Thursday, February 4, 2010

Training and preparation for the Pole

Finally after the bones of two years planning and two trips to Canada training, we are on our way. Through the support of my wife and family I have been most fortunate to partake in this once in a lifetime opportunity. On Sunday the 5th February we depart for Yellowknife, in northern Canada for two weeks training. This is to double check equipment and the likes. From there we will fly further north to Resolate Bay for another week for training and preparing. It will be from there that we will be flown in to the northern most point, to set off on the expedition to the North Pole.

Image 1: Training with the dry suit on Waterville Lake. This will be used on many occasions on route to the Pole.

Previous training has included working alongside Richard Webber in Canada. Richard Webber is a world-renowned Canadian cross country skier, as well as being the most experienced North Pole explorer in the world today. Richard has more than 45 arctic expeditions to his name and is the only person to have completed six full North Pole expeditions in history. One the two training sessions that we carried out with Richard has given me some confidence and helped me to prepare for what is expected through his guidance and depth of knowledge.

With all that in mind a quote from Reinold Messner on his attempt at the North Pole, has put it into another perspective “tracking to the North Pole was ten times more difficult than climbing Everest. This has and can scare the s*** out of me, coming from a man that has climbed all the 14,000-meter peaks in the world without oxygen !

Image 2: On the capable hands of Brendan O'Shea Jr and Brendan Mangan (and of course Brendan O'Shea Snr on camera). Shooting practice - polar bear attacks are a very real threat as you can meet them almost all the way to the pole.

Pat Falvey, our team leader has put hours upon hours of time into this trip putting all the necessary logistics together. Doing so for an expedition like this is a nightmare. Clare is in charge of getting all the food organised and transported to Yellowknife. We will sort all this food out when we will arrive there. All must be done within the two weeks and then shipped north to Resolute bay for departure to Ward Hunt, and the start of the expedition. All this must be done while we undertake yet more training of course! We must still decide on which tent we will use while on the ice, and will have to decide on this before we head for Resolute Bay.

Image 3: This is the Webber tent which we were training with in Resolute bay last year. We still haven't decided which one we will use the (The Webber or the Hilleberg).

After all this packing and preparation I'm looking forward to getting started on what will be the most challenging expedition I have ever undertaken.

This blog will be updated regularly. I will send details of our progress to my family through the satellite phone, where they will post updates on this blog. I also hope to forward pictures during the expedition, so keep checking back for more updates!

1 comment:

  1. hi John,
    Hope all is going well for you and the team
    cannot even begin to imagine the cold
    best of luck for the trek

    Seanie Murphy
    Valentia Island