RIYADH: A group of intrepid Saudi explorers have braved adversity and danger to make the impressive trek up to Everest base camp in Nepal. But this triumphant team was not made up of average mountain climbers: The latest group of Saudi citizens to hoist the flag was made up primarily of senior citizens and retirees.
Organized by tourist agency Akam Al-Jazerah, the group of 16 Saudis made a 15-day journey through valleys, under waterfalls and over bridges to reach the Everest base camp on the south side of the mountain. Upon reaching the impressive 5,364 meter mark, they raised the Saudi flag and also performed the Athan, or the Islamic call to prayer.
Despite a few health issues, with some of the climbers losing consciousness during the journey, they managed to soldier on after receiving first aid, and the whole team successfully reached the base camp.
The team later celebrated their success at the Embassy of Saudi Arabia in Kathmandu, Nepal, where they were given certificates to mark their achievement.
Whilst several news outlets incorrectly reported that the team had reached the summit of Everest, which stands at 8,848 meters, reaching base camp is still a remarkable achievement especially considering the ages of the climbers and their health status.
Climbing Everest is a dangerous undertaking, which explains why, in the history of mountain climbing, only 4,833 different people have made it to the summit, according to the Himalayan Database. The database also states 288 people have died attempting it.
However, reaching base camp is a less strenuous task, with many experts saying it is reachable by anyone healthy enough to walk 3-6 hours uphill a day while carrying a decent-sized pack.