30-year-old wants to become first Saudi atop Mt Everest

March 17th, 2008 - 8:24 pm ICT by admin  

Dubai, March 17 (IANS) A 30-year-old man wants to become the first Saudi to climb Mount Everest, the world’s highest peak, hoping to place his country’s flag on the top by the middle of May this year. Farouq Al-Zoman, who has been climbing mountains in the US for sometime now, has been nurturing the dream of becoming the first Saudi to be on top of Mount Everest for a long time.

“I hope that Allah will allow me to be the first Saudi to unfurl my country’s flag on the highest mountain in the world,” he told the Saudi Gazette.

A trained mountaineer, Zoman has climbed the 4,322-metre Mount Shasta in California and the 4,344-metre Mount Rainier in Washington.

Mount Everest, at 8,848 metres, is a far stiffer challenge.

Zoman’s expedition will start March 23 and will proceed to a place in southern Nepal where the team will undergo endurance tests for one week to get accustomed to the conditions.

In the final phase, the team will attempt the climb and expects to complete the ascent in one-and-a-half-month’s time.

Nepal has banned all expeditions to Mount Everest till May 10 as China wants to take the Beijing Olympic torch to the mountain by end April or early May.

Zoman’s team, which comprises three climbers from the US and one each from Canada, France and Oman, expects to complete the climb by the middle of May.

The Saudi climber said as part of his training he was practising yoga.

“Yoga has helped me when I climb, holding in and forcing air out is very helpful, although not many climbers use it,” he said.

By the end of the 2007 climbing season, there had been 3,679 ascents to Mount Everest by 2,436 individuals. There have been 210 deaths on the mountain.

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