Credit: Instagram @rahamoharrak

Raha Moharrak made history by becoming the youngest Arab and the first Saudi woman to climb Mount Everest at the age 25 on May 18, 2013.

She was born in Jeddah, and subsequently moved to the UAE where she graduated from the American University of Sharjah, majoring in Visual Communication. She is a Graphic Designer by profession, currently employed as an Art Director at Upndo. She is also an influencer, utilising her social media platforms to share her journey with her followers, with the intention of spreading a positive influence among young women and especially Saudi women. She aims to help them believe that they can achieve anything they want -regardless of their gender- and not to let society define how high they can reach.

Socially, women in the Middle East in some places are still expected to be married and ‘settled down’ by the age of 25, the same age that Moharrak was when she climbed Mount Kilimanjaro. And yet, that was not the case for the free-spirited Moharrak. She was born as an adventurous soul and with the curiosity to explore the world. And what better way to explore the world than by becoming a mountaineer?

It all started when she decided to join a friend in climbing Mount Kilimanjaro. Whilst that may have been the beginning of her journey, she did not stop there, and decided to further pursue a difficult challenge.

However, the road was not all smooth and steady for Moharrak, as her family was not entirely on board at the earliest stages of her pursuits. When her father was finding difficulty in accepting her chosen path, she decided to send him a letter explaining why she wanted to do it, believing that she shouldn’t choose between her family and the life she dreams of, eventually managing to convince them. Today, Moharrak’s family fully support her and respect her decision.

Apart from her family, Moharrak also faced criticism and scrutiny from society in general, who were against the idea of a woman travelling alone to climb mountains and live the adventure she dreamed of.

Raha Moharrak succeeded in climbing the highest mountains of each of the seven continents around the world: Mount Kilimanjaro, Africa; Mount Elbrus, Europe; Mount Vinson, Antarctica; Mount Aconcagua, South America; Mount Kosciuszko, Australia; Mount Denali, North America, but the highlight of her climbing journey was when she reached the top of Mount Everest, Asia; making her the first Saudi woman to do so.

Moharrak’s advice for young women who look up to her is to never fear failure and not to look at it as an ending but rather a beginning. In an interview with Harper’s Bazaar Arabia, she shared, “I’ve learned a lot over the years. First is that there’s no shame in failure. There’s no shame in failing. A lot of people don’t even start trying something new because they are too afraid to fail. And that’s where the problem is.”