Few people are lucky enough to set off on the kind of adventure that Elham Qasimi did. Spirited, energetic and always working against the odds, Elham undertook a journey to the North Pole, the first Arab woman and the first UAE national to do so, ski-assisted and unsupported by re-supplies.
Qasimi, who has a degree in business and marketing from the American University in Dubai, a Masters from the London School of Economics, and JP Morgan and the venture philanthropy fund Impetus Trust on her already impressive CV, took off on the three-week expedition from Borneo, an ice station that floats between 88 and 89 degrees latitude in 2010.
Elham and her guide headed out with un-motorised toboggans, carrying 40kg of equipment in -30 degree celsius temperatures; they were not to stop en route to re-supply, nor were they assisted by drop-offs as they skied eight hours per day till they reached their goal. What drove investment banker Qasimi, who trained for six months with four experts – an experienced tri-athlete, a mountaineer, a strength coach and a top 10 European extreme skier – to undertake such a mission? The chance to see a place that very few people would ever experience and the opportunity to push herself, physically and mentally, to the limit.
Her most precious possession is one supremely well-earned, “A thermos of melted ice from the North Pole.” And what will 2012 bring for this unstoppable adventurer who just got engaged? “An expedition, a wedding and lots of fun in between.”