A cause worth climbing Pakistani mountains
Climber to bring Pakistani peaks on global community's wish-list
As far as 'big' challenges go, Suzanne Al Houby has conquered it all. She holds the distinction of being the first Arab woman to climb the Mount Everest, Kilimanjaro, Mont Blanc, Elbrus, Toubkal, Aconcagua and Vinson. She is now eyeing the mountains of Pakistan.
"I still haven't worked out the logistics for the climb in Pakistan but it will take place next year during the summer season. When I end up climbing the mountains in Pakistan, I am going to do it for a cause. I want to raise funds for some causes which will help the people there," she says. Al Houby returned from her second visit to Pakistan this week and she is hoping to get up, close and personal with the peaks during her next trip.
"When I went there the first time, we couldn't go close enough to the mountains. There are many viewpoints and several peaks which offer beautiful views of the Himalayas. The view looks like heaven on earth. From all my travels, it is the most scenic view I have ever seen," Al Houby says.
Her latest climbing mission hopes to bring the peaks of Pakistan in sight of the international climbing community.
"What the media is saying is not what I saw there. People are welcoming and kind in Pakistan. They go out of their way to make you feel safe and secure. Everywhere I went, people were kind and supportive."
When she isn't climbing mountains, Al Houby manages a day job as the CEO of Rahhalah Explorers, an adventure tourism outfitter. An avid nature-lover, Al Houby has a long list of accomplishments with many "first summits" to her name.
"I am not driven by the heights of summits - it is the climb and journey which makes the experience worth it. Pakistan has the highest concentration of mountains and it has taken a hit because of the political unrest.
"The international climbing community also shies away from coming here for expeditions. I want to bring back the climbers and trekkers to a country where the peaks still remain unexplored," she says.
Originally from Jaffa, Palestine, Al Houby travelled to the US for her higher education before returning to live in the UAE.
Having travelled to more than 100 destinations, Suzanne still plans to keep travelling.
"I want to visit the north of the Arctic Circle and Scandinavian countries. One of my dreams is to chase the northern lights."
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