(By Kyu Dam Lee, ExplorersWeb South-Korea) Earlier this year South Korean adventurer, Young-Ho Nam, led a team on a crossing through the Empty Quarter, Arabian Desert, from Salalah, Oman, to Liwa, United Arab Emirates. This expedition is part of a bigger goal where Mr. Nam plans to do walks in 10 of the world's deserts.
ExWeb's Kyu Dam Lee interviewed Mr. Nam near Kunkuk University, Seoul.
ExplorersWeb: I think, many mountaineers have different career (personal history). Some from KSAF (Korea Student Alpine Federation), some from some mountaineering school, some from sports climbing and etc. How do you introduce yourself in this aspect?
Young-Ho Nam: I am not a person who from those societies. I had graduated university and studied photo graphics in my university. It has an Alpine Club, but I do not belong to it. It is true that Alpine society is well organized society. Even I had some climbing expeditions with some Korean climbers, but I am a kind of independent person who like and very focused to have adventure. Climbing is also a part of adventure, but I choose expeditions in deserts, and I enjoyed them.
ExplorersWeb: Is your original hometown ‘Guri-city, GyuongGi-do’? How many tributaries do you have? Are your parents still alive? Did you get any opposition on your project from your family? Do you visit your parents often (frequently)?
Young-Ho Nam: No, I lived from there mid of 2000s, exactly from 2006 with my parents. My father was born in 1947, and my mother was born in 1950. I have one elder sister. My parents (especially father) looks support my adventures in deserts, but they were anxious for me. Especially my mother wishes I have good job and make necessary money for my living.
ExplorersWeb: Did you marry?
Young-Ho Nam: No, not yet. I will do it soon. On coming June-15-2013, I will marry. After marriage, I will separate from my parent, and will have an independent living with my wife.
ExplorersWeb: How do you get expenses for your living (and to manage your home)?
Young-Ho Nam:In fact, I did not make enough money for my living till I have sponsoring contract with Kolon Sports in Feb-2013 for a year. I had some income, but I used it all for my expeditions. I had a job after I graduate university; my income was not enough for expedition. I was a reporter of mountaineering journal, in 2000s.
ExplorersWeb: Do you get sufficient expense supports for your living from your sponsoring company?
Young-Ho Nam: I don’t know the meaning of ‘sufficient’ in your words. (laugh) Sponsoring company charge the expense for my expedition and paying some money for my activities (living).
ExplorersWeb: What made you to have desert expedition?
Young-Ho Nam:As I told you, I love some adventures. After I had some expeditions (rock climbing) with mountain climbers, I decided to have expedition in deserts.
ExplorersWeb: As I know, you said that you want to travel all of 10 big deserts in the world except South Pole and North Pole. What are the names of 10 big deserts in the world?
Young-Ho Nam: Sahara, Arabian, Gobi, Patagonian, Great Basin, Chihuahuan, Syrian, Kalahari, Great Victoria and Great Sandy.
ExplorersWeb: You already experienced some of them. Do you think each desert has own character (different property)?
Young-Ho Nam:Yes, I do.
For example, Empty Quarter is very huge than any other deserts I experienced (Gobi, Great Victoria, Taklelama Khan). And it (EQ) was a really big area of independent-like sand hill. Some sand hill reach almost 250 m height. I guess that it is the hugest sand hill in the world. It has various modes like stone zone, dried lake, sand hill and Wadi, while sand hills in Taklelama Khan are not so high and simple (all is covered with sand). Also, you will experience big pain in an area ‘Umm of Samim (mother of poison, in English)’ during camping or walking for seriously carved ripple shape of earth surface as bombed.
ExplorersWeb: How did you get water for your expedition in Empty Quarter?
Young-Ho Nam: It was one of the hardest issues in the desert. Water was carried by camels. Only 5 liter water (include cooking) was permitted for a man per day, I refilled the water when I meet oasis or village.
ExplorersWeb: As I know, you had difficulties to get permission for your expedition. Is it needed to have expedition at there?
Young-Ho Nam: There are two areas. One is free area to have expedition or travel. One is area belong to military or other government agencies in the desert. You must have permission to enter into those areas to cross the desert. Normally, government officer is accompanying with your expedition in the area.
I had to get permission from ‘Ministry of Information’ and ‘military authority’ in Oman.
ExplorersWeb: What was the most serious difficulty in deserts?
Young-Ho Nam: I had different difficulty in different desert. It was meet some person in Gobi desert. In Empty Quarter, I had to dig-out sand and made a hole to hide body of myself from the heat.
ExplorersWeb: What did you feel when you read an article on the expedition of Mr. Alex Harris team in Empty Quarter?
Young-Ho Nam: It is hard to say because I never met them before or know the details of their expedition. We had an expedition in almost same season in almost same area. If one can say that rim of desert is desert, they had expedition in desert. Only by some their moving data, it seems they travel along road at rim of desert (Empty Quarter). I would like to compare travel route of their expedition with my expedition as possible. When I see the photos on his homepage, I thought the width of tire of their cart is not suitable for desert (sand field), it should be much wider to stand its weight in sand.
ExplorersWeb: What is your next target? What time do you expect?
Young-Ho Nam: I have a plan to have an expedition in Great Basin Desert in Nevada and Utah, USA in Sep-2013, and Patagonian in next (2014) spring.
ExplorersWeb: What did you feel on recent accident (fighting) on Mt. Everest?
Young-Ho Nam: I do not know about it well. Maybe, understating (respect) for other party is lacked, I think. All should respect others.
ExplorersWeb: If you have some word for others (to propagate), what is that?
Young-Ho Nam: We are walking in uncertain desert of life, even we are in desert or in else other place. I wish everyone can enjoy the travel even it gives some difficulties and loneliness at sometimes.
Born in January 1977, Young-Ho Nam is a member of the Kolon Sports Challenge Team, hoping to do expeditions in the 10 largest deserts (except NP and SP) without vehicles.
Mr. Nam and his team mates, Si-Woo Lee from South-Korea, and Agustin Arroyo Bezanilla from Spain, walked from Salalah, Oman, to Liwa, UAE (330 km southwest of Dubai). They walked for 39 days, from February 18 to March 28, 2013, a distance of about 1,000km, according to them.
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.
The 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
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
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South Korean/Spanish Empty Quarter website
Article in Joinsmsn (Korean)
South African Empty Quarter website
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