Abu Dhabi: After becoming the youngest Arab to trek across the North Pole in May of this year, Abdullah Al Ahbabi, 26, is aiming to repeat that feat, only this time he plans on doing it on the South Pole.
Al Ahbabi starts his journey on December 15 when he flies off to Chile, from there he will get on a chartered flight along with nine other team members to Antarctica on December 18. The team will then begin their 11-day trek from December 20.
“I’ve been preparing for this since May, I’ve done a lot of physical training as well as training at Ski Dubai to get my body prepared for this adventure,” Al Ahbabi said.
“Even though I have trekked across the North Pole, being at the South Pole is going to be much different — this time the weather is going to be even colder. At the North Pole it was minus 40 degrees Celsius whereas at the South Pole the temperature will be minus 50 degrees Celsius. I’m also going to be skiing at an altitude of 11,000 feet instead of being at sea level like last time,” he added, explaining the new challenges he is set to face.
“I will have to ensure I don’t get frostbite and that I am well covered up and protected. Also being at a higher elevation is going to make it more challenging on my stamina and breathing,” he said.
And if that wasn’t hard enough, Al Ahbabi will have to trek for 130 kilometres in those conditions while pulling his own equipment weighing 45 kilos.
“This will be unassisted, which means I have to pull all of my equipment by sled weighing 45 kilos as I am trekking for 10 to 12 hours a day,” he said.
“The routine will be 90 minute pushes with 10 minute breaks throughout the day, afterwards we will camp from 9pm to 6am, that’s the time frame we have but it varies depending on the conditions and the distance we have to cover,” he added.
Al Ahbabi said he is highly motivated for the journey and hopes his adventure can send a positive message to other youth in the Arab world.
“I’m very excited for this journey and my goal is to show the young people in our region that we can do anything if we put our minds to it. Achievements are not only reserved for those with experience, I want to prove that even young people can make records.
“It was such a personal inspiration for me as well to have met His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, after I returned from the North Pole. He gave me words of encouragement and told me to keep challenging myself, and that’s what I plan on doing with this new adventure,” he added.
Al Ahbabi said that he will plant both the UAE flag and the Year of Zayed flag on the South Pole once he completes his journey.
Located on Antarctica, the South Pole is the earth’s most southernmost point. The area receives only one sunrise, in September, and one sunset, in March, in a year because of its location. With an altitude reaching as high as 11,000 feet, its yearly average temperature is minus 50 degrees Celsius, making the South Pole colder than the North Pole.