One Jeddah-native is aiming to become the first Saudi Arabian woman to ski the last degree to the geographic North Pole. Mariam Hamidaddin is joining a team of four women from the region and seven from Europe on the 2018 Euro-Arabian North Pole Expedition. According to Saudi Gazette, these brave women will spend 10 days skiing over 100 kilometers in the shifting ice and treacherous snow till they reach their final destination, the North Pole.
“I applied for this expedition because it is a challenge and an opportunity. An adventure with a diverse group of women which is focused on community, personal growth and empowers people,” explained Hamidaddin.
According to the expedition’s official website, the international team members from across Europe and the Middle East are setting out on this adventure in order to “foster greater dialogue and understanding between women from Western and Arabian cultures. The expedition aims to inspire all women to reach beyond the expectation of others and fulfill their own life aspirations.”
When they are not skiing, team members will sleep in tents on the ice. To transport all they’ll need for their journey in the Artic, they’ll use sledges to haul supplies. As well as the perils of temperatures that fall as low as -40 degrees Celsius, other hazards the women 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.
At the start of their expedition, the team will head to the remote Arctic Archipelago of Svalbard. From there, they will fly to the floating ice station known as Barneo, where they will then begin their ski journey across the Arctic ice to the North Pole. Preparations for the expedition have been ongoing for nearly two years including training expeditions in Iceland and Oman.
The women will also be conducting two important science experiments during the expedition and will be sharing their experiences live from the icy location 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.