London, April 16, 2018 - An all-female EuroArabian Polar expedition comprising women from Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Oman, Kuwait, Slovenia, Sweden, France, Cyprus, Russia and the UK has set out for the North Pole.
The team will spend 10 days on the shifting pack ice of the Arctic Ocean attempting to ski roughly 100km over the treacherous terrain to reach the Geographic North Pole, the top of the world. If successful many of the women will be the first person from their country to ski the last degree to the Geographic North Pole.
‘We want to send a strong and positive message about gender equality during and the need for greater cultural understanding,’ says 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 became the first person in the world to ski across Antarctica alone and without the aid of kites, machines or dogs – a journey of 1744km that took her 59 days to complete.
The Euro-Arabian team will be sleeping 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 minus 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 predatory polar bears.
The team departed the remote Arctic archipelago of Svalbard in the early hours of 15th April. From where they flew to the floating ice station known as ‘Barneo’ and started their ski journey across the Arctic pack ice to the North Pole. Preparations for the expedition have been ongoing for nearly two years including training expeditions in Iceland and Oman.
The team will be conducting two important science experiments during the expedition and will be sharing their experiences live from the ice with schools and via social media. For updates please see the expedition website www.euroarabianexpedition.com The expedition is sponsored by cybersecurity firm Kaspersky Lab, as well as Engie, Poseidon Expeditions, OmanTel and I Feel Slovenia.