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Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdullah Al Thani at the top of Denali.

Qatar Foundation

Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdullah Al Thani at the top of Denali.

Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdullah Al Thani has become the first Qatari and one of only 350 people in the world to climb the seven highest mountains peaks on seven continents.

The Reach Out to Asia (ROTA) goodwill ambassador completed the Seven Summits challenge earlier this month after scaling the peak of Denali in Alaska, North America, Qatar Foundation (QF) announced.

The 28-day climb was a particularly arduous one due to storms and strong winds of up to 80km/hour, QF said in a statement. But he persevered and proudly raised the Qatari flag at the top of Denali on June 3.

Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdullah Al Thani at the top of Denali

Qatar Foundation

Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdullah Al Thani at the top of Denali

In a statement, Al Thani said that after thousands of hours of training and hard work, he was “extremely proud of having successfully hoisted the Qatari flag on the tallest peaks of each of the world’s seven continents.”

He added:

“I believe we must set our targets high and dedicate ourselves to pursuing them despite all obstacles, because beautiful and great things in one’s life do not come easily.”

Other successes

Sheikh Mohammed, who goes by Moe, is also the first Qatari to climb Mount Everest, a feat he accomplished at the age of 30 years old in 2013.

At the time, he said trekking 8,848m above sea level took conquering the “huge mountain inside me saying I can’t do it.”

Al Thani has also climbed Mount Kilimanjaro in Africa (5,895m) twice, in 2010 and 2014. During his second trip, he was with a group that saw the first female Qataris successfully summit that continent’s tallest peak.

Mt. Kilimanjaro

ian 1602/Flickr

Mt. Kilimanjaro

Over the past seven years, his other climbs included:

  • Mount Vinson, the tallest mountain in Antarctica (December 2011);
  • Mount Elbrus, the highest point in Europe (August 2012);
  • Mount Kosciuszko, Australia (October 2012); and
  • Mount Aconcagua, South America (January 2013).

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By Mai Akkad

After two months of hard climbing, sleeping on icy floors and missing the birth of his third child, Sheikh Mohammed Al Thani became the first Qatari to reach the top of Mt. Everest on May 22, 2013.

Getting to that point took conquering the “huge mountain inside me saying I can’t do it,” Al Thani, who is now safely back in Qatar, said to journalists on Monday.

“Standing on the highest point on earth was like my gold medal in the Olympics…I wasn’t competing against my fellow friends, I was competing against myself,” said the 30-year-old, who goes by Moe.

“It was the best moment in my life raising the Qatari flag on that mountain,” he added.

Overcoming skeptics

Al Thani’s mission to conquer the highest mountain in the world began five years ago, after he a tour guide teased him for a passing comment about climbing Mt. Everest.

“He started laughing,” Al Thani said. “He told me there is no way. You are a 25-year old guy whose jumping all over the river rafters…There is no way you can climb this mountain.”

Channeling the skepticism constructively, Al Thani began to educate himself about mountaineering and within a five-year span, summited many of the world’s highest mountains, including Mount Kilimanjaro in 2010, Mont Blanc in 2011, Mount Vinson, Mount Elbrus and Mount Kosciuszko in 2012 and Mount Aconcagua in 2013.

What made Mt. Everest particularly special to Al Thani was the humanitarian aspect, because the expedition aimed to raise $1 million for Reach Out to Asia’s education projects in Nepal. Al Thani is a brand ambassador for ROTA.

“A lot of people depended on me. If I was going to quit, I was going to quit on the hundreds and thousand of kids who were going to benefit from this climb,” he said.

During the journey, Al Thani was part of a group called “Arabs with Altitude,” which included his friends Raed Zidan, who became the first Palestinian man to summit Everest; Masoud Mohammad; Raha Muharrak, the first Saudi Arabian woman and youngest Arab to summit Mt. Everest; and videographer Elia Saikaly.

‘Jail’ with a view

Despite the team’s solid preparation for the journey, Al-Thani recalls how hard the mental element of the challenge was.

“Being there for two months…it is like you are in a jail, except that it has a good view,” he said, smiling. “The mental aspect was very hard on us as a team. We miss our families. We miss our children. Our friends. You miss a good bed, you are sleeping on icy floors. You miss water. The water you get there, sometimes it has rocks and stuff and you drink it…”

As soon as Al Thani finished his journey, he bought a phone so that he “looks more civilized.”

“When I came back, I had no idea on what was happening in the world, my friends were talking about what happened in Arab Idol and what has been happening in Syria and I had no idea,” Al Thani said.

However, this temporary ignorance was soon swished away when he was finally reunited with his wife, two boys and baby girl, who was born while he was on his Everest voyage.

“I am very lucky to have a very supporting family that supports whatever I do…They would rather if I don’t climb because they are worried if I do dangerous stuff, however they support me in what I love doing, which is to climb mountains.”

Al Thani will be resuming his training soon to prepare for his next goal of scaling the seventh highest summit to Mount McKinley or Denali, which is the highest mountain peak in North America, with a summit elevation of (6,194 m) above sea level, by next May.

“The Arabs with Altitude,” journey to Mt. Everest will be aired sometime next month on Qatar TV.

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Credit: Photo by Vinod Pattazhi

PHOTOS: Arabs on Top of the World by Elias Saikaly/Qatar Television

Thirty-year-old Sheikh Mohammed Al Thani, who on Wednesday became the first Qatari ever to climb to the summit of Mount Everest, is now celebrating with his team.

The four-person group, dubbed Arabs with Altitude, has been trying to raise $1 million for ROTA’s educational projects in Nepal. Al Thani, who goes by Moe, is a brand ambassador for the charity. These photos were just posted to their Facebook page and sent to Doha News.

Joining Al Thani on the climb on Wednesday, Raed Zidan became the first Palestinian man to reach the top of the world’s tallest mountain.

Their fellow team member, 27-year-old Raha Moharrak, became the first Saudi Arabian woman to scale the peak three days ahead of them. 

Congrats all!

UPDATE: It looks like the group has a long way to go with its Nepal pledges. According to its fundraising website, less than $2,000 has been donated so far. To contribute to educational-focused projects in Nepal, click here.

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