Palestinian woman is first Arab woman to climb Europe’s highest peak

Palestinian climber Suzanne Al-Houby, during the climb of Mount Elbrus. (WAFA)

DUBAI, August 7, 2005, (WAFA) Well-known Palestinian female mountain climber, Suzanne Al-Houby, who is originally from Yaffa was the first Arab woman to climb Mt. Elbrus (5642m.), the highest point of Europe in August 1, 2005. Al-Houby was also the first Palestinian woman to climb Kilimanjaro, the highest peak in Africa, in 2002, Mont Blanc in France in 2004, and reach Everest Base Camp in Nepal in 2003.

She told WAFA that she climbs to demonstrate to the world that the Palestinian people love life and reject bloodshed.

“When I climb, I send a message to the world that we the Palestinians have the will to live in peace, we look for a beautiful life, and we reject killing and destruction,” she told WAFA.

Al-Houby encourages Arab women to get involved in such sports, as it proves that through patience you can succeed.

Mt. Elbrus is the highest point of Europe. The Caucasus Main Range is considered to be a border between Europe to the North and Asia to the South in most (but not all) guidebooks and encyclopedias.

Al-Houby said on Sunday that she plans to arrange a charity program for Palestinian children in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. She told WAFA in a phone call that she is preparing to climb the Atlas Mountains in Spring to benefit Palestinian children.

The final ascent

The two main Mount Elbrus summits are about 11 km (6.8 miles) to the North of the Main Range, inside European territory.

“It was a little bit after midnight on August 1st, windy and cold, I put on my five layers and started my final summit push. I was only looking at my feet and my ice axe with my head torch for hours, occasionally, I would look at the stars filling up the sky above,” she said, expressing her feelings during the climb of Elbrus.

“Below on my right was the most beautiful crescent moon. Soon, the sun was rising and Val, my Russian guide, gave me a five minute break. The air was getting thinner, half of the oxygen at sea level. My steps were getting slower but more determined,” she added.

Al-Houby, the director of “Dubai Bone & Joint Center, LLC” in Dubai, concluded by expressing hope for the end of the Israeli occupation of the Occupied Territories in order to give the Palestinian people the opportunity to live in peace and stability.

Suzanne Al-Houby at the peak of Mount Elbrus, 5,642 metres (18, 510 feet or 3.5 miles) above sea level. (WAFA)

EI edited this piece for clarity.