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Friday, October 22, 2021

Qatar’s Sheikha Asma becomes first Arab woman to climb ‘killer mountain’ without oxygen


The eighth tallest mountain in the world is dubbed the “killer mountain” by locals due to its challenging road. 

Qatar’s Sheikha Asma al-Thani became the first Arab woman to climb an 8,000er without oxygen after reaching the top of Mount Manaslu, the eighth tallest mountain in the world.

Manaslu summit point is one of the most dangerous in the world, with locals nicknaming it “killer mountain” due to its treacherous slopes.

Towering in the west-central above the pine forests of Nepal’s Budhi Gandaki river valley, the mountain stands at 8,163m above the sea, with the summit point so narrow that it cannot accommodate 2-3 climbers together.

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On her Instagram page, the local mountaineer said the journey was challenging and pushed her out of her comfort zone at every level. Fortunately, after all the hard work, Sheikha now holds a title that will forever be documented in history.

“The Qatar flag has been raised for the first time on the top of Manaslu,” the climber narrated on her social media.

Asma al Thani at Mt. Manaslu in Gorkha’s summit in Nepal. [Instagram]
“From training two times a day with @clairemurphyxo (Claire Murphy) and @pierredaniel_active (Pierre Daniel) to mentally preparing for a goal I never thought I could set for myself until @Nimsdai (Nirmal Purja) set my goal a little higher. ‘You can do this without oxygen’ – he said,” Asma recalled, adding that she had a restless night without sleep to reach the summit.

However, it was all worth it. The record-setter said that the moment she started the summit push, all she could remember was Mohamed bin Abdulla al-Thani’s words of wisdom:

“Don’t forget to look up at the stars. Why do we even try when the barriers are so high and the odds are so low? Why don’t we just pack it in and go home? Our goals, and challenges are what spark that magic within us. We can only go forward if we tell ourselves we can,” he would say.

And slowly, after overcoming all challenges, the Qatari woman became the first Arab to summit an 8,000er without O2.

“Don’t downgrade your dream just to fit your reality, upgrade your conviction to match your destiny,” she said in her Instagram post, in which she thanked all her friends and family who supported her throughout her adventures.

“Everything changed, my dreams just got a little bigger,” the post read.

“It takes a person that knows the power of a dream to expand it beyond what you think is possible,” she added.

In a tweet, Qatar Olympic Committee praised Asma’s achievement, which has earned Qatar a well-deserved new Arab record.

“Congratulations to all of Qatar. Our flag waves high at an altitude of 8,163m above sea level. Qatari mountain climber @atalthani (Sheikha Asma al-Thani) reaches the summit of Mount Manaslu, 8th tallest mountain in the world, and becomes the first Arab women to climb an 8,000er without oxygen,” the committee tweeted.

And with big achievements come bigger dreams.

For her next goal, Sheikha Asma hopes to become the first Qatari woman to stand at 8,849 metres above sea level at Everest’s summit, adding yet another title to her records.

She conquered two summers in 2018 and 2019 when she became the first Qatari to ski the last degree to the North Pole and summit Aconcagua, consecutively.

Her main goal is to become the first woman from the Middle East to complete the Explorers Grand Slam — a challenge to reach both North Pole, South Pole, and climb all the Seven Summits (Everest, Aconcagua, Denali, Kilimanjaro, Vinson, Puncak Jaya, and Mount Elbrus).

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