO: AFP/FILE

JEDDAH: 

A Saudi woman, Raha Muharraq, on Saturday reached the summit of Everest, the world’s highest peak, in a first for the kingdom where women’s sports are severely restricted, her proud father said.

“She reached the summit of Everest on Saturday morning. We have been able to contact her and she is very exhausted and now resting,” Hassan Muharraq told AFP. “She is very happy and we, the family, are very happy with her achievement, which was not easy.”

He said that Raha, a 25-year-old graduate of the University of Sharjah in the United Arab Emirates, left her home in the Saudi city of Jeddah on April 3 and underwent rigorous training before the climb.

With Everest, she had achieved her ambition of climbing the seven highest peaks in the world after having climbed mountains in Europe, Tanzania, the South Pole and Argentina.

“Her dream was to prove that with determination and self-denial she can bear difficulties because she believed that humankind can overcome” all tests, he said.

Saudi Arabia, which imposes a segregation of the sexes, this month gave the green light for girls at private schools to play sports, under certain conditions. Under pressure from international sports bodies, it sent two women athletes to the London Olympics last summer.

Published in The Express Tribune, May 19th, 2013.

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Reader Comments (2)

  • Maria
    May 19, 2013 - 9:22AM

    I hope the Saudi authorities do not arrest and imprison this woman when she returns to Saudi Arabia. A nation that will not allow women to drive or even ride a bicycle outside a specially proscribed park is unlikely to tolerate a woman climbing a mountain on her own.

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  • Cynical
    May 19, 2013 - 9:48PM

    @Maria
    I share your concern but I guess nothing of that sort will happen to her.
    But more importantly, I think it will inspire many women in KSA to make a choice with conviction. Scaling a mountain is great, but the freedom to make a choice and scaling the height of one’s ambition is greater.

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