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KUWAIT CITY, Jan 16: Mountaineer Yousef Al-Refai managed to complete the seven volcanic summits challenge ending with the summiting of the Mount Sidley in Antarctica, making him the 24th individual in the world, the first Middle Eastern Arab, and the youngest person to reach such accomplishment. Speaking to KUNA, Al-Refai said that he summited Sidley on December 22, 2021 after spending six days trying to arrive in Antarctica. Once in the South Pole, it took the team four hours and half to reach the Union Glacier Camp, spending a night before heading to Marie Byrd Land region on the base of the dormant volcanic summit of Sidley, indicated the Kuwaiti adventurer.
He added that Sidley, which stood at 4,285 meters high, is not considered by any term as the highest volcanic summit in this challenge, but the main hardship was to withstand the merciless cold as well as carrying 15 kilograms of equipment plus using 25-kilogram skies. Al-Refai pointed out that the basecamp was at 2,225 meters above sea level, followed by a second camp at 3,000 meters and that was all prior to the summiting of the over 4,000 meters Sidley summit.
The good part of summiting Sidley was that there was no real sunset in this time of the year which meant that mountaineers could continue ascending longer; however, this made it had too hard to sleep, said Al-Rafei. It took the team seven hours, starting at 8:00 am at minus 25 degrees Celsius temperature, to summit Sidley, he affirmed, noting that at the very top, the temperature dropped to a staggering minus 35 Degrees Celsius. Al-Refai felt proud to be part of the unique list of individuals that made to the summit of Sidley, indicating that he was especially enthusiastic about being the only Arab and even the youngest mountaineer in the world to ever achieve this dream. He thanked all those who supported him and praised the cooperation with the Kuwait Institute for Scientific Research (KISR) who commissioned him to bring samples from the location of Sidley. Al-Refai finished the seven summits challenge, which began with Tanzania’s Kilimanjaro on December 30th, 2015, Russia’s Elbrus, and Papua New Guinea’s Mount Giluwe on July 18 and 21, Mexico’s Pico de Orizaba and Iran’s Damavand on January 6 and 11 respectively, South America’s Ojos del Salado on January 15, 2020, and finally Sidley last December. (By Baraka Al-Jassar – KUNA)