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Egyptian mountaineer Samra starts historic attempt to reach North Pole

Samra is in Norway, hoping to ski to the northern most point on earth

Marina Barsoum , Tuesday 14 Apr 2015
Omar Samra
Mountaineer Omar Samra holding the Egyptian flag at the geographic South Pole, December 2014 (Photo: Omar Samra official Facebook page)
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After hugging the first South Pole camp sign in December 2014, adventurer Omar Samra is on his way to the North Pole, hoping to be the first Egyptian to make it all the way to the northernmost point on earth.

“It’s just one foot in front of the other,” tweeted Samra on Tuesday, adding #OmarGoesNorth, the hashtag he created for his new adventure.     

According to his Facebook page, he started his journey on 10 April, arriving in Norway’s capital Oslo.

Samra has become a household name in Egypt after becoming the first Egyptian to reach the top of Mount Everest in 2007.

During the first phase of the North Pole trip Samra will travel to Longyearbyen in Svalbard, Norway, then to an ice camp called Barneo, then to the 89th latitude degree.  

In the second phase, the famous Egyptian traveller will attempt to reach the North Pole by skiing north from the 89th degree.

Pre-adventure anxiety

Before travelling, Samra posted on his official Facebook about some of the dangers he will be facing during his trip. “I must admit I'm a little anxious,” said the explorer.  

One of his worries is the weather; temperatures average around -30 degrees Celsius, equivalent to -22 Fahrenheit. Comparing the weather to his experience when he was trekking to the South Pole last year, Samra said he believes that the humidity and wind speed in the Arctic make the cold much harder to take. He also explained that the low position of the sun in the sky means that even inside the tent, temperatures will be consistently low.

Samra is also worried about possible polar bear attacks. “The threat of attacks in the Arctic are very real,” he said, explaining that the attacks could take place during the night.

In addition, the adventurer is worried about crossing leads, places where the ice has melted, requiring either that the expeditioners don dry suits or ski around the leads, which may lose time.

Other hazards include the constantly shifting ice, difficult terrain, and the challenges of navigating close to the magnetic north pole.

“It started with a dream to climb Mount Everest that began in 1995 and potentially ends at the North Pole in April this year, just over 20 years later,” said Samra on Facebook.

Samra has already become the first Egyptian to complete the seven summits challenge.

*This story was updated by Ahram Online

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