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7/18/2014 Atop the Everest: A mental feat more than a physical one | JustHere 1/3
Shiva Singh
July 12, 2014
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Atop the Everest: A mental feat more than a
physical one
On May 29, 1953 Edmund Hilary and Tenzing Norgay became the
first men to reach the top of Mount Everest. Sixty years to the
month, UAE-based quartet, Arabs with Altitude scaled the peak.
Raed Zidan (Palestine), Masound Mohammed (Iran) and Qatars Sheikh Mohammed Al Thani have been scaling peaks
around the world for the last four years. About a year and a half ago, they launched Arabs With Altitude, to encourage
more people from the region to share their passion. Which is when Raha Moharrak (Saudi Arabia) joined them.
Zed Zeddy Al-Refai, a Kuwaiti climber, was the first Arab to climb Mount Everest in 2003. He is also the person who
initiated Sheikh Mohammed into mountain climbing. In 2011, Suzanne Al-Houby, a Palestinian, become the first Arab
woman to do so.
Two months after they set out from UAE, they found themselves at the summit. Raha on May 18, and the other three on
May 22. Sheikh Mohammed, or Moe as he is known, spoke to JustHere on the months leading up to the climb, and the
string of long moments leading to the ascent.
In an interview a couple of years ago to this author, Sheikh Mohammed had mentioned that the passion for peaks
started when he first spotted the Everest. it was on a river rafting trip in Nepal in 2008, the love of mountains started
with the first sight of Mount Everest. One year after my river rafting trip I decided to give trekking a shot, hiking all the
way to Everest Base Camp (5,360m).
Four years later, he was atop the highest peak in the world, holding up the Qatari flag, which Sheikh Mohammed says is
the proudest moment of his life.
On May 29,
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July 18, 2014, 3:04 pm
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Everest 60th anniversary Moe Al Thani Mount Everest
Scaling the Everest is a momentous enough task but to do so along with the youngest Arab and first Saudi woman to
achieve the feat are historical milestones. Was there a statement being made?
On Rahas feat, he says there was no statement to be made outside of her singular achievement. She just likes climbing
mountains. And started last November with Kilimanjaro. She is a very strong lady. She has done things quite quickly.
Though all four of them live in the UAE they didnt train together. We trained separately, but kept comparing notes we
were competing with each other. It motivated us to keep pushing harder, to raise our benchmark.
The 60
anniversary had no bearing on their decision either. All that Sheikh Mohammed has to say is that the time was
right. With great reverence, he says, Everest might or might not allow you to climb. We can only be ready enough. We
decided last August to aim for an ascent this year, and started working towards it. But the mountain itself should allow
Since 1953, over 4000 people have scaled the summit and some 200 have died attempting to.
The scariest moments for him were when he was sick. I was sick a few times.
Those were the scariest moments. You get terrified. Even as you are throwing up,
your mind plays games with you. You start thinking of the worst-case scenarios.
They say climbing the Everest is 60% physical and 80% mental resistance it
requires 140% effort. As you climb, the smallest things will scare you.
That relief of having conquered the Everest and telling the tale is captured in the
picture (left), being received by his 6-year-old son Abdullah. Does he realise the
enormity of the feat? Yes, he does. He has been telling all his friends that his baba
climbed the highest mountain.
Always in search of the next big adventure, what could quite overshadow his latest
one? A dream that matches this. To scale Mount McKinley in Alaska, with which we
would have covered the seven summits in the seven continents. Raha has to cover
Kosciuszko in Australia, which is fairly simple. And then the four of us would
attempt Mount McKinley.
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