Would-be polar explorers wanted for world record attempt

Published:  14 September, 2009

The Fire Fighters Charity is looking for adventurers up for an extreme challenge - an expedition to one of the most inaccessible places on earth - the Northern Pole of Inaccessibility, the Arctic Pole.

The expedition is being lead by explorer Jim McNeill who resigned his fire and rescue operations for the Royal Household, to engage in “professional exploring” back in 2006 but has clocked up over 25 years of polar exploration.

The trip represents the last ‘true first’ in polar expeditionary terms. Defined as the furthest point from land on the Arctic Ocean and therefore its centre, the Northern Pole of Inaccessibility remains the last truly significant place in the Polar Regions, yet to be reached by mankind. It is over two hundred miles further than the Geographic North Pole and one of four recognised north poles.

Jim is looking for 28 highly dedicated and committed people to take part in a comprehensive and intensive training programme to take on one of four 200 mile legs, pushing the route across the Arctic Ocean.

One of the novice expeditioners who has signed up to this feat on behalf of The Fire Fighters Charity is Chief Fire Officer of Devon & Somerset Fire & Rescue Service, Lee Howell

Howell said " I've always been inspired by leaders such as Shackleton, Scott and more recently Sir Ranulph Fiennes (Ice Warrior’s Patron) and when professional explorer Jim McNeill mentioned the possibility of being part of the team attempting the last significant World First in polar expeditioning, I knew I had found the challenge of a lifetime. As well as the immense personal challenges involved, I’m doing this as part of a team undertaking meaningful and valuable scientific research as well as exploring new frontiers. Perhaps most importantly though, I aim to raise a huge sum of money for The Fire Fighters Charity, so if you would like to support me or just think I'm mad, please visit my just giving webpage http://www.justgiving.com/Howell.

Along the route “crucial datasets” will be gathered to benchmark the condition of the ocean for the NASA funded National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) scientists, led by Walt Meier. These deliver the reality of climate change and make the whole expedition worthwhile and purposeful.

The journey itself is a complicated logistical problem with the need for highly remote fuel and food caches to enable the exchange of teams and resupplies. Jim said “I’m looking for highly motivated individuals who want to go way beyond their comfort zones and push the boundaries of endurance in a wholly worthy and justifiable cause.”

Those who wish to take part in this once in a life-time experience, should visit the website www.ice-warrior.com for more information. Should you wish to participate on behalf of The Fire Fighters Charity, please email Alison White on awhite@firefighterscharity.org.uk.

  • Operation Florian

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