Saudi woman reaches Mount Everest summit in historic climb

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 19 May, 2013, 10:58am
UPDATED : Sunday, 19 May, 2013, 10:58am

A Saudi woman, Raha Muharraq, on Saturday reached the summit of Everest, the world’s highest peak, in a first for the conservative Muslim kingdom where women’s sports and rights 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 news agency 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.

She was part of a four-person expedition that also included the first Qatari man and the first Palestinian man attempting to scale the mountain.

With Everest, Raha 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, Muharraq said.

Saudi Arabia, which implements a strict form of Islam and 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.


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