How a desert-born girl climbed the world’s highest mountain

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Raha Moharrak on Mount Everest. The climber has urged women to listen to their hearts to achieve something special. (Photos by Ahmed Althani and AFP)
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Raha Moharrak shared her one of a kind journey to Mount Everest during the last day of “Tanween”. (AN photos by Ahmed Althani)
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Raha Moharrak shared her one of a kind journey to Mount Everest during the last day of “Tanween”. (AN photos by Ahmed Althani)
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Raha Moharrak shared her one of a kind journey to Mount Everest during the last day of “Tanween”. (AN photos by Ahmed Althani)
Updated 28 October 2018

How a desert-born girl climbed the world’s highest mountain

  • Sharing her experience of climbing Mount Everest, Raha Moharrak urges women to embrace the concept
  • Over 17 days, Tanween hosted more than 40 workshops, 61 speakers, 25 artworks, 7 live shows and over 100,000 visitors in an atmosphere filled with creativity and awe

RIYADH: Saturday, Oct. 27, marked the conclusion of Tanween, Ithra’s creativity season in Dhahran. The 17-day artistic event started on Oct. 11 and hosted more than 40 workshops, 61 speakers, 25 artworks, 7 live shows and over 100,000 visitors in an atmosphere filled with creativity and awe. On the last day of Tanween the adventurer Raha Moharrak shared her journey of exploration as the first Saudi woman to climb Mount Everest in her talk “Sand to Stars.”
Moharrak explained how it all started with the word “No.” “I never imagined that a word this tiny would change my life this way and open so many amazing doors.”
She told the audience how she had found out about Mount Kilimanjaro, looked it up and decided that she wanted to go up the highest peak in Africa. “People’s reaction to my decision to climb the mountain was the final push I needed to actually climb the mountain!” She explained: “People pointed out to me that I couldn’t possibly climb it because I’m a Saudi girl, and that was it!” She decided to prove them wrong.
She decided to go after her calling as she knew there was more out in this world to discover. “My love of adventure was too big! I had something waiting for me out there. I can’t explain how I knew it, I just did.”
Moharrak added: “And that’s a lesson I want you to learn: To listen to your gut, to listen to your heart — it’s ok not to go with the crowd, it’s ok to be different.”
Her decision had been made but she needed all the courage in the world to tell her dad. “I called my dad and told him I wanted to climb Kilimanjaro. I went rumbling on about all the information I knew, like a broken Wikipedia page. I was too nervous to stop.” She continued: “And when I stopped finally I heard it. He simply said: No.”
That did not stop her from trying to convince her dad. She finally succeeded because her love for adventure was far greater than her fear of rejection. She then talked about her first mountain climbing expedition. “When I went to Tanzania, I started climbing Kilimanjaro and reached the peak. I knew that this would not be the last time I touch the sky.” She has not stopped climbing ever since, and kept climbing one mountain after the other.
Moharrak described the moment she fell in love with Mount Everest. “I had arrived at Everest Base Camp and there was the same mountain I used to see in books, but this time I saw it with my own eyes. Then I started to climb the highest mountain in the world.”
She shared how she felt the moment she was going up the Hillary Step, which every person who climbed the mountain had gone over. “At that moment it didn’t matter that I was a Saudi and it didn’t matter that I was a girl.” She continued: “Nothing mattered other than the fact that I believed that I deserved to stand up there and that I believed I could get there. I was born in the desert and I had touched the sky!”
Moharrak concluded her talk with how she answers the often-asked question: Why would an Arab, a Saudi girl, attempt such dangerous mountains? “The truth is that I climbed simply because I believed I could, I didn’t care about being the youngest or first girl in history, I would still have climbed it if I was anonymous. Because all I wanted was to prove to myself that I can attempt the impossible and maybe even achieve it.” She closed by saying: “Please don’t let your dreams feel out of reach. If I can why can’t you!” Moharrak climbed 8 mountains in 12 months, including in Antarctica.


Thousands of Riyadh school students to receive flu jabs

Updated 12 November 2019

Thousands of Riyadh school students to receive flu jabs

  • Director of School Health Affairs, Dr. Hamad bin Abdullah Al-Hajjri, said that the campaign aimed to prevent seasonal flu, which spread easily at this time of year

RIYADH: Students in Riyadh’s 4,700 schools will be vaccinated against seasonal flu as part of a campaign by the Department of School Health Affairs and the Department of Human Resources.
The vaccination program was launched on Sunday by Hamad bin Nasser Al-Wahaibi, director-general of the Riyadh Education Department.
Director of School Health Affairs, Dr. Hamad bin Abdullah Al-Hajjri, said that the campaign aimed to prevent seasonal flu, which spread easily at this time of year.
The flu virus can be transmitted in the air or by touching contaminated surfaces. The infection period ranges from one day before the onset of symptoms to up to seven days afterwards, but can continue for a longer in children and adults with immune deficiency, he said.