Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 20 June 2019

Two women climbers from Dubai conquer Everest

Fatima Deryan, 26, and Dolores Al Shelleh, 29, both reached the peak of the world's highest mountain

Fatima Deryan, left, and Dolores Al Shelleh. 
Fatima Deryan, left, and Dolores Al Shelleh. 

Two women climbers from Dubai have successfully reached the summit of Everest within a day of each other.

Fatima Deryan, 26, and Dolores Al Shelleh, 29, both conquered the world’s tallest peak despite a string of recent fatalities on the mountain.

Already this year, 10 people have been reported to have died or have gone missing while attempting the 8,848m climb in temperatures that can drop to below -40 degrees Celsius.

A picture published around the world which showed a queue of climbers waiting to ascend from what is known as the “death zone” – an area above 8,000m – laid bare the extent of the dangers.

EVEREST-CLIMB
EVEREST-CLIMB

It led to renewed criticism that safety has become secondary to the profits of authorities who grant access to expeditions.

“I am speechless; it’s been the longest two months of my life,” Ms Al Shelleh, a Jordanian national, wrote on her Instagram page after reaching the summit.

“There are many sad and joyful stories to share, after years of hard work and compromise and having the right support behind me.”

“My dream became a reality,” Ms Deryan, originally from Lebanon, also wrote on social media, alongside a picture of herself smiling from the summit.

“I thought summiting was a major bonus of my expedition but it turned out that I made it as the 1st Lebanese Woman! Unplanned, unexpected, it was the cherry on top of my journey!”

Nepal is understood to have issued a record 381 permits for mainly foreign climbers for the spring climbing season this year.

Each registered individual is assisted by at least one Sherpa, adding to the possibility of serious and potentially deadly congestion towards the peak.

With a short window of suitable weather due to close soon, bottlenecks of climbers have steadily built up each day.

By Friday, an estimated 600 people had reached the summit via the Nepal side, a government official said, based on information from expedition organisers.

At least 140 others have also been granted permits to scale Everest from the northern flank in Tibet, operators said, potentially taking the total number to summit beyond last year’s record of 807.

Ms Deryan, who runs Yalla Cleaning in the UAE, is believed to have reached the top of Everest on Wednesday, May 22, while Ms Al Shelleh was just a day later.

A third female Arab climber, Joyce Azzam, 34, also from Lebanon, also managed to conquer the peak on Thursday.

Ms Al Shelleh, who works in marketing, said she hoped her success would inspire a new generation of Arabs to challenge themselves and “rally behind noble causes that are important to the community today”.

The Jordanian was also the first Arab to summit Mount Manaslu in the Himalayas, the eighth highest mountain in the world at 8,156m above sea level.

She has also successfully scaled Mera Peak in Nepal at 6,476m; Kilimanjaro, Africa’s highest peak at 5,895m; and Mount Elbrus, the highest mountain in Europe, standing at 5,642m.

“The challenge I undertook was particularly arduous as the North Face of Everest called for more technical climbing and the weather conditions were windier and chillier,” she said, adding that she made the climb to help raise awareness of environmental issues.

“By scaling Everest from the North Face, I intended to highlight the message of embracing more sustainable practices and to promote the use of renewable energy as well as reinforcing the need to follow healthy lifestyles in harmony with nature.”

The Everest spring season - when the weather is warmer and the views clearer - lasts about three months from March through to May.

But conditions this year have been worse than usual, with high winds reducing the window of time climbers have to make their attempt on the summit.

A total of 10 people are now believed to have died in the effort this year. Robin Haynes Fisher, 44, reportedly fell ill while descending from the summit on Saturday and Irishman Kevin Hynes died on Friday.

Other deaths from this week include four people from India, one person from Nepal, an Austrian and an American.

A second Irishman, professor Séamus Lawless, is presumed dead after falling on the mountain last week.

Updated: May 27, 2019 04:31 PM

SHARE

SHARE