TWO Iranians yesterday became the first Muslim women to conquer Mount Everest as the early season expedition took advantage of a rare weather window to reach the world’s highest summit. Farkhondeh Sadegh, 36, a graphic
designer, and Loleh Keshavarz, 26, a dentist, hoisted their country’s tricoloured flag on the summit together with six Iranian men at 10:45am local time yesterday. “It’s fantastic,” Mohammad Hajabolfath, the editor of Iran Mountain Zone, a website for climbers, told The Scotsman. “It is a very big thing for women in Iran. Because of weather conditions, most climbers here expected to hear the Iranian team would be returning unsuccessfully.” The 21-strong Iranian team, including seven women, arrived in Nepal in mid-March but their expedition, like many others on Everest, was hampered by treacherous weather.

The window of opportunity for a final push had become
ever narrower in recent days with the approach of the monsoon season. A huge avalanche earlier this month caused havoc for the team which had been forced lower down the mountain by snowstorms. “We opened the tent to see what had happened but a great deal of snow came into our tent,” a gloomy dispatch sent to recently said. “We are in base camp now and waiting
for good weather to climb,” the report ended. It is 30 years since Junko Tabai, a diminutive Japanese housewife who weighed just 7½ stone,became the first woman to scale Everest. (MORE)


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