The world’s tallest mountain is an environ as opposite from hot, arid Oman as imaginable. But Nadhirah is enlivened by the gnawing cold and high-consequence terrain of the Himalayas. In 2018, the Omani woman was on Nepal’s Ama Dablam, a 6,812-meter precipice with a reputation as a training ground for Everest hopefuls.
Whether training on choosy mountain trails, desert dunes, or on the paved roads of Muscat’s oven-like 33°C heat, Alharthy is bound by Islamic Sharia law to wear the hijab. Proponents maintain that the headpiece allows wearers to retain their modesty or celebrate their religious or cultural identity.
When Alharthy broke the news of her aspiration, some of her co-workers were skeptical, but most were encouraging. Full disclosure with her family, however, was more emotional; after training in secret for two entire years, Alharthy had to address the concern of her parents. But they’re unnerved by the danger of the ascent, not their daughter’s gender-defying pursuit.
ON HER HIJAB
“Growing up in a conservative environment made me want to break the mold and box Arab women are put into. After a difficult divorce and almost losing myself to the cultural pressures, I found strength amongst the world’s tallest peaks. It seems crazy to others who wear the Hijab like myself, but I learned to believe in my capabilities and I to show others that their dreams are possible too.”