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Raha Moharrak: Conquering Mountains and Expectations

SportsRaha Moharrak: Conquering Mountains and Expectations

While Raha Moharrak stood 8,849 m above ground carrying the Saudi flag, she says that while it was a cause for celebration, she had to avoid getting too excited because the descent remained.

This moment of clarity, rationality, and staunch determination is what enabled Raha to climb Everest.

Early Life 

Born the youngest of three children in Jeddah, Raha Moharrak received much of her early education in the UAE and had a keen sense of adventure.

Due to her dyslexia, career prospects in the realms of science and mathematics seemed unlikely, so she pursued a degree in visual communication and graphic design at the American University of Sharjah and graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree. 

The degree led her to seek employment in an advertising agency for about three years before she got restless and started looking for more.

Returning to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Raha got the idea to try to scale Everest. Once she voiced that idea, she immediately shut down, being told that she couldn’t do it. Raha took that as a challenge. 

Tired of living as a stereotype, Raha Moharrak wanted to do something to show the world that Saudi women were more than what was portrayed of them in the media, that they could do whatever they wanted to, even scale the tallest mountain in the world. Now that she had a goal in mind, it was time to put her plan into motion. 

Read: Scuba Diving in Saudi Arabia

The first step was to convince her father. While Rahas’ family was not very conservative, some ideas still scared them, including this one.

When Raha first asked her father, he refused. Rather than being discouraged and sitting back, Raha immediately began typing out a massive email for her father in hopes of convincing him to support this endeavor.

For three days, Raha waited anxiously, awaiting the reply to decide her next course of action. Lucky for her, Her father extended his support and told her to go for it. With her determination and her family’s support, Raha started on her journey. 

Preparation and Early Mountaineering Pursuits 

As someone who hadn’t been actively involved in a healthy lifestyle or many outdoor pursuits, the next step was to figure out how to do this.

She turned towards the internet, gathering information about how she should train and what to expect as a first-time climber. For two months, Raha underwent rigorous training, taking up biking, volleyball, rock climbing, and visiting the gym way too much.

Getting into shape for the climb was no easy task. She had to completely revamp her daily schedule and work on her physical fitness with the utmost care and diligence. After two months, Raha felt that she was finally ready to take up her first mountain. 

Booking a ticket with a fellow climber, Raha set off to conquer Mount Kilimanjaro, the tallest peak in Africa. Being her first time, Raha did not know what to expect, but she knew that this was what she was destined to do, feeling a sense of freedom and purpose on her way there.

Kilimanjaro took a week to scale, during which she faced several hardships, including hypothermia. Luckily, her teammates caught her as soon as things started going wrong.

When elaborating on her exploits, she added that this camaraderie is one thing she loved about climbing. After a week of gruelling work, Raha reached the top and unfurled the Saudi Flag.

Things got easier from then on. Her family’s support became more vital as they saw how determined she was and how her efforts were paying off. She was invited to join the Everest Base Camp and started climbing more mountains.

She climbed Mount Vinson, Antarctica’s highest peak, America’s highest peak; Aconcagua, Mexico’s highest mountain, Pico de Orizaba; a dormant volcano in Mexico (Iztaccihuatl); another dormant volcano, Mount Elbrus in the Western Caucasus Range; and Kala Pattar, a mountain in the Nepalese Himalayas. With enough hills in the bag, it was time for Everest. 

Climbing Mount Everest 

On May 18, Raha set off with her three teammates to climb Mount Everest with 64 others. Her team included a member of the Royal Qatari Family, a Palestinian businessman, and an Iranian living in Dubai.

In the four-person team, Raha attempted to be the First Saudi woman to climb Everest, Mohammad Al-Thani, the first Qatari man, and Raed Zidan, the first Palestinian man.  While climbing, they worked with a charity called “Reach out to Asia’’ to raise money for Nepali Education. 

The two-month climb to the top was hard and challenging at every step, but Raha trudged on. After a very long hike, she reached the peak and found nothing but utter satisfaction.

Unfurling the Saudi Flag to the cold mountain breeze, Raha stood up there with pride, knowing that not only did she manage to accomplish what she set out to do, but she had also made herself, her family, and her country proud of her. Not only that, but she also stood as an inspiration to all women and mountaineers. 

When asked why she decided to climb Mount Everest, Raha iterated that she did not have any political or social reasons for doing so. She did so because she wanted to.

She wanted a challenge, so she climbed her first mountain. She loved the adventure and the feeling of freedom it offered, so she kept at it until she reached Everest. 

What Next? 

Since climbing Mount Everest, Raha has gained immense international fame and inspired many. Not only did she inspire many young girls and women to take up their hobbies and try to accomplish what they dreamed of, but she also pushed forward and kept on with her journey, aiming to do more and more.

Due to her acclaim, she is also an attractive candidate for international brands like Tag Heuer and Burberry, and she is quick to contact them and make them her brand ambassadors.

She even took up a sponsorship from Adidas and worked on promoting female empowerment in the Middle East. 

Raha continues to pursue an MBA degree in Women’s Leadership from Synergy University in Dubai, maintain her profession as a graphic designer, and climb mountains simultaneously.

Her next ambition is to conquer Mount Kosciuszko and Mount McKinley in Australia and Alaska, completing all seven world summits. 

Her sense of adventure, endless courage, and determination inspire many. She also proved everyone wrong about what she could and could not do.

She never let it bring her down; instead, she used it to fuel the fire inside her and keep moving forward despite all barriers—a true cause of pride to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the world, and women worldwide. 

You can find Raha on instagram, twitter, and facebook

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