Two feet on the table - Arctic expedition - 11th April
I am not a great one for seeking donations, maybe because I get deluged weekly. However, this North Pole challenge, on which I shall shortly embark is unlikely to be repeated! So if you are feeling generous (and I consider a 'tenner' extremely generous) the charity we are raising money on behalf of is the Naomi House Children's Hospice. Naomi House is a local hospice, providing care and support for terminally ill children and their families.
There are 9 of us in the team, all friends, including Sam and George who will embark with youthful vigour on their side. Their combined age is a distant birthday for me. However as those of you familiar with the Corporate Athlete programme will know, age is no longer an excuse. So convinced of this are the proponents Fred and Adam, that they are coming too. To ensure we have adequately mixed skills, as my chemical engineering is unlikely to bring much benefit to bear, we have an ex Sandhurst man, Chris, who has been ruthlessly trained to save his fellow man (I hope!) and two ski guides to help people put their skis on, Jeannot and Henri from Le France.
So we gather in Longyearben in Spitzbergen for a days 'intensive' training on April 11, then fly in a rather worn Russian Antonov 74 to Ice Station Barneo. Immediately we step forth into the Arctic wilderness heading North for roughly 10 days in the hope of reaching the elusive pole. Prime challenges include pressure ridges where the ice is crushed and needs to be negotiated with our sledges in tow, open leads where the ice has split and presented watery challenges, thin ice, weather (it was -70 centigrade a few weeks ago), ice drift negating progress and of course those lovely cuddly bears.
So piece of cake. Rumour has it that only a small number have actually made it on foot and very soon it may not be possible as the Polar icecap is diminishing rapidly each year.
There will be a daily report logged on a website by our suitably fit looking guide Doug Stoup as we make our way North. To view this go to: http://www.iceaxetv.com . And on arrival, we shall be met by Alessia at the Pole
If you feel compelled to forward to a friend please feel free to do so.
Thanks and regards, Jim.