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article imageFirst Saudi woman reaches Mount Everest summit

By JohnThomas Didymus     May 19, 2013 in Environment
Kathmandu - A Saudi Arabian woman, Raha Muharrak, 25, was among 64 people who reached the summit of Mount Everest Saturday, having climbed from Nepal's side of the mountain. Muharraq is the first woman from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to reach the summit.
The BBC reports she said: "I really don't care about being the first. So long as it inspires someone else to be second."
According to The New York Times, an official with Nepal's Mountaineering Department, Tilak Padney, said the group consisted of 35 foreigners accompanied by 29 Nepalese Sherpa guides. They reached the 29,035-foot peak on Saturday morning.
With her achievement, Muharraq became not only the first Saudi woman to make the climb, she also became the youngest Arab at the age of 25. According to the BBC, she is part of a team of four Arabs who, according to AP, call themselves "Arabs with Altitude."
The group includes the first Qatari man and the first Palestinian man to climb the Everest.
AP identifies the four as Mohammed Al Thani, a member of Qatar's royal family, Palestinian businessman Raed Zidan and Masoud Mohammad, an Iranian entrepreneur living in Dubai.
The four said on their Twittter page that they made the climb to "raise money for Nepalii education." The BBC reports they are trying to raise $1 million.
Muharraq faced a lot of challenges to achieve her goal. According to the BBC, it took a lot of persuading before her family agreed to let her join the expedition.
A biography on the expedition said that convincing her family to let her climb "was as challenging as he mountain itself."
But happily, she now has their support.
Saudi Arabia abides by strict regulations which burden women with restrictions associated with segregation of the sexes. However, the conservative kingdom may have begun dismantling the onerous imposition on women. This month authorities announced that girls at private schools could play sports. The country also sent two women athletes to the London Olympics last summer
Discovery reports Muharraq's proud father, Hassan Muharraq, told AFP: "She reached the summit of Everest on Saturday morning. We have been able to contact her and she is very exhausted and now resting. She is very happy and we, the family, are very happy with her achievement, which was not easy. Her dream was to prove that with determination and self-denial she can bear difficulties because she believed that humankind can overcome all tests."
Hassan said his daughter is a graduate of the University of Sharjah in the United Arab Emirates. She undertook the arduous climb after rigorous training.
According to Discovery, this is not the first time that Muharraq has climbed to the peak of a mountain. After climbing Mount Everest, she has achieved her goal of climbing the seven highest mountains in the world, including in Europe, Tanzania, the South Pole and Argentina.
The New York Times reports that May is considered the best month for climbing the Everest because the weather is most favorable at that time.
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