As the mountaineering season has begun, most of the mountaineers have already departed for their expedition.

Amid this, Qatari woman Sheikha Asma Al Thani landed here today with an aim of becoming the first Qatari woman to reach atop Mount Everest, the highest point on Earth.

Wanting to inspire women and young people in the region to challenge stereotypes and fulfil their dreams, 31-year Thani has taken up mountaineering.

She further has an aim to complete the Explorers Grand Slam, which involves climbing all of the seven summits (Everest, Aconcagua, Denali, Kilimanjaro, Vinson, Puncak Jaya, Mount Elbrus) and reaching the North Pole and South Pole. She is only the third Qatari to ever attempt to climb Mt Everest and, if successful, will become the first Qatari woman in history to stand 8,849 metres above the sea level.

"I have dreamt of climbing mountains ever since I was young. I climb mountains because it challenges my limits.

And it is my hope that by taking on the world's highest mountains, I can challenge the stereotypical image of the traditional explorer and empower women in the region to challenge themselves," she said.

Thani has already completed three of the nine Explorers Grand Slam challenges. In 2018, she became the first Qatari to ski the last degree to the North Pole as part of an international team of women from across Europe and the Middle East. In 2019, she became the first Qatari woman to summit Aconcagua. Prior to this, in 2014, she was among the first group of Qatari women to summit Mt Kilimanjaro.

Thani is also an advocate of female empowerment in the Middle East and has significant influence within the Qatari, regional and international sports world. As a senior female official in the Qatar Olympics Committee, she is involved in, and a key driving force behind, Major Qatari sports projects.

A version of this article appears in the print on April 2, 2021, of The Himalayan Times.