Dubai: Four women adventurers from Middle East and seven from Europe have achieved a feat of immense physical and mental endurance by reaching the North Pole, seven days after they launched their expedition.
Seeking to foster greater dialogue and understanding between women from Arabian and Western and culture, the 11 predominantly novice female adventurers had to brave particularly gruelling hours, extreme temperatures, shifting pack ice, blistering winds, and the ever-present threat of polar bears as they successfully completed the demanding cross-country ski from 1° North to the pole.
The Arab contigent included trekkers from Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Qatar.
Led by veteran polar explorer, Felicity Aston, MBE, the Women’s Euro Arabian expedition with only two experienced polar explorers among them was welcomed upon arrival at the North Pole by Eugene Kaspersky, the founder and CEO of cybersecurity company Kaspersky Lab.
“I could not miss the opportunity to personally congratulate these brave women at the end of their journey. Things did not go smoothly for them. They faced severe temperatures, strong winds and drifting ice, but still finished their expedition against all odds. Some members of the team were literally the first women from their respective countries to ever set foot on the Arctic ice cap,” said Kaspersky, a keen adventurer and long-time supporter of women’s polar expeditions.
Aston who had previously twice led polar expeditions said it was one of the more challenging trips she has embarked upon.
“The team endured extreme cold, the possibility of polar bears, open leads of water, thin ice, and being forced to live in very close quarters in small tents,” she said. “On some days, they had to navigate vast fields of ice rubble, forcing them to make tough and demoralising choices, like heading in the opposite direction for extended periods to find another way around.”
To their credit, the women adventurers overcame all the challenges with a great sense of humour, spirit of adventure and by holding on tightly to their reasons for making the trip.
The seven-day polar adventure was launched by Aston with the aim to boost mutual understanding between women from Western and Arabian cultures.
She hoped that their extraordinary efforts would inspire all women, regardless of their backgrounds, to reach beyond the expectation of others and fulfil their own life ambitions.
“The team are so delighted to have had the opportunity to ski to the top of the world together, sending out a positive and powerful message of collaboration, teamwork and perseverance against the odds,” Aston said.