Just eight days after starting out on their expedition to reach the North Pole, the mainly novice team of female explorers, including Sheikha Asma Al-Thani from Qatar, has arrived on top at the world.
The 11-member Euro-Arabian Polar Expedition, also including Anisa al Raissi (Oman), Lamees Nijem (Kuwait) and Mariam Hamidaddin (Saudi Arabia), reached the North Pole after travelling over 80km on the moving pack ice of the Arctic Ocean.
They faced freezing temperatures, open patches of water in the sea ice, as well as the constant threat of polar bears during their adventure which started on April 15 when the team departed the remote Arctic archipelago of Svalbard.
From there they flew to the floating ice station known as ‘Barneo’ and started their ski journey across the Arctic pack ice. Preparations for the expedition have been ongoing for nearly two years including training expeditions in Iceland and Oman.
Led by Felicity Aston MBE, the Euro-Arabian team had an experienced polar guide. In 2012 Aston became the first person in the world to ski across Antarctica alone and without the aid of kites, machines or dogs – a journey of 1,744km that took her 59 days to complete.
She commented at the North Pole: “The team have endured the extreme environment and restricted living spaces with great humour and tremendous sense of adventure. They have held on tightly to their reasons for making this trip and each team member has been critical to the success of the expedition.
“We want to send a strong and positive message about gender equality and the need for greater cultural understanding when tackling large problems.”
After a particularly gruelling last leg of the trip, the team arrived at the North Pole in good spirits.
They were met there by their sponsor Eugene Kaspersky who flew out by helicopter to meet and celebrate with them at the top of the world. They were also reunited at the Pole with Saudi Arabian teammate, Mariam, who had left the team on day two as a precaution after suffering from what were described as minor injuries.
The team participated in two important science experiments during the expedition looking at the effect of the extreme environment on their bodies and on their minds.
The expedition is sponsored by cybersecurity firm Kaspersky Lab, as well as Engie, Poseidon Expeditions, OmanTel and I Feel Slovenia
(Cover Photo : Instagram / @atalthani)
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