Emirati Mariam Al Hammadi raises UAE flag in the Himalayas

The first Emirati and first Arab Mariam Al Hammadi has accomplished her recent quest in scaling the highest mountain in the Himalayas.

Speaking to Emirates 24|7, Mariam said, “I always wanted to come to the Himalayas and experience the culture and their sustainable ways of living.”

The student from Madinat Zayed and Ruwais Higher Colleges of Technology, was one of the many participants of the Global Himalayan Expedition 2014.

Mariam spent two and half weeks trekking up “the mountain peaks of the Himalayas (Kong Sky PIL), at a height of 5000 meters and is considered the highest rise half the size of Mount Everest. Walking for 4 days in the middle of the mountains and off-roading down to one of the villages in the Himalayas.”

That isolated village in the highly-peaked district of Ladakh, never had electricity before.

But thanks to the expedition’s efforts, a newly mounted self-reliant power system will benefit the villagers tremendously including access to clean energy, reliable communication and education.

Mariam, is known for challenging herself and adventures push her out of her comfort zone.

That included many activities in the recent mission such as biking and rafting for a distance of 30 kilometers each.

A grueling task, therefore mental and physical preparation is key.

“Before going into any adventure I put a goal in my mind so that gives me the motivation to complete the journey,” explained Mariam.

“I walked for 3 hours 3 days a week and riding a bike for 2 hours 2 days a week “

The adventurer said she’s careful not to overpack.

 “I sit here thinking about the weight in my luggage and how it will affect my speed and movements,” explained Mariam.

She added,”Things that are taken with me are specific items such as clothes that will help me with the heating, camera, climbing sticks and a sleeping bag.”

With all the preparations and equipment in hand, there have been circumstances where the Emirati faced some difficulties.

As Ladakh is situated at a very high altitude, Mariam had to be given oxygen twice. However, she was still motivated to continue.

“I thought about pulling back, but some team members helped and encouraged me to complete the journey, I was the youngest girl in the group, and then I thought about many things, my lovely country and my family and all the people who are following me, how they would react with disappointment because of their expectations, and how several did not complete their journey.”

More than 4000 fans follow her on Instagram (@meme_al7hammadi) , as she updates her account and tries to respond to comments while trying to focus on her final year at her university.

This is not her first adventure though -  Earlier this year she had visited one of the harshest places on earth – Antarctica – as part of an expedition with Robert Swan, OBE, legendary explorer and the first person to walk to the North and South poles.

So what's next on the agenda for the UAE adventurer?

“God willing, I'm thinking about going to Africa to climb the highest peak which is Kilimanjaro. I find that 2 adventures in 1 year is sufficient.”