Max Calderan

Max Calderan, an Italian explorer, has become the first man to cross the Rub’ Al Khali desert, better known as the Empty Quarter.

Rub’ Al Khali is the largest sand desert in the world. It covers about 650,000 square kilometres, including parts of Saudi Arabia, Oman, the UAE and Yemen.

The Italian, 52, trekked through 1,100 km of gruelling desert and crossed sand dunes as tall as 300 metres.

He started his journey on January 18 in Saudi Arabia and reached the UAE on February 3.

“The border police were incredulous when I told them that I had just finished crossing the Empty Quarter,” Calderan said.

“They couldn’t believe that I had been walking 1,000 kilometres,” he said.

“The last leg I faced in total solitude. My team was waiting for me at the finish and even the Saudi company that was managing logistics and security refused to proceed due to the danger of the route,” he said.

Temperatures are extremely high in that section, the sand is boiling hot, and the dunes are much more imposing and difficult to climb compared to the ones that come before it.

“It was a trip through hell,” Calderan said.

The exploration didn’t produce scientifically significant discoveries, due to the lack of genetic samples available for collection in the desert.

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