A high-profile royal family member from the United Arab Emirates was one among nearly 400 climbers who successfully summitted the world’s highest peak this season, it has been revealed.
Citing security concerns, the visit of the Abu Dhabi Prince Sheikh Theyab Bin Khalifa Bin Hamdan to the roof of the world has not been brought into public notice by all concerned agencies and authorities including the expedition team or its members, expedition organisers, Nepali liaison officers and even by the UAE Army or the government.
Among eight members of the UAE army team who celebrated the 40th anniversary of the unification of their services, by hoisting their flag on the Mt Everest, one of the members of the Armed Force Everest Expedition-2016 was Sheikh Theyab from the oil-rich country.
“Sheikh Theyab (27) is the member of Abu Dhabi royal family and also in line to be the next commander of the armed forces,” a source said, adding that his visit was not disclosed to the public for security reasons.
As the army team led by British national John Doyle left for Abu Dhabi on Thursday afternoon, the prince was spotted in a very private function organised to handover summit certificates to the members of the expedition on Wednesday night.
Director General at the Department of Tourism Sudarshan Prasad Dhakal had handed over certificates to the climbers including Thayeb.
After being the first UAE team on the Mt Everest, along with Seikh Thayeb, other members including Tariq Ahmed Ali Ahmed Alzarooni, Nasser Hussain Ahmed Ahmadyan Alblosshi, Ghanim Saeed Mubarak Aldurs, Moaath Ali Ahmed Barhir Alnabi, Mohamed Sulaiman Aldhuhoori and Ahmed Ali Saif Al Yateem Al Mazrouei also scaled the peak on May 19.
David Mark Rasmussen-led ‘Desert Troop: Operation Everest’ filming group was also there on the mountain to shoot activities of the climbing team, sources said, adding that the team would work with National Geographic Abu Dhabi TV on the production of a documentary about the team’s successful climb.
“Five years of training together as a team has paid off. We have set up our own camps, carrying heavy loads to drop off at the high camps and came back down for more loads to carry,” Seikh Thayeb posted on social media.
“I have so much respect for every individual in the team… It has been 76 days on the mountain now! Time to go back home!”
According to climbers, Paul Alexander Stewart worked as the logistic manager while John Arthur Gerald Oxley handled the administrative part for their expedition
Bibhu Chand Thakur, Managing Director at Himalaya Holidays, however, said that his company only handled the Armed Force Everest Expedition from UAE, but was not aware about the details of the climbers.
“Eight climbers along with nine support staff summitted the Mt Everest,” he added. The army team was the first team from the UAE to reach to the summit on Mt Everest after Saeed Al Memari became the first Emirati to successfully summit Mt Everest in 2011.