Kathmandu, Apr 1 (efe-epa).- Sheikh Asma Al-Thani, an adventurous member of the Qatari royal family, landed in Kathmandu on Thursday to try and become the first woman from her country to conquer Mt Everest, as part of her quest to break gender stereotypes.
“I climb mountains because it challenges my limits. And it is my hope that by taking on the world’s highest mountain, I can challenge the stereotypical image of the traditional explorer and empower women and youth in the region to challenge themselves,” Al-Thani told EFE.
She is set to spend the next 45 days in Nepal and arrived in the Himalayan country having already reached the North Pole, conquered the 6,960-meter tall Aconcagua – the highest peak in the Americas and the southern hemisphere – as well as Africa’s tallest Mt Kilimanjaro (5,895 meters).
If she manages to successfully climb the peak, the communications director of Qatar’s olympic committee will become the first woman in her country to climb the world’s tallest mountain.
“This May, I will take on my biggest challenge, conquering Mt Everest. I am only the third Qatari to ever attempt the climb,” Al-Thani said.
However, the mountaineer has her sights set on an even bigger challenge, known as the Explorers’ Grand Slam, which includes reaching the North and South Pole and climbing the highest peaks of each continent.
According to the Nepal’s department of tourism, 471 women have climbed Everest from the Nepali side since Japanese climber Junko Tabei became the first in 1975.
However, the list includes only six women from the Persian Gulf countries, with Iran’s Farkhondeh Sadegh and Laleh Keshvarz becoming the first in 2005.
The duo were also the first Muslim women to climb the Everest.
This spring, ahead of the climbing season, Nepal has issued 72 climbing permits for the world’s highest mountain, much lower than the 381 people allowed to pursue the summit last year, mainly due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Foreigners have to shell out $11,000 for the permit, while the entire expedition can cost between $40,000-$90,000. EFE-EPA