Rock stars: Saudi climbers chase a new high in NEOM

Special Rock stars: Saudi climbers chase a new high in NEOM
Over a 100 new climbing routes were opened late last year, near NEOM, as part of Rise 100. (NEOM)
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Updated 10 August 2022

Rock stars: Saudi climbers chase a new high in NEOM

Rock stars: Saudi climbers chase a new high in NEOM
  • The single-pitch routes, near NEOM, have become a favorite destination for a fast-growing and tight-knit group of climbers and adventurers
  • Wide variety of rock types in Saudi Arabia could play a huge role in attracting overseas climbers

JEDDAH: Saudi climbing enthusiasts in search of a “new high” have been gathering in the desert near NEOM to try out 100 new routes opened late last year as part of Rise 100, the Kingdom’s first climbing festival.

The single-pitch routes have become a favorite destination for a fast-growing and tight-knit group of climbers and adventurers.

Single-pitch climbing routes are up to a half-rope length (about 30 meters) with an anchor at the end, and are accessible to climbers of all abilities.

Rise 100 last December set the stage for NEOM’s diverse adventure sport offerings, which are designed to encourage greater environmental awareness, educating thrill-seekers beyond just the sport.

Now indoor climbing gyms are opening around the country, while a growing number of events bring international and local climbers together.

The result is a fast-growing community of young, but highly committed, climbers.

Abdul Rahman Abughazala, a 25-year-old mechatronic engineer, said that after developing an interest in the sport in college, “it took over my life.”

The young adventurer’s day now revolves around climbing.

New routes opened in NEOM “mean a lot to the climbing community,” he added.

“Newer climbers can experience different rock types and styles of climbing that are absolutely beautiful. And it is easier for Middle Eastern climbers from the north to visit Saudi and try climbing here,” he told Arab News.

Bolting more routes around the Kingdom will offer climbers more exposure and variety as they learn how to deal with different climbs and rock types.

Pioneering Saudi climber Faisal Al-Dosary said that hard granite rock gave Tanomah, a popular climbing destination in the Kingdom’s southwest, an advantage.

“Granite is stronger and more difficult to break,” he said.

“In NEOM, they are a bit closer to sandy rock, which makes them fragile. Fortunately, the routes are safe because they are bolted extremely deep. These kinds of differences will ensure that the climbers will be able to deal with any type of rock around the world.”

Abughazala agreed that the wide variety of rock types in Saudi Arabia could play a huge role in attracting overseas climbers to the Kingdom.

Al-Dosary, who was part of a team that worked together to open the first dedicated indoor climbing center in Saudi Arabia, said that it is encouraging to see so many younger climbers joining the sport.

“It is a skill that we need to develop at an early age, and it helps with flexibility and strength,” he said.

Follow this path, the climbing veteran said, “and we will have Olympic-level climbers.”

Abughazala said that he is excited about the future “because I know our potential, and I know that it is just a matter of time until our community thrives.”

Growth in the sport will also lead to greater environmental awareness and have “a big impact on the perception of nature,” he said.

“As climbers and nature lovers, leaving the place as it is, or in even better condition, is as important as the action of climbing. It is every single person’s job to care for it as much as the workers or the government body around the area.”

Climbers believe the NEOM routes are merely the start for Saudi Arabia, with the Kingdom’s desert areas and mountains destined to attract climbers from around the world.


King Salman receives written messages from presidents of Azerbaijan, Czech Republic

King Salman receives written messages from presidents of Azerbaijan, Czech Republic
Updated 17 min 19 sec ago

King Salman receives written messages from presidents of Azerbaijan, Czech Republic

King Salman receives written messages from presidents of Azerbaijan, Czech Republic
  • The messages were received by Deputy Foreign Minister Waleed bin Abdulkarim Al-Khuraiji during separate meetings

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s King Salman received written messages from the presidents of Azerbaijan and the Czech Republic on Sunday.

The messages from Ilham Aliyev and Milos Zeman related to the strong relations between their respective countries and the Kingdom, and ways to support them.

The messages were received by Deputy Foreign Minister Waleed bin Abdulkarim Al-Khuraiji during separate meetings with the charge d’affaires of the Azerbaijani embassy in Riyadh Imran Sadikhov and the Czech ambassador to the Kingdom Juraj Koudelka.

Al-Khuraiji discussed bilateral relations with both Sadikhov and Koudelka and ways to enhance ties in various fields. They also exchanged views on issues of common interest.


Saudi deputy FM meets Ukrainian envoy

Saudi deputy FM meets Ukrainian envoy
Updated 02 October 2022

Saudi deputy FM meets Ukrainian envoy

Saudi deputy FM meets Ukrainian envoy
  • Meeting covered bilateral relations and regional, international developments of mutual interest

RIYADH: Saudi Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Walid bin Abdul Karim Al-Khuraiji met with the Ukrainian Ambassador to Saudi Arabia Anatoliy Petrenko in Riyadh on Sunday, the Saudi Press Agency reported.

During the meeting, the two discussed bilateral relations as well as regional and international developments of mutual interest.

The deputy foreign minister also met with the Chargé d’Affaires of the Polish Embassy in Saudi Arabia Robert Trzeciak on the same day.

 


GCC chief stresses importance of enhancing prospects for cooperation with China

GCC chief stresses importance of enhancing prospects for cooperation with China
Updated 02 October 2022

GCC chief stresses importance of enhancing prospects for cooperation with China

GCC chief stresses importance of enhancing prospects for cooperation with China
  • Officials reviewed cooperation relations between the GCC and China to achieve mutual interests

RIYADH: The secretary general of the Gulf Cooperation Council stressed the importance on Sunday of enhancing prospects for joint cooperation between the bloc and China to serve common interests.

During a meeting with the Chinese ambassador to Saudi Arabia Chen Weiqing in Riyadh, Nayef Falah Al-Hajraf extended his congratulations to the government and people of China on the occasion of its National Day which fell on Saturday.

The two officials discussed topics of common interest including regional and international developments, and reviewed cooperation relations between the GCC and China to achieve mutual interests.

They also reviewed the latest developments in free trade negotiations between the two sides and their interest in strengthening and developing trade and economic relations.


Saudi festival Outlet 2022 sets new Guinness World Record

Saudi festival Outlet 2022 sets new Guinness World Record
Updated 02 October 2022

Saudi festival Outlet 2022 sets new Guinness World Record

Saudi festival Outlet 2022 sets new Guinness World Record
  • The festival includes 3 million items manufactured by more than 1,500 international brands

RIYADH: The Outlet 2022 shopping festival, being organized by the General Entertainment Authority, has won Guinness World Records recognition as the largest pop-outlet center.

Covering an area of 146,623 square meters, festival activities started on Saturday in Riyadh. It includes 3 million items, manufactured by more than 1,500 international brands, and discounts of up to 70 percent on fashion, accessories, and cosmetic products designed by international experts.

Farah Ahmed, who lives in Al-Rehab neighborhood where the outlet is located, described it as “impressive,” while Mohammed Al-Bugami, a Saudi private-sector employee, praised the “top organization” he witnessed on the first day.

“I have no words to describe how great and well-organized this festival is. I would like to thank the organizers for their efforts in making this shopping festival a reality,” he said.

Entry to the festival is free and outlet sections include home accessories, leather-made items, bridal gowns, suitcases, and electronics.

The fashion section includes products by names such as Zara, Massimo Dutti, GAP, Ralph Lauren, Diesel, Lacoste, Roberto Cavalli, Versace, and Mango. Additionally, visitors can choose between various sports shoe brands, including Adidas, Puma, and Nike.

GEA chairman, Turki Al-Asheikh, thanked Kuwaiti actresses Hayat Al-Fahad and Suad Abdullah, and Saudi actor Bashir Al-Ghunaim for taking part in the official festival promo that gained millions of views.

The GEA aims to encourage private-sector organizations to develop entertainment activities in the Kingdom. It was established in line with Saudi Vision 2030 to organize and develop the entertainment sector in the country and provide options and entertainment opportunities for all segments of society.


KSRelief provides COVID-19 vaccines, health services in Yemen

KSRelief provides COVID-19 vaccines, health services in Yemen
Updated 02 October 2022

KSRelief provides COVID-19 vaccines, health services in Yemen

KSRelief provides COVID-19 vaccines, health services in Yemen
  • This comes as part of the Kingdom’s efforts to support Yemen and its people

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center (KSrelief) provided health services to displaced people in Yemen, as well as Coronavirus vaccines in the country, the Saudi Press Agency (SPA) reported on Saturday. 
 
KSRelief has been providing support to Yemen’s national vaccination campaign, implemented by the Yemeni Ministry of Public Health and Population, in 12 governorates. 

KSRelief worked with the ministry from Sept. 24 to 28 as part of efforts to vaccinate a wider group of the population against the virus, according to SPA. 
 
Through the campaign, 446,966 people were vaccinated and 2,242 members of the Yemeni vaccination team were trained.

KSRelief also deployed 320 volunteer teams and 180 mobile teams to vaccinate the targeted population, SPA reported. 

The organization also set up mobile medical centers at Waalan Camp in the Haradh District to provide treatment to displaced people, according to SPA. 

From Sept. 14 to 20, the clinics received 56 beneficiaries with various health conditions in different clinics and departments and provided them with necessary medical services.

The KSRelief clinics also provided 162 individuals with medication.

The vaccination campaign and health services all come within the framework of the Kingdom’s goal to continue to provide support to Yemen and its people, SPA said.