She's done it. Ehlam Al Qasimi has become the first Arab woman and UAE national to ski to the North Pole.
According to UAE's The National daily, Elham al Qasimi arrived at 90 degrees North at about 4pm UAE time, four days ahead of her schedule.
"A helicopter then took her to Longyearbyen in Norway where she was met by her father. After she recuperates, she will return to her home in Dubai and share her story," the daily reported.
The Emirati had embarked on a skiing expedition to the North Pole "unsupported and unassisted" (two terms used in polar expeditions, denoting use of natural means and without any kind of assistance). The voyage was scheduled to take around three weeks.
Departing from the Russian ice station Borneo at 89ºN, Elham's trek saw her cross the final degree of latitude by cross-country ski - currently the preferred method of unsupported travel across the Arctic Ocean.
Al Qasimi used natural human means of propulsion, i.e. legs and arms, as apposed to expeditions that use non-human means such as motorised equipment.
"Elham's mission will be ski-assisted. In polar exploration, ski-assisted usually means embarking on an expedition without any re-supplies or other assistance once on the ice. Therefore all supplies to last the hundred or so nautical miles that she will ski to reach the North Pole will be carried on a sled pulled by herself," according to the www.elhamalqasimi.com website.
Elham was born in July 1982 in Dubai, UAE. She earned a degree in Business and Marketing at the American University in Dubai in 2004, and then moved to London to study at the London School of Economics for an MSc in Management of NGOs. On graduating with a Distinction for her thesis, Elham took an internship at the Overseas Development Institute, a leading think tank for international development.
Until she resigned to focus completely on her North Pole expedition, Elham Al-Qasimi was an investment manager at the Impetus Trust, according to her website.
Al Qasimi has recorded her experiences in the form of a journal on her website.