The journey concludes

Union Glacier, Dec 12th 2010.

It has been 3 days since our safe return from the South Pole, waiting for good weather in Union Glacier to allow the Ilyushin to pick us up for the return flight back to Punta Arenas and the longed for journey home.

Now in retrospect sitting in the relative comfort of ALE’s UG camp, the past two weeks seem like a dream but the reality of the experience is far from that and is one that will be embedded in my memory for a long time to come.

When Mohamed and Haytham first suggested we undertake this expedition I was thrilled at the prospect of sharing in such an adventure with them, and whilst I expected it to be hard, I had no idea how hard it would actually turn out to be – physically, psychologically, emotionally and hygienically. This was by far the most demanding and challenging two weeks of my past 60 years.

Two weeks that would normally flash by unnoticed in our everyday life, crawled excruciatingly slowly here on the ice. Every kilometer gained and every hour clocked felt like a lifetime. But in all those kilometers and hours, it was the last two, when the pole was so close that it seemed so unattainably far.

But alhamdulillah we made it, by Allah’s grace and mercy, all in one piece and none worse for wear other than the brutally blistered feet and marginally frost bitten noses and hands.

Of all the memories that I will have of this trip, the one that I will never forget is the incident that took place around kilometer 54, the last 6 kilometers of our first 20 kilometer days. I was spent, totally drained didn’t have enough energy to take another step, but knew that we had a good 2 hours of hard going to go, all of a sudden, noticing my desperation, Haytham and Mohamed materialized on either side of me, no words were exchanged, but they knew that I knew why they were there, and their sheer proximity, energy and determination gave me the heart to find a reserve that was not there and kept me going for those two more hours.

Any such endeavor is team dependent, and what a team it was. Duncan and Jeff, Guy and Sean, Rob, Ronny and Tim a bunch of truly great guys with whom we had the pleasure of sharing a unique experience.

An amazing trip under any and every circumstance, one that I will never attempt again, but one that I am truly blessed and privileged not to have missed!

Waleed.

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9 Responses to The journey concludes

  1. tina harvey linnane says:

    hello i am tina daughter of ann harvey who used work in watergardens & chainny walk , its such a fantastic achivement well done to you & ure sons my mum was so so happy that i had found one of the family & news of your venture, again a very well done to you all, kind regards tina( harvey)linnane .

  2. Moosa KOYA says:

    Congratulations Gentlemen. You have made proud not only to the nation, but to expats like us who live and work in Saudi Arabia. It is truly an inspiring journey, narrated well. Alf Mabrook.

  3. T. EL Khoury says:

    Waw, amazing and congratulations! Is there a way to contact you guys and have you on a TV show? for more info, please contact me at telkhoury@france24.com.
    Best regards,
    T. El Khoury

  4. Hisham Noor says:

    wow, this is super exciting stuff.
    i only got to know about this expedition last week, you guys are great! that musta been such an adventure, very proud.
    welcome back boys…….. time to wakeboard now πŸ™‚

  5. Kamal Nooraldin abdulgufour says:

    Dear Sheikh Waleed, Haytham, and Mohammed
    Reaching the North Pole is a fantastic achievement, where you can’t take a break for more than five minutes in impossible, and even with a four- minute break, Congratulations to you and to your team for making it. We must thank Allah for giving you all the strengths to perform your feats and achieve your goals!
    Sheikh Waleed, keep up your good spirit, May Allah give more strengths to perform more feats!!! Happy Birthday
    I wish all the best and save to trip home.

    Kamal Nooraldin abdulgufour

  6. Bill Chasteen says:

    Dear Sh Waleed, Mohamed, and Haytham:

    I have followed your adventure almost daily on your excellent website. What a fantastic achievement it is for you to have completed this challenging expedition. Your dispatches from the trip made fascinating reading, and Haytham, your perceptions and writing talent were really wonderful. A belated Happy Birthday to Sh Waleed and congratulations to all for successfully reaching your goal.

    Best regards,
    Bill Chasteen

  7. nooraldin abdulgafor says:

    Dear, Sheikh, Waleed, Mohammed and Haytham

    You All Must Know That We Love You OK
    .
    Dear, Waleed
    Going to coldest place in the earth in 60th birthday it is not from the wisdom. Now you will do every thanks in your thought .Allah bless you.

    Dear. Mohammed
    I always know you like the adventurer but this time you challenged your self to the End. Allah bless you

    Dear. Hatham
    .
    What you done is amazing in your age

    Allamdlillah and you have blessed by Allah to do what you done.

    Allah sobhnow bring you and all the team back home safe

    Pl. for Allah all you have to go Makkah.

    nooraldin
    .

  8. akhashoggi75 says:

    Dear Buddy Waleed,

    I am so glad we have finally heard from you directly. Reading your dispatch re-confirmed my earlier comments about the ability to write superbly well runs in your genes, having read the dispatches of your sons.

    Soon you will get a chance to read the comments and the out-pour of emotions therein. We have been mesmerized by your adventure not unlike “reality TV” and holding our breath and praying and praying for your success and safety.

    You and your sons have gone beyond achieving personal goals of completing an incredible trek by any standards and reaching your targets, for the three of you have written history by being the first Saudi Pioneers to ski the Last Degree to the South Pole.

    We await your arrival eagerly and pray for your safe return. We are also holding our breaths to hear “all about it” in details, but I’ll close by saying Alhamdulillah.

    AK

  9. Mrs. WYZ says:

    Big Bawana Sir

    At last we hear your voice πŸ™‚
    I always knew your were an intrepid adventurer and a true Sagitterius, but to attempt and mashallah complete this journey on your 60th birthday is truly something. Over the past 30 years, I learned not to try to fight or tame your adventurous spirit, as it is such a part of who you are, however I was always comforted by the knowledge that this adventurous trait came with wisdom and the most incredible organization skills. With this in mind, I entrusted you to Allah’s protection and mercy.
    Mabrook Abu Haytham, this journey was, I have no doubt, more than just an emotional, psychological, and physical challenge. I cannot wait to hear your stories and learn of all the things that went through your mind on these endless treks on this barren scape.

    May Allah bring you and all the team back to your homes and loved ones safe and sound.

    SMAz

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