WATCH: QL Now - Qatar’s Asma Al Thani is set to ski to the North Pole
Qatari adventurer Asma Al Thani will join three other women from the Middle East, and seven from Europe, in a bid to ski over 100km in treacherous conditions to reach the North Pole.
Through the Euro-Arabian North Pole Expedition 2018, the adventurers will be hoping to spend 10 days on the shifting ice of the Arctic Ocean to reach the top of the world.
Asma, 29, is a graduate of Virginia Commonwealth University and the Director of Marketing & Communications with the Qatar Olympic Committee.
Asma was among the first group of Qatari women to climb Mount Kilimanjaro in October 2014 in a charitable endeavor to raise QR2m funds for Gaza.
“I am hoping to showcase the diversity of different countries in the world and also try to bring them together. Through this expedition, I hope to convince the future generations to realise their dreams,” she said.
If successful, many of the women will be the first person from their country to ski the last degree to the Geographic North Pole. The expedition aims to foster greater dialogue and understanding between women from Western and Arabian cultures.
“We want to send a strong and positive message about gender equality and the need for greater cultural understanding,” said British expedition leader Felicity Aston MBE.
“The world is facing global problems — such as climate change — that can only be tackled with global solutions. That requires everyone talking to each other more.”
In 2012, Aston had become 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.
The Euro-Arabian team will sleep in tents on the ice when they are not skiing, and will haul in sledges everything they need to survive in the Arctic.
As well as the perils of temperatures as low as -40C, other hazards the team will face include movements of the pack ice that may split apart to reveal open water or push together to form walls of ice that have to be crossed. There is also the threat of polar bears.
This week, the team will head to the remote Arctic archipelago of Svalbard from where they will fly to the floating ice station known as ‘Barneo.’
They will start their ski journey across the Arctic ice to the North Pole from the station. Preparations for the expedition have been ongoing for nearly two years including training expeditions in Iceland and Oman.
The team will conduct two important science experiments during the expedition and will be sharing their experiences live from the ice with schools and via social media. Updates will be posted on www.euroarabianexpedition.com.
The expedition is sponsored by cybersecurity firm Kaspersky Lab, as well as Engie, Poseidon Expeditions, OmanTel and I Feel Slovenia.