Hero's welcome for Everest conquerors

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Heros welcome for Everest conquerors
Shaikh Nahyan bin Zayed Al Nahyan welcomes the Armed Forces Everest Expedition team upon arrival at Al Bateen Executive Airport in Abu Dhabi on Thursday.

Abu Dhabi - The group of 13 finally got to meet their friends and family and share their stories.

By Silvia Radan

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Published: Fri 27 May 2016, 9:49 PM

From 8,848 metres altitude to sea level, the UAE Army mountaineers' expedition to the Everest is finally complete. All 13 Emirati soldiers won their battle with the world's highest peak and arrived home on Thursday evening to a ceremonial welcome.
UAE Army officials and personnel, school children, families and the UAE Army musical band lined up along the red carpet laid at the Al Bateen Airport in Abu Dhabi to welcome the team with flowers, songs and some very happy smiles.
The jet, sent specially to Nepal to bring home the mountaineers, landed at 5.20pm. With the official ceremony over, the group of 13 finally got to meet their friends and family and share their stories.
"It was very hard! Everything was a challenge, but for my country I would do it all over again," said Ghanem Saeed, one of the climbers.
It all started 59 days ago, when the group of 13, with the support of three professional trainers and two doctors arrived at Katmandu Airport in Nepal.
"For the first five days we were stuck in Katmandu because of bad weather. Then, on the sixth day, the weather cleared and we began our trek to the base camp. On May 12 we began our climb of Everest," said Mohammed Al Naqbi, one of the team members.
"It was a very hard, but very good experience, especially since we come from a hot, desert country. Everything up there was a challenge - the weather, the food, getting acclimatised."
"Usually, climbers begin using the oxygen masks at 7,000 metres altitude. We put them on at 7100 metres, to get more benefit from acclimatisation," he explained.
Food and water also proved a challenge, leaving some men sick, particularly since they had to get used to new routines and environment.
"The last leg was the hardest. In 48 hours we only slept for about six hours. To reach the final peak, we began climbing at 10pm and reached the top of the world, the 8,848 metres peak at 3pm the next day," said Al Naqbi.
His fellow climber, Mohammed Al Dhoori, added the expedition may have lasted just two months, but the training for it took five years.
"The temperatures reached minus 40 degrees and we were climbing carrying 20 to 30 kilograms rucksacks. It wasn't easy," he said.
"Some of the guys, myself included, got frostbites, but we had no serious medical issues. My biggest fear was that I might run out of oxygen. It didn't happen, but at that altitude and in that cold, your mind can play tricks on you," said Al Dhoori.
The team was able to keep in touch with their families while up on the mountain, but there is nothing like home sweet home, and they all look forward to some quality time with the dear ones.

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