Riyadh, Asharq Al-Awsat- Farouk al Zuman, a Saudi national, announced last Sunday 16 March that he would be the first citizen of the Kingdom to attempt to climb Mount Everest. In a press conference held in Riyadh, al Zuman, 30 years old, stated that he would be undertaking the mountaineering trip with an international team at the end of this month.
Al Zuman revealed that the primary objective of his endeavor is to be the first Saudi national to climb the mountain and raise the Saudi flag on its peak “to set an example of conquering challenges for Saudi youth,” as he puts it.
He stated that he would be following the plan set for his team after he qualified and passed the medical examinations. The team is comprised of four other mountain climbers; French, American, Canadian and a national from the Sultanate of Oman, and four independent climbers from the US.
The eight-member green team, of which al Zuman is a member, is led by the Canadian Tim Rebel who is assisted by another team comprised of 17 Nepalese nationals who will provide assistance, support and guidance throughout the trip.
Al Zuman, an economics graduate who studied at Oregon State University in the US revealed that he had climbed Mount Rainer (4,300 meters) in Washington and was looking forward to a bigger challenge with Everest, which is 8,850 meters in elevation above the surface ground.
He also revealed that the trip will be four weeks long at least and that the temperature is known to sometimes reach -50 degrees centigrade and that avalanches were a major cause for concern during climbs.
Of the four Arabs who attempted to climb the perilous mountain three succeeded; a Kuwaiti, Lebanese and Egyptian respectively. On an international level, 3,679 climbers had succeeded in climbing Mount Everest in 2007, however only 2,436 of them reached the peak of the mountain. Attempts to climb Everest began in 1921 and the number of deaths since then is 210 individuals.
Farouk al Zuman has received a lot of media attention in Saudi and his progress will be closely followed via satellite. With regards to the necessary equipment for this trip, it has been provided by various Asian countries, while the electronic devices were obtained from the US and funded by a private Saudi party.