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Two Teams Complete Empty Quarter Crossings on Foot

Posted: Apr 28, 2013 01:57 pm EDT

(By Kyle Henning. Edited May 1 & May 4) One team of three South African men, and another international team of two South Koreans and a Spaniard, each completed walks across the Empty Quarter from Oman to UAE. Both teams are claiming to be the first to walk the entire desert, without relying on camels or motorized vehicles. Here is the rundown of each expedition.

The South African team walked unsupported from Salalah, Oman to the Park Hyatt Hotel in Dubai, UAE. For 40 days, from February 4 to March 15, 2013, Alex Harris led his teammates, Marco Broccardo and David Joyce, 1,210km across the desert, each taking turns pulling their 400kg expedition cart of food, water, and supplies.

The team averaged 25km a day, walking in a nearly straight line, meandering only to avoid the higher sand dunes. They used traditional map-and-compass navigation techniques, only using their GPS to record their progress.

Temperatures reached 38 degrees Celsius, requiring each of the team members to consume 5-8 liters of water per day.

[Edited, May 04, 2013 02:43 pm EDT] Alex Harris sent over an explanation about their water collection during the trek: "We did not fill up at oases i.e water straight from the ground [Ed: as reported previously in their press release]. Yes, the plan and hope was to fill up at three wells, Mughshin, Abu Tabul, and Al Ain, but in all three cases we were unable to. At Mughsin and Abu Tabul the water was not potable, and we were not allowed into the Al Ain oasis as it is a date farm, so in all three cases, water was taken from tap or bottle. At the Abu Tabul well, the nearest tapped water was at the Abu Tabul army base. However, from the start the plan was to limit ourselves to only three water stops, at these three places, regardless of how the water was taken on board. In fact, Alistair Humphreys had informed me that Mughshin and Al Ain was not potable. Other than these three stops, we received no other water anywhere along the route. Why those three places, well because historically there was a time when the wells produced potable water."

The South Korean/Spanish team also started in Salalah, Oman, ending in Liwa, UAE (330 km southwest of Dubai), reports ExWeb contributor Kyu-Dam Lee. They walked for 39 days, from February 18 to March 28, 2013. It was led by Young-Ho Nam from Korea. His teammates were Si-Woo Lee from Korea, and Agustin Arroyo Bezanilla from Spain. They report walking about 1,000km.

The Empty Quarter (Arabic - Rub’ al Khali) is a desert in the southeastern quadrant of the Arabian Peninsula, encompassing parts of Oman, Saudi Arabia, and United Arab Emirates. The hot and dry weather make it nearly uninhabitable, with nomadic people relying on oases for water and shade. Its towering sand dunes and wide salt flats have attracted adventurers and photographers for years.

Alex Harris is a South African mountaineer, cyclist, and adventure guide. He completed the Seven Summits in June 2005 and walked unsupported to the South Pole in January 2008

Marco Broccardo is the CEO of Eurocom and is on his way to completing the Seven Summits. A recovered drug addict, he now promotes adventure as a means to overcome addiction in his native South Africa.

David Joyce is the founder of Nimbletech and an experienced endurance athlete in South Africa.

Born in January 1977, Young-Ho Nam is a member of the Kolon Sports Challenge Team, hoping to cross the 10 largest deserts (except NP and SP) without motors.

Story edited May 1, 12:05 am with following addition courtesy of ExWeb South Korea contributor Kyu-Dam Lee:

Young-Ho Nam previously:

- crossed ‘Eurasia Continent (18,000 km, from China to Portugal)’ by bicycle (2006)
- crossed ‘Takla Makan Desert (450 km)’ by walk (2009)
- did ‘Ganges River (2510 km, from origin to Bengal)’ by Kayak and walk (2010)
- crossed ‘Gobi Desert (1600 km)’ by walk (2011)
- crossed ‘Great Victoria Desert (1400 km)’ by bicycle and walk (2012)
- crossed ‘Empty Quarter (1,000 km)’ by walk

His detailed ‘Empty Quarter’ travel schedule as below:
- 15-Feb-2013 : arrived Salalah, Oman
- 18-Feb-2013 : start the expedition in Oman
- 22-Feb-2013 : arrived Shisr
- 24-Feb-2013 : left Shisr
- 03-Mar-2013 : arrived Mandar Adh Dhibyan
- 09-Mar-2013 : arrived Sahmar oil field
- 14-Mar-2013 : arrived Umm As Samin area
- stop travel for permission from UAE for entrance: 16~17-Mar-2013
- 19-Mar-2013 : arrived Umm Az Zumul
completed the expedition in Oman
- 20-Mar-2013 : into UAE (stayed in Al Ain)
- 21-Mar-2013 : moved to Umm Az Zumul
- 22-Mar-2013 : start the expedition in UAE
- 29-Mar-2013 : arrive Mezaira (Liwa Oasis)
completed the expedition in UAE

#Trek #topstory

Alex Harris: "The plan and hope was to fill up at three wells, Mughshin, Abu Tabul, and Al Ain, but in all three cases we were unable to." Ed: See explanation in text.
courtesy Absa Xplore Empty Quarter Expedition, SOURCE
Simple camp at sunset.
courtesy Absa Xplore Empty Quarter Expedition, SOURCE
Guidance from two Saudi men (I am guessing they are Saudi based on the order of photos posted).
courtesy Absa Xplore Empty Quarter Expedition, SOURCE
Last day. From left to right Alex Harris, Marco Broccardo and David Joyce.
courtesy Absa Xplore Empty Quarter Expedition, SOURCE
The route.
courtesy Young-Ho Nam / Kolon Sport, SOURCE
End of one of the 39 days.

courtesy Young-Ho Nam / Kolon Sport, SOURCE
Agustin Arroyo Bezanilla from Spain, and Young-Ho Nam and Si-Woo Lee from South-Korea.
courtesy Young-Ho Nam / Kolon Sport, SOURCE