Sheikha Asma Al Thani, First Qatari Woman to Summit the Everest

Sheikha Asma Al Thani, a Qatari mountaineer, holds several remarkable achievements in her climbing career. She made history as the first Qatari woman to reach the summit of Mount Everest, Lhotse, and Manaslu, K2, and climbed Ama Dablam. She further distinguished herself as the first Qatari person to ski to the North Pole. On her climb to Manaslu, she achieved the significant milestone of becoming the first Arab person to conquer an eight-thousander without the use of supplemental oxygen. In addition to her impressive climbing feats, Sheikha Asma Al Thani also serves as the Director of Marketing and Communications for the Qatar Olympic Committee, representing her country on the global stage. She is part of the ruling family of Qatar, showcasing her passion for both mountaineering and her nation’s sports initiatives.

Sheikha Asma Al Thani, a Qatari athlete hailing from the royal family, has broken records and become a role model for women’s empowerment in the Arab World and beyond. She is known for her leadership in encouraging women to follow their dreams and reach their aspirations. With a passion for adventure and a compassionate nature, Sheikha Asma has also taken on the role of Marketing and Communications Director at the Qatar Olympic Committee. Through her direction, she has spearheaded successful campaigns for some of Qatar’s most prominent sporting events.

UNHCR began collaborating with Sheikha Asma just before her winter expedition to Antarctica, where she conquered Mount Vinson, the tallest peak in the South Pole, at the beginning of 2022. She is working towards completing the Explorer’s Grand Slam and has already become the first Arab to climb six of the seven highest summits on every continent, as well as skiing to both the North and South Poles. In addition, she has achieved the feat of being the first Arab to summit seven of the fourteen peaks above 8,000 meters. Through her expeditions, Sheikha Asma Al Thani aims to raise awareness about the challenges faced by refugees and advocate for greater support for those who have been forced to flee their homes due to conflict and persecution. Her journeys serve as a powerful voice for the forcibly displaced.

First Qatari Woman to Summit Everest

First Qatari woman to climb EverestRising proudly at 8,849 meters above sea level, Sheikha Asma Al Thani has achieved the remarkable feat of becoming the first Qatari woman to reach the summit of Mount Everest, which is renowned as the highest mountain peak in the world. In light of her outstanding accomplishments, she has been awarded the prestigious GCC Excellence Decoration by HE Salah bin Ghanem bin Nasser Al Ali, Minister of Sports and Youth. This recognition serves as a testament to her commendable efforts in positively impacting youth work. As a role model for young individuals, she has exemplified how to overcome challenges and break through societal gender stereotypes, inspiring others to follow in her footsteps.

The expedition led by Al Thani and her team spanned a month and 10 days, covering 210 kilometres before reaching the pinnacle of the world’s highest peak. At the start of the adventure, Adidas presented Sheikha Asma and her companions with the official FIFA World Cup Qatar match ball. Dubbed ‘Al Rihla’, meaning ‘the journey’, this gift stayed by her side as they conquered Everest. Al Rihla stands as the inaugural Arabic match ball for the World Cup, drawing inspiration from Qatar’s culture, architecture, traditional dhows, and national flag. This marks Adidas’s 14th consecutive creation for the FIFA World Cup 2022.

Sheikha Asma has achieved a remarkable feat by reaching the summit with Al Rihla, notably as Qatar prepares to welcome the FIFA World Cup this year. She symbolically carried the official match ball, highlighting Qatar’s path to becoming the first Arab nation to host such a prestigious football tournament. Qatar now has the chance to honour and take pride in its talented athletes, with Adidas remaining committed to nurturing and promoting local talent in the sports field within the country and the region.

Regarding Al Thani, her adventure does not conclude upon reaching the summit of Everest. Her goal is to persist in motivating and encouraging women by defying the typical explorer storyline as she pursues the completion of the Explorer’s Grand Slam. Several other women from the Arab region, such as Nayla Al Baloushi from UAE, Nelly Attar from Lebanon, Mona Shahab from Saudi Arabia, and Suzanne Al Houby from Palestine, have recently accomplished the feat of summiting the mountain peak. Suzanne Al Houby holds the distinction of being the first to lead the way for these inspirational women, among numerous others.

Sheikha Asma Al Thani: Accomplishments and Career

Mountaineering Achievements

  • 2014: First Qatari woman to summit Kilimanjaro as part of a group of climbers.
  • 2018: First Qatari to ski to the North Pole, raising the Qatari flag on 21 April as part of the all-female Euro-Arabian Polar expedition led by Felicity Aston. Recognized as “Woman of the Year” by Grazia magazine in Qatar.
  • 2019: First Qatari woman to summit Aconcagua.
  • 2021:
    • 8 November: First Qatari woman to summit Ama Dablam.
    • Summited Mount Elbrus, Dhaulagiri, and Manaslu, becoming the first Arab to reach the summit of an eight-thousander without the use of oxygen.
  • 2022:
    • Climbed Mount Vinson in January.
    • 9 May: First Arab to climb Kangchenjunga.
    • 27 May: Reached the summit of Everest, carrying the Adidas football “Al Rihla” created for the FIFA World Cup Qatar.
    • 28 May: Summited Lhotse.
    • July: Summited K2.
    • 17 June: Climbed Denali, her sixth of the Seven Summits.

Professional Career

  • Director of Marketing and Communications for the Qatar Olympic Committee (QOC).

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