x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

UAE-based trio on top of the world

Sharjah man and two Dubai residents take Everest in their stride

The Arabs with Altitude team, from front, Mohammed Al Thani, Masoud Mohammad and Raed Zidan, making their way up Everest followed by a guide from Alpine Ascents. Courtesy of Elia Saikaly
The Arabs with Altitude team, from front, Mohammed Al Thani, Masoud Mohammad and Raed Zidan, making their way up Everest followed by a guide from Alpine Ascents. Courtesy of Elia Saikaly

DUBAI // After four years of planning and preparation, a trio of UAE-based climbers reached the top of Everest yesterday.

The group, calling themselves Arabs with Altitude, were Qatari national Sheikh Mohammed Al Thani from Sharjah, and Dubai residents Raed Zidan, a Kuwait-born Palestinian, and Iranian Masoud Mohammed.

They reached the top of the 8,848-metre Himalayan peak at 10am local time, according to their blog.

The three were accompanied by adventure filmmaker Elia Saikaly, who documented their trek from Base Camp and up the mountain past Camp IV into the Death Zone and beyond the final obstacle - a rock wall named the Hillary Step.

Their achievement was confirmed by Alpine Ascents, the outfit that provided the team's guides. "Happy to report that the entire climbing team have returned safely to their camp at the South Col. They will spend the night there, resting and recovering after their tremendous summit success," Alpine Ascent's website said.

The team will move down to Camp II today, and return to Base Camp the following day.

Sheikh Mohammed is the first Qatari to climb Everest and Mr Zidan is believed to be the first Palestinian man to reach the summit.

Suzanne Al Houby, another Palestinian who lives in the UAE, became the first Palestinian woman to scale Everest in 2011 while Raha Moharrak on Friday became the first Saudi woman to reach the summit. Ms Moharrak, 27, said in Kathmandu she hopes to climb the highest peaks on all seven continents. With her success on Everest, she has already conquered five.

Ms Moharrak was among hundreds of climbers who reached Everest's summit in recent days because of favourable weather conditions on the mountain.

"It was very personal thing. I didn't do it to cause a movement, I did not do it because of anything," she said. But if I can change people's opinion or the world's opinion on Saudi women and if I can change Saudi women's opinion about themselves I would be really happy."

"It wasn't a prefect day on the summit - it was windy, but it was beautiful," she said. "I was standing on the summit of the world with my two feet and I could not believe it."

eharnan@thenational.ae

* With additional eporting from Associated Press