In April 2018, a team of 11 women from both Europe and the Middle East will embark on an epic adventure to reach the North Pole in order highlight the impact of climate change while promoting unity and understanding between cultures.
The Women’s Euro-Arabian North Pole Expedition aims to raise awareness of climate change but also act as an inspiration to women around the globe, helping them to move beyond expectations and remove some of the barriers that exist between women from Western and Arabian cultures.
A diverse team
The expedition is being led by Felicity Aston MBE, a pioneer of polar exploration, who led the largest women’s expedition to ski to the South Pole and is also the first woman to ski solo across the Antarctic.
Accompanying her are a team from across Europe and the Middle East, whittled down from over 1000 applicants and made up of a mixture of backgrounds including teachers, scientists, journalists, mothers, wives, students, entrepreneurs, adventurers and financial officers.
Speaking about the expedition Felicity emphasised what the trip represents and its importance:
“The world is facing global problems, such as rapid environmental change, which ignore national borders and interests. We need to find solutions, and women have an important role to play in finding these solutions”
“My aim in creating this expedition is to address common preconceptions between women in Western and Arabic cultures and to provide some insight that could make a difference in the future.”
Meanwhile, team member Susan Gallon emphasised the positive impact she believed the expedition could have on children and how they see women in society:
“The most important part of sharing this experience, for me, is to make children more curious, to expand their horizons and to embed at an early age a vision of empowered, adventurous women
What will the journey involve?
The journey itself is already a gruelling 100km, and that’s before you factor in the harsh environmental conditions.
The team will be making the journey by skiing over a constantly shifting ice pack. This movement in the ice actually means they could have to travel further, especially if the ice they are on moves further away from their destination when they stop to camp or rest.
Coupled with thin ice, extreme temperatures reaching as low as -40°C and polar bears this isn’t a trip for the faint hearted.
The team will be pulling all of their equipment behind them on sledges, this includes tents, provisions in the form of Summit to Eat adventure food and other important supplies.
Travelling from Longyearbyen, Svalbard in Norway the team will then journey to Barneo, a floating base camp located on the Arctic ice. From here they will begin their journey, aiming to reach the North Pole within 10 days.
The team will also be undertaking a number of scientific experiments in conjunction with the University of Northampton and the University of Strasbourg, helping to answer questions and provide valuable data on the impact of environmental extremes on the human body that will actually be used to aid in human spaceflight and interstellar travel.
Planning and training for the expedition is already well under way with team completing a cultural expeditions to Oman and Iceland, experiencing different environments and ways of life with another training expedition planned for Svaldbard prior to the group embarking on their adventure.
To find out more about the expedition, track the team’s progress and help with fundraising visit the Women’s Euro-Arabian North Pole Expedition website.