A team of women from the UAE Armed Forces have returned home after climbing to the Mount Everest base camp in the Khumbu Valley – a whopping 5,364 metres above sea level.

The 12, all-woman team, which included nine military climbers, two trainers and a doctor, were welcomed back after their gruelling expedition at Abu Dhabi International Airport by a host of senior military officers. They are now, no doubt, looking forward to some well deserved R&R.

UAE women everest

The courageous team huddling together proudly in front of the UAE flag.

The all-woman, Emirati team were part of one of the many ambitious programmes supported by President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai; Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum and Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces.

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Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak, Chairwoman of the General Women’s Union, GWU, Supreme Chairwoman of the Family Development Foundation, and President of the Supreme Council for Motherhood and Childhood, also supported the climbers as part of her commitment to empowering women in the region.

UAE women everest

At 5,364 metres above sea level, the altitude would’ve had a significant effect on the team of 12. At around 5,000 metres, the air contains around 50 per cent less oxygen than at sea level, and without serious acclimatisation can cause some real problems. As a result, respiratory rate increases as the altitude increases in order to get more oxygen into the body. Heart rate goes up with the increased respiratory rate, and your body sweats almost twice as much as it would down on the ground – making dehydration a problem too. Headaches are common and so is nausea, vomiting, tiredness coupled with insomnia and loss of appetite. Sounds fun, right? Now picture all this while trying to climb a mountain. In the freezing cold.

UAE women everest

The female climbers received a warm welcome

Meanwhile, back at Everest is a 16-strong male UAE Armed Forces team, currently at base camp undergoing intensive training for their attempt to summit mount Everest at 8,848 metres.

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After a nine-day trek from the village of Lokla to Everest base camp, stopping off in various villages along the way to help them acclimatise, the group have set up camp in the Khumbu valley at 5,364 metres and will stay there for several weeks in preparation for the following climb.

Dr Hashel Obaid Al Tunaiji, team member and the accompanying doctor said that all team members are in good health and have gradually adapted to the high altitudes and the decreasing levels of oxygen.

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The next stage for the group on their way to the summit is to cross the Khumbu Icefall.

Which is you can see, is no easy task, in this video:

The Khumbu Icefall from ePals on Vimeo.

Images: WAM