November/December 2010

South Pole, Antarctica

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As they prepare for their expedition to the South Pole, Waleed and Mohamed have spent the last six months sifting between the parcels of clothing that arrived daily by Aramex; trying on beanie after beanie, parka after parka, boot after boot, sleeping bag after sleeping bag looking for the warmest and most comfortable freeze proof clothing and bedding. Periodically, Haytham would float in and out, to try on a boot or two, but generally leaving all this hard and tedious work to his father and brother.

Joking aside, I would be remiss if I did not write about the real hard work that took place in preparation for this trip. The daily rigorous marathon workouts these three undertook to be physically ready for the hardships they will surely face in Antarctica. Grueling hours on treadmills carrying backpacks filled with weights to simulate those they will have to carry daily as they ski across the Last Degree. Some days it was running indoors for hours, other days they ran outside at the crack of dawn or after work in temperatures of 40 degrees Celsius. In addition to the daily runs, there were days of tough circuit training in the gym. They worked on their core for stability, as they will be required to ski whilst carrying heavy backpacks, there were a zillion variations of lunges to strengthen their legs and glutes, and of course a myriad of upper body exercises to round off their workouts and their fitness. All in all, the three of them are now, Mashallah, in superb physical condition and as ready as they will ever be.

At opposite ends of this planet, there are another two no less important members of this expedition also busy training and gearing up and getting ready, Duncan Paul in South Africa and Dr. Jeff Lunt in England. Duncan and Jeff are die-hard adventurers that have for many years partnered with Waleed and the boys on many different expeditions.

Excitement and anticipation are in the air, the bags are being packed, the home remedies for the common ails have been lovingly prepared, and now it is only a matter of waiting for the big departure date.

We wish the group God speed, may He look over them and keep them safe away from frostbite, cracks in the ice, and the infamous blisters.

Stay tuned on this website for regular dispatches, technology allowing, of their news as they make their way down to the South Pole.


P.S Please keep us wives and mothers in your prayers!
  November 11, 2010

80.0000S,80.0000W - The Zahid South Pole Expedition will ski The Last Degree from 89 South to the South Pole in Antarctica from 25 November to 11 December 2010. The Last Degree is effectively the process of making the journey over the last latitude of distance to the South Pole from 89 South. The actual distance is 60 nautical miles being 111km or 69 miles. We fly to the start point to begin the trek then fly home again from the South Pole itself. The trip initiates in Chile and involves a flight by jet into Antarctica's interior followed by a fixed wing (Bazler or Twin Otter) flight to the start point of the trek. The South Pole itself is at an elevation of 2835m/9,301' above sea level but due to the very cold air mass has an effective air pressure elevation much higher than this. Dispatches from the team will be sent to this page regularly throughout the expedition.
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