Your Chance To Take On A Remarkable Polar Feat
If you have read our previous blog post about all the different kinds of North Pole, you will know that there is not just one point in the Arctic that bears this name. You will also know that there exists such thing as the North Pole of inaccessibility; a point in the middle of the Arctic Ocean that marks the furthest position from any land mass within this gruelling part of the world.
Up until now, this North Pole remains unconquered. Whilst various expeditions have made their way to the Magnetic and Geographic North Poles (even our own cruises allow you to reach the latter), no one has yet completed the unenviable task of reaching the Pole of Inaccessibility. However, one man is determined to change that and he wants to take you with him.
Jim McNeill, a renowned polar explorer, is looking to be the first person to accomplish this feat and is asking for volunteers to come forward and join him. Jim founded an organisation known as Ice Warrior in 2001; a project aimed at allowing everyday people to become polar explorers with the help of arduous training and all the equipment needed.
In February 2015, McNeill and his team will set off from Ellef Ringnes Island in the Canadian Arctic on an 800-mile journey that could see them go down in history by completing a world first. Volunteers who can afford the £12,000 needed to be considered will be put through their paces at a number of different training camps to ensure they are prepared for what is ahead, and then a final team of 28 will be chosen. These adventurers will be split into four groups and will each contribute to one of the 200-mile legs of the journey, with Jim McNeill himself going the full distance from start to finish. At the time of writing, only eleven have been chosen and so there is still time to throw your name in the hat should you wish to challenge yourself in the ultimate way.
In case you thought that the journey was going to be all fun and games, one of the main goals of the trip will be to gather important research about the Arctic landscape. Members of the teams will be able to contribute to data collecting relating to polar bear numbers in the area, the impact of global warming and the break-up of the ice in this delicate part of the world.
It is hoped that this will help us to learn more about the Polar Regions so that we can continue putting measures in place to preserve them for future generations.
If you are interested in taking part but are unsure as to the true level of endurance you will need in order to complete the task, it is worth knowing that this is not the first time Jim McNeill has attempted this journey. His first effort took him within reach of his goal, but at a point, nearly 200 miles from any land the ice gave way beneath him. This led to him having to haul himself out of the blisteringly cold water and hunker down on an ice floe for three days until he could contact air rescue.
This ordeal perfectly highlights the unpredictability of such an exploration. Even Sir Ranulph Fiennes himself (the patron of the Ice Warrior project) admits that nature has to be on the adventurers’ side if this is to be a success. “…if the sea ice behaves itself badly at that time in that place then it's going to be very difficult for anyone at all to make it,” he said when asked about the group’s chances.
If you would like to volunteer for this gargantuan challenge, there is more information on the Ice Warrior website. However, if you would prefer a more relaxed trip into some of the world’s most unexplored regions, our wide range of Polar Cruises may be much more of an attractive prospect.