Over the past week, Mt. Everest has seen a string of firsts and many new records have been set. The climbers below have triumphed over nature, and in some cases tragedy, to become to reach the world’s highest peak.
1. First Saudi Arabian woman.
Twenty-five year-old Raha Moharrak became the first Saudi woman AND the youngest Arab to climb Mt. Everest when she reached the top of the mountain on Saturday. Moharrak was part of a four-person expedition (dubbed the “Arabs with Altitude”) who attempted the climb to raise money for education projects in Nepal.
In a biography on the expedition’s website, Moharrak said that convincing her family, who live in Jeddah, to agree to her climb “was as great a challenge as the mountain itself.” Women’s rights in Saudi Arabia are notoriously restrictive and Moharrak hopes that she can lead the way for a generation of female Saudi climbers.
“I really don’t care about being the first,” she said. “So long as it inspires someone else to be the second.”
2. First Qatari.
On Tuesday, thirty year-old Sheikh Mohammed Al Thani (“Moe”), another member of Arabs with Altitude, became the first Qatari to reach Everest’s summit. The climb marked the end of Al Thani’s journey to climb 7 of the highest mountains in the world — he had previously climbed Mt. Mont Blanc, Mt. Kilimanjaro, Mt. Vinson, Mt. Elbrus, Mt. Kosciusko and Mt. Aconcagua.
“With each climb I move out of my comfort zone but come closer to becoming the individual I aspire to be,” Al Thani told a Qatari blog.
Twenty-five year old Raed Zidan, another Arabs with Altitude, became the first Palestinian to climb Everest when he reached the mountain’s summit on Sunday. Zidan was born in Kuwait to Palestinian parents who immigrated from a village near Qalqilya, YNet reports, and he is now lives in the United States and is an American citizen.
Zidan has scaled Mt. Kilimanjaro as well as Mt. Everest and he erected a Palestinian flag on both summits. Ynet reports that “he dedicates his feat to Palestinians, especially those ‘languishing’ in Israeli prisons.”
BONUS: The Arabs with Altitude made a Harlem Shake video at Mt. Everest base camp.
Twenty-one year-old Samina Baig became the first Pakistani woman to climb Everest when she reached the summit on Sunday. Baig, who scaled the mountain with her brother Mirza Ali, dubbed their climb the “First Pakistani Gender Equality Mt. Everest Expedition.”
On her blog, Baig wrote that she hoped the expedition would show the positive side of Pakistan and give a unique chance for females to “Explore the unknown, bring change, break the barriers, break the chains, conquer the heights, find the new vistas, reach [their] goals, motivate and empower women.”
Twenty-one year-old Indian sisters Tashi and Nungshi Malik became the first twins to reach Mt. Everest’s summit on Sunday. The Malik sisters made the climb with Samina Baig and her brother. When they reached the top of the mountain, both sets of siblings erected the flags of their countries, India and Pakistan, side-by-side as a message of peace.
Twenty-six year-old Arunima Sinha became the first female amputee to reach Mt. Everest’s summit on Tuesday. Sinha, an Indian former volleyball champion, lost a leg after being pushed from a moving train by robbers in 2011.