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From an early age, Raha was never a

couch potato. She was always very sporty and very active in normal life. She used to play volleyball, scuba-dive, dance and horseback ride. She had always been a handy-‘man’ around the house too. She was born in Saudi Arabia and lives in the UAE. She studied at the University of Sharjah which she graduated with a Bachelor of Visual Communication. She then worked in advertising for several years before deciding in 2011 that a desk-job was not her calling in life and became a mountaineer. Whilst Raha’s upbringing was fortunate to be able to partake in many activities as a younger girl, she was still battling cultural expectations and perceptions. Whilst many companies in western cultures would jump up at the opportunity to get their name on the back of an inspiration like Raha, it is not the same in Saudi Arabia. “They generally don’t encourage girls to be active or sporty because they view it as a ‘boys past time’. I looked but didn’t find a cause that wanted to support me or sponsor me because the notion of sponsoring a Saudi Woman wasn’t appealing. No one wanted to get involved or help at any step of the way, but I was still happy to do it myself. I get more attention now that I have climbed Everest, but it’s still a battle finding any sponsors. Raha’s first dose of serious mountaineering was Kilimanjaro which was the first mental barrier that Raha had to cross. “I was told that I couldn’t. The said “you’re a Saudi and you want to climb Mt Kilimanjaro?”. It really bothered me that the colour of my passport was supposed

to dictate my capabilities. It really started of as “I’m just going to climb Kilimanjaro and even if I’m crawling to the top, I’m going to make it! After Kilimanjaro I loved the experience. I loved the rush of you-vs-you and the outdoor feel. It married two of my favourite aspects: being outdoor and being healthy. It was also a very sociable experience as you travel to different places and meet with new people through the climbing process. At the top of the Kilimanjaro summit I felt climbing was something I wanted to do. The Kilimanjaro summit push was the hardest summit push I have ever done because I hadn’t done climbing before and I didn’t know what I was doing exactly. I was pushed to my limit as my body wasn’t functioning anymore and my mind was doing all the work, but I loved it because I was training my mind and my body to work together. At first I said “just one summit”, but then that one lead to Everest”. Pushing to do Everest: Whilst Raha had no trouble in convincing herself of doing Everest, it was another story when it came to convincing her home, and country. “My parents didn’t want me to climb Everest, which I ended up doing the year after Kilimanjaro actually. I had just come back from climbing St Vincent in Antarctica and it was my birthday. My parents asked me “what do you want for your birthday” and I just replied “mmmm…Everest?”. It took a while to convince them but they eventually supported the climb. Not only that but at first, everyone had an opinion of me climbing Everest. I received quite a large amount of grief from various parts of society. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but it would be nice for

Dec 2013

Profile for Positively Transforming World

PTW: December 2013  

Raha Moharrak and James Saward-Anderson share their stories of climbing Everest and running from London-to-Rome in PTW Magazine. Health, edu...

PTW: December 2013  

Raha Moharrak and James Saward-Anderson share their stories of climbing Everest and running from London-to-Rome in PTW Magazine. Health, edu...

Profile for ptwmag
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