Qatari mountain climber Sheikha Asma hits new heights

© Team Qatar
© Team Qatar

Doha, Qatar, October 10, 2021: Qatari mountain climber Sheikha Asma Al Thani has become the first Arab and first Qatari in history to summit the world’s seventh and eighth tallest mountains above sea level.

Sheikha Asma summitted Manaslu (8,163 metres) and Dhaulagiri (8,167 metres) just 10 days apart - on Tuesday, September 28 and Friday, October 8, 2021. 

Both were moments for the mountaineering history books as no woman or man from the Arab region or Qatar had previously reached the peak of Manaslu without the use of bottled oxygen, or summited Dhaulagiri just ten days later.

Sheikha Asma said: “The past few weeks have honestly been the most incredible weeks of my life. I have never felt stronger, and I have certainly never felt so unburdened by the barriers we so often place on ourselves.

“I feel honoured to have become the first Qatari to summit both these mountains, let alone the first Arab to climb Manaslu, a mountain over 8,000 metres, without oxygen. I hope that women and young people across the Middle East will see how dreams can be achieved through hard work and perseverance. 

“Just like on the mountain, to achieve your goals in life you must always keep moving forward, one step and one day at a time.”

In preparation for her summit attempts, Sheikha Asma trained extensively with legendary Nepalese mountaineer Nirmal “Nims” Purja MBE. 

Sheikha Asma, 32, is on a journey to become the first Qatari woman to complete the Explorers Grand Slam - climbing the Seven Summits and reaching the North Pole and South Pole. 

The senior official in the Qatar Olympic Committee is a major advocate of female empowerment in the Middle East and has significant influence within the Qatari, regional and international sports world. 

Source: Louise Watsham, JTA/AIPS