Saudi woman Sondos Jaan set to climb the highest peak in the Arab world

Sondos Jaan from Madinah hopes that young Saudi girls reading about her adventures will feel encouraged to take up sports and hobbies they are passionate about. (Supplied)
Sondos Jaan from Madinah hopes that young Saudi girls reading about her adventures will feel encouraged to take up sports and hobbies they are passionate about. (Supplied)
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Updated 22 June 2024
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Saudi woman Sondos Jaan set to climb the highest peak in the Arab world

Saudi woman Sondos Jaan set to climb the highest peak in the Arab world
  • Adventurer tackles Mount Toubkal in Morocco

DHAHRAN: Sondos Jaan embarked on the journey to the highest peak in the Arab world on June 20.

It is the latest episode in Jaan’s love for mountain adventures, but to understand the fascination it is important to take a look back at her childhood.

She told Arab News: “I am from Madinah. I was born in a city where I could see a mountain from my bedroom window, and as I walked the streets I would see mountains.”




A picture of Sondos Jaan aged about 5 on the top of a mountain with her father. (Supplied)

Those peaks were an important part of her early childhood. There are pictures of Jaan aged about 5 on the top of mountains. She said: “I call these pictures ‘Sondos between two mountains,’ the real mountain carved in nature, and my father.”

During family camping trips, she would sneak away the moment her family was not paying attention in order to climb a mountain.

HIGHLIGHTS

• For her latest adventure, Sondos Jaan is climbing Morocco’s Mount Toubkal, which is a height of 4,167 meters.

• The climb has two routes: The first takes three days of climbing, and the second takes two days but is more challenging.

She added: “I would hear my father calling me, telling me to stay put and to wait for him. My dear father would come to me and we would then climb together, step by step, him telling me where to place my feet until we reached the summit, and then we would descend together, just the two of us.”




Sondos Jaan from Madinah hopes that young Saudi girls reading about her adventures will feel encouraged to take up sports and hobbies they are passionate about. (Supplied)

Her father was the first adventurer she knew. He was always prepared, she says, and “his car was always ready for a trip.”

She said: “He would tell me stories when he returned from hunting trips, whether on land or at sea. I would imagine the stories as if he were the hero in one of the animated films I watched. Sometimes he would take me with him, and I felt like I was part of the story.”




Sondos Jaan from Madinah hopes that young Saudi girls reading about her adventures will feel encouraged to take up sports and hobbies they are passionate about. (Supplied)

Her love for adventure was instilled in her by her father from a very early age. And it seems mountain climbing is in her DNA.

Jaan said: “My father is my primary mountain-climbing coach, and I certainly inherited the spirit of adventure and love for travel, experiences, and camping from him.




Sondos Jaan from Madinah hopes that young Saudi girls reading about her adventures will feel encouraged to take up sports and hobbies they are passionate about. (Supplied)

“He taught me swimming, horse riding, hunting, fishing, and the basics of camping.”

For her latest adventure, Jaan and a friend are climbing Morocco’s Mount Toubkal, which is a height of 4,167 meters. The climb has two routes: the first takes three days of climbing, and the second takes two days but is more challenging.




A file photo of Sondos Jaan when she was about five years old. (Supplied)

They started the climb early, continuing for about nine to 11 hours, followed by an overnight stay at an elevation of 3,200 meters above sea level.

She believes that elements of nature are instilled within each of us and it is our duty — and a privilege — to find and channel those elements.

She said that climbing to Everest Base Camp was the hardest trek she has yet attempted. It was a two-week journey and she added that she was not able to sleep, eat well or breathe properly due to oxygen deficiency in the two days leading up to arrival at the base camp. However, those were not the main factors behind it being her most difficult climb.

She said: “The (main) reason was simply managing expectations. I was emotional after walking all that time and reaching what was supposed to be the summit for that trip, only to realize it wasn’t even the summit.

“It was the main camp where climbers camp for two months every year before attempting to reach the Everest summit, allowing their bodies to acclimatize to the oxygen deficiency, training, and waiting for the right time to climb the summit.”

The experience taught her a valuable lesson, and she added: “I remember descending and as soon as we settled in one of the tea houses, I cried.

“They asked me why. I said I wanted pizza, crying real tears. The owners of the house tried hard to make pizza for me. I ate one slice and gave the rest to their dog. I reflected on my feelings and asked myself, ‘Why did I act that way?’ And the simple answer was, we didn’t reach the summit, we just saw it up close.”

She considers the thrill of the journey, and not only the destination, to be one worth embracing. She now believes that the feeling of almost giving up happens during every climb; she sees it as a healthy sign.

She added: “It is a reminder that I am human. It is also a reminder that I am capable of doing things that might seem impossible, not because I have superhuman strength, but because I am a human capable of overcoming challenges. This gives me the motivation to complete the climb.”

She believes her latest adventure also serves a greater purpose. Seeing Saudi women participate in various fields, especially sports, helps encourage her to keep striving for the highest heights.

She hopes that young girls reading about her adventures will feel encouraged to take up sports and hobbies they are passionate about, and that her experiences will help to push them to their limits to break stereotypes and barriers along the way.

She is to continue her climb, whether it be a mountain to conquer, or toward the goals of her gender.

For those starting out, she advised: “(You must) start with small, achievable goals and gradually increase the difficulty level. Ensure you have the right gear and training: it’s important to be physically and mentally prepared.

“Join a community or group of climbers for support and motivation. Most importantly, believe in yourself and enjoy the journey.”

 


Saudi defense minister meets with French ambassador to Kingdom in Riyadh

Saudi defense minister meets with French ambassador to Kingdom in Riyadh
Updated 19 sec ago
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Saudi defense minister meets with French ambassador to Kingdom in Riyadh

Saudi defense minister meets with French ambassador to Kingdom in Riyadh

RIYADH: Saudi defense minister Prince Khalid bin Salman met with the French ambassador to the Kingdom, Ludovic Pouille, in Riyadh on Monday.

During the meeting, they reviewed relations between Saudi Arabia and France and discussed a number of issues and topics of common interest, Saudi Press Agency reported.

The meeting was also attended by Prince Abdulrahman bin Mohammed bin Ayyaf, the deputy minister of defense and the Chief of the General Staff, Lieutenant General Fayyad bin Hamed Al-Ruwaili.

The assistant minister of defense for executive affairs, Khalid bin Hussein Al-Bayari and the director general of the office of the minister of defense, Hisham bin Abdulaziz bin Saif were also in attendance.

On the French side, it was attended by the military attache to the Kingdom, Jean-Christophe Guerdet and the ambassador’s adviser Wassim Zammat.


Saudi Real Estate Registry clinches prestigious Esri GIS Award

Saudi Real Estate Registry clinches prestigious Esri GIS Award
Updated 22 July 2024
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Saudi Real Estate Registry clinches prestigious Esri GIS Award

Saudi Real Estate Registry clinches prestigious Esri GIS Award
  • Accolade, awarded at the international Esri User Conference in the US, recognizes the registry’s innovative application of geographic information system technology
  • RER CEO Mohammed Al-Sulaiman: It supports our vision of creating a comprehensive real estate registry for all property data and information in the Kingdom

RIYADH: The Saudi Real Estate Registry has been honored with the 2024 Special Achievement in GIS (SAG) Award, presented by the Environmental Systems Research Institute (Esri), the Saudi Press Agency reported.

The accolade, awarded at the international Esri User Conference in the US, recognizes the registry’s innovative application of geographic information system technology.

According to the SPA, Mohammed Al-Sulaiman, CEO of the Saudi Real Estate Registry, received the award from Esri CEO Jack Dangermond, highlighting the organization’s exceptional use of spatial technologies and AI-supported geospatial data predictive analysis. The registry has developed a detailed geospatial map of Saudi Arabia’s real estate using ArcGIS and Esri technologies.

“This award confirms our world-class implementation of GIS technologies,” Al-Sulaiman said. “It supports our vision of creating a comprehensive real estate registry for all property data and information in the Kingdom, with geospatial surveying as the foundation for property registration.”

Since its inception, the Real Estate Registry has employed a range of advanced technologies in executing geospatial operations, including drones, digital geospatial solutions and systems, remote sensing, AI and satellite-based GPS, the SPA reported.

The registry aims to produce a reliable and updated real estate map, the first of its kind in the Kingdom, covering more than 100,000 sq. km of urban areas, encompassing 8 million plots and generating 5,000 terabytes of data.

Al-Sulaiman said that the initiative will enhance transparency and reliability in the real estate sector, ensuring its sustainability, and boosting its investment appeal and contribution to Saudi Arabia’s gross domestic product, in line with the goals of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030.


Last group of Hajj pilgrims leaves via Madinah airport

Hajj pilgrims depart from Madinah’s Prince Mohammed bin Abdulaziz International Airport on Sunday evening. (SPA)
Hajj pilgrims depart from Madinah’s Prince Mohammed bin Abdulaziz International Airport on Sunday evening. (SPA)
Updated 22 July 2024
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Last group of Hajj pilgrims leaves via Madinah airport

Hajj pilgrims depart from Madinah’s Prince Mohammed bin Abdulaziz International Airport on Sunday evening. (SPA)
  • 320 pilgrims departed the holy city for Kertajati, Indonesia and a farewell ceremony was held for them by Saudia

RIYADH: The last group of Hajj pilgrims left the Kingdom via Madinah’s Prince Mohammed bin Abdulaziz International Airport on Sunday evening.

320 pilgrims departed the holy city for Kertajati, Indonesia and a farewell ceremony was held for them by Saudia, concluding its operations for Hajj 2024.

Saudia flights provided quality services to enhance the Hajj experience of pilgrims this year, including various educational programs in different languages, Saudi Press Agency reported.


Jeddah’s Historic District celebrates 10 years on UNESCO World Heritage List

Jeddah’s Historic District celebrates 10 years on UNESCO World Heritage List
Updated 22 July 2024
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Jeddah’s Historic District celebrates 10 years on UNESCO World Heritage List

Jeddah’s Historic District celebrates 10 years on UNESCO World Heritage List

JEDDAH: The Jeddah Historic District Program celebrated the 10th anniversary of the district’s inclusion on the UNESCO World Heritage List.

The district was inscribed on the list in 2014 in recognition of its outstanding universal value.

According to a statement, the program oversaw the regeneration and preservation of the district’s cultural and urban heritage, transforming it into a global destination aligned with Saudi Vision 2030.

Historic Jeddah spans an area of 2.5 sq. km along the Red Sea coast. Serving as a major port for pilgrims arriving in Makkah and a hub for global trade routes between Asia and Africa since the 7th century, the district has been a center of cultural and economic exchange for centuries.

According to UNESCO’s criteria for inscribing the Historic Jeddah district on the World Heritage List, the area fulfills three key requirements — representing an important interchange of human values over time, being an outstanding example of a type of building or architectural ensemble, and being directly associated with events, living traditions, or artistic works of outstanding universal significance.

Facing numerous challenges, such as the need to save dilapidated buildings and improve infrastructure while preserving the area’s historical and cultural character, the program has implemented various projects within the framework of the regeneration plan. These efforts have enriched the visitor experience and enhanced the district as an attractive tourist destination, according to the statement.

The Jeddah Historic District Program has established four main pillars for the district’s restoration efforts: intangible cultural heritage, archaeology and excavation (the wall and historic gates), urban fabric (markets, squares, and streets), and historic buildings (houses, mosques, and endowments).

The program has also set standards for the preservation of the area’s heritage, including the use of traditional materials and the maintenance of original building heights.


Madinah Book Fair commences on July 30

Madinah Book Fair commences on July 30
Updated 22 July 2024
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Madinah Book Fair commences on July 30

Madinah Book Fair commences on July 30

Jeddah: The third Madinah Book Fair will take place from July 30 to Aug. 5, the Literature, Publishing, and Translation Commission announced on Monday.

The Saudi Press Agency reported that the event promises to be a cultural extravaganza, featuring over 300 Arab and international publishing houses and agencies spread across more than 200 booths.

Mohammed Hasan Alwan, CEO of the commission, emphasized the significance of the fair, highlighting the continuous support the cultural sector receives.

He said the event showcases the cultural importance of Madinah and its role in enhancing the artistic movement and the Kingdom’s growing status in the publishing industry.

The fair has become an annual event, attracting thousands of visitors from all walks of life.

Alwan explained that the commission has ensured the latest edition provides a rich and integrated knowledge experience for visitors of all ages, building on the remarkable successes of previous fairs.

According to SPA, the Madinah Book Fair aims to be a cultural platform that encourages the community to take an interest in reading, highlighting the talents of Saudi writers and creators while attracting prominent writers and publishers from the Kingdom, the region, and the world.

The fair will feature cultural and intellectual activities aimed at enriching the cultural sector and knowledge production, promoting a reading culture.

A significant area is dedicated to children, offering educational and skill-based activities and workshops that boost children’s creative abilities.

The Madinah Book Fair announced the start of visitor registration for free entry tickets through the Discover Culture platform at: ‏https://dc.moc.gov.sa/home/ar/event-tickets/379/almadinah-book-fair-2024/