The North Poles

 

With my experience of racing across the sub-Arctic and Arctic, and a season testing equipment on the Arctic sea ice, I hope to demonstrate an innovation in Polar Exploration.  If successful, I will reach three of the four North Poles, and be the first person in history to reach the Northern Pole of Inaccessibility - the furthest point from land, a location identifed by Jim McNeil in 2003 and that point confirmed by the Scott Polar Research Institute in Cambridge.  If conditions are against me, I will return in subsequent years until I am successful.  The main priority, aside from the Poles, is to test whether or not the ultra-endurance athletes fast and light approach can work over the sea ice.

The Four North Poles

There are four North Poles that one might consider travelling to, three of which are currently fairly close to each other.  The Pole most people know is the Geographic North Pole.  This is the top of the Earth, at the point where all the lines of longitude meet.  Its location is 90 degrees north.  Another is the Magnetic North Pole.  If a bar magnet were thrust through the Earth, part of it would be visible in the north and part in the south.  This is approximately where the compass needle points.  The Magnetic North Pole is drifting from Canada towards Siberia, and is currently a couple of hundred miles from the Geographic North Pole, in the middle of the Arctic Ocean.  Unfortunately some adventurers have claimed to reach this pole, when in fact choosing its location during the 1990s, when it was much closer to Resolute Bay in Canada.  Reaching a point where a Pole used to be is not a fair claim, as presumably one could make an equal claim for choosing another point in time when at an even more convenient location (say a Starbucks near an airport).

Another pole is the Geographic North Pole, described as the location where magnetic field lines across the Earth converge.  The Geographic North Pole is situated between northwest Greenland and northeast Canada.  The last pole is the Northern Pole of Inaccessibility, or the 'Arctic Pole'.  There are many inaccessible poles around the world, and the reference is to the furthest point from land.  So, there is a point in each ocean that is the inaccessible pole, relative to land.  The Northern Pole of Inaccessibility is the point furthest from land in the Arctic Ocean, and it remains to be reached.  Jim McNeil is most likely to reach this Pole first.  Some have discussed reaching it by flying to a nearby point and trekking from there, but this is not appropriate to claim a world first.  The Pole must be reached following a continuous expedition from land.

 
 
What does our expedition involve?
A journey of up to 2000 miles.  I will leave from Point Barrow, Alaska, and head towards the Northern Pole of Inaccessibility (the 'Arctic Pole').  Because the Magnetic North Pole is moving from Canada towards Siberia, it will be close enough to permit a diversion on my journey to Geographic North.  So, I will go from the Arctic Pole to Magnetic North, before heading to my finish point at the Geographic North Pole. 
 
 
 
What are the dangers?
The average temperature at the North Pole is -40 degrees Celsius, so hypothermia and frostbite will present constant risks throughout the expedition.  Arctic winds will reduce the temperature considerably further.  In some areas open leads will be present, which I will have to swim or paddle across.  In some areas the ice will be particularly thin, meaning there will be a risk of falling through into the icy waters beneath.  I will carry a drysuit, which I will wear if I consider the chances of falling through sufficiently high.  The water temperature is only a few degrees Celsius, and there is a risk sudden cold shock should I fall in unprotected.  The greatest risk of such extreme cold shock is to suffer a heart attack, and if that is avoided the shivering can be so intense it is not possible to control the limbs and swim to safety, making drowning a secondary risk.  When back on land after falling through ice, it is necessary to quickly dry and change clothing, as frostbite and hypothermia can limit movement and dexterity, rapidly limiting my ability to take care of myself.  In this environment, to get even my hands wet could mean losing fingers to frostbite within minutes, but in so doing also losing my capacity to look after myself and prevent hypothermia.

For me, falling into water is my greatest concern.  My second greatest concern is the Polar Bears.  The bears typically spend their time on the periphery of the Arctic, where there are islands and their prey animals, although bears have been spotted within a few miles of the Pole itself.  I will carry limited protection, and hope my average daily pace will take me far from the coastal regions quickly, limiting my chances of coming across them. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What is so special?
I plan to show the world what can be achieved by using innovative techniques, the best equipment, and relentless effort.  My background is in ultra-endurance adventure racing - moving very fast and very light over great distances - and using those technologies from the best manufacturers in the world to ensure I can work at my potential.  Also, these events are about the psychological motivation to see projects through - taking something seemingly impossible and breaking it down into component parts, re-thinking the approach, and coming up with something new and better.

How do I know I can do it?
I am currently the only person to have completed the 450-mile, Yukon Arctic Ultra race three times on foot.  I have also completed the 350-mile Iditarod Trail Invitational, and in 2016 I became the second person ever to sled-haul the 1000-mile Yukon Quest route on foot.  The temperatures have dropped below -50C, and the conditions were similar to what can be expected on the sea ice.  I will be using the same approach, similar equipment, and have no doubts that this is achievable for me.  I have also spent time on the Arctic sea ice testing equipment, and am currently planning to compete in 350-mile

 

Who am I?
 
I am an academic, a researcher, a writer and ultra-endurance athlete.  I have a successfully completed a good number of extreme ultra-endurance races, such as the Marathon des Sables (150 miles), Jungle Marathon (140 miles), Trans-Alps (140 miles), The Oner (72 miles non-stop), Coast-to-coast (210 miles), Yukon arctic ultra (450 miles - 2009, 2011, 2013), Hardmoors 110 (110 miles), La Ultra (138 miles), Ultra Trail Gobi Race (250 miles) and Iditarod Trail Invitational (350 miles).  In 2016 I sled-hauled the 1000-mile Yukon Quest trail in sub-Arctic Alaska and Canada, solo and unsupported, becoming the second person ever to do so.
 
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sponsorship


I am supported by the best companies in the world for clothing and equipment, and work tirelessly to give them promotion in various ways - websites, guest lectures and presentations, radio broadcasts, features in national and international magazines and newspapers, and so on.  This expedition will represent and showcase world-leading technologies, innovation, environmental awareness, and physical and mental determination.  I am looking for a financial sponsor who aligns themselves with these qualities.

The total costs for the expedition will lie somewhere between £250,000 and £500,000, although almost all of that is a contingency for an emergency air-lift, and will be returned within minimal deductions if unrequired. 

 

Anyone interested in financially sponsoring this or my other projects should contact me directly, via email.

 

 
I give lectures and courses around the UK on subjects relevant to endurance athletes, coaches, personal trainers and therapists.  Details of these can be found here.

 

 

The Books

 

My books are available from Amazon as ebooks and as printed versions.

 

             

 

 

 

 

The content of this website is provided free of charge, and I hope it is of value to those reading it.  Anyone wishing to donate to help support me is welcome to do so here.  I am extremely grateful for any and all support received.

 

 

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