Farouk Saad Hamad Al-Zuman, 30, has become the first Saudi to climb Mount Everest, the Arab News reported today.
The PR strategist and graduate of Oregon State University planted a Saudi flag on the summit of Mt. Everest, Nepal, yesterday at 12.30 pm Saudi time.
Three members of the 10-person expedition failed to reach the top, with one Japanese climber dying on the way. The death rate for Mt. Everest climbers is about one in 10.
“Al-Zuman made history and has now been fondly nicknamed the ‘Sir Edmund Hillary of Saudi Arabia,’” said his boss and sponsor, Sultan Al-Bazie, the CEO of Attariq Communications, as quoted in the Arab News.
Hamid Ansari, Nepal’s ambassador to Saudi Arabia, congratulated the climber. “I was happy to know that this young Saudi has reached the summit and unfurled the Saudi flag,” Ansari told the Arab News. “This climb was made in the wake of harsh climatic conditions and deadly blizzards. It is not an easy task,” he added.
Al-Zuman, a black belt in tae kwon do and professional swimmer, is an experienced mountain climber. Previously, he scaled Mt. Rainer in Washington State, Mt. Halealala in Hawaii, and Mt. Shasta in California.