Veteran polar expert invites wannabe explorers on Canadian Arctic expedition for 'world's last great adventure'

Veteran polar expert Jim McNeill is seeking 28 volunteers to join his party, due to embark next year

It is a journey that offers the prize of treading where no man has ever gone before. It also holds out the prospect of treacherously unstable sea ice, fatal frostbite and the ever present threat of polar bear attack.

But the organisers of an expedition to the appropriately named Pole of Inaccessibility high up in the Canadian Arctic believe there are sufficient numbers of wannabe explorers with the right stuff to set out on what they describe as the “world’s last great adventure”.

Veteran polar expert Jim McNeill, who has attempted the feat twice before and nearly died doing so, is seeking 28 volunteers to join his party which is due to embark next year.

The 800 mile Ice Warrior Challenge will be made by sledge-canoe hybrids from Resolute Bay to the geographical centre of the Arctic Ocean utilising the all-too brief spring conditions where there is daylight but in which the sea ice has yet to melt.

Mr McNeill said there was a simple reason why no one had ever made the journey before.  “It is so bloody difficult. For my peers, of whom there are only about half a dozen, this is the last world first in terms of polar adventure,” he said.

The adventurer will lead four teams with little or no experience of polar exploration in stages of the 80 day trek.

Sir Ernest Shackeleton Sir Ernest Shackeleton (Getty Images)
“Twenty days is the most they will be able to take psychologically. It is still pushing the boundaries to people’s spirit and endurance and their mental capacity. The conditions can be very nasty. You have to be trained to resilient and resourceful to survive in these situations,” he said.

Sir Ernest Shackleton had intended to reach the point 411miles from the North Pole but lost the support of the Canadian government and instead embarked on his final ill-fated mission to the Antarctic.

Last time Mr McNeill tried the journey in 2006 he reached a point 170 nautical miles from the last landfall before the ice gave way beneath him. After pulling himself from the lethally cold water he survived for three days in a raging storm sheltering on an ice floe before being able to call in air rescue.

Volunteers capable of paying the £12,000 needed to book a place and who can make it through the training will participate in a number of scientific studies including monitoring the numbers and locations of polar bears as well as measuring the thickness of the sea ice.

Global warming has made travel in the Polar Regions even more hazardous with unseasonal thaws and sudden brutal storms in which hurricane force winds can drive temperatures to below -50C.

“These days you can’t predict the weather so we want to get out here and tell it like it is. I have been doing this for 30 years and I still have all my fingers and toes. But the winds can be very nasty indeed so that you can’t get out of your tent or the frost bite will get you in seconds.”

Jim McNeill (left) and Patron of the Ice Warrior Project Sir Ranulph Fiennes Jim McNeill (left) and Patron of the Ice Warrior Project Sir Ranulph Fiennes (PA)
He said that although many of the discoveries made today were about biodiversity, pollution and climate change – they were equally important to the mapping endeavours of the golden age of adventure.

Patron of the expedition is Alexandra Shackleton, granddaughter of Sir Ernest. She said her forebear’s thwarted desire to make the journey marked a departure from the family maxim that “Shackletons do the white south and not the white north.”

She said:  “Everything has changed so much. In my grandfather’s it was much more dangerous. The clothes were no god at keeping you warm and if anything went wrong you had to rely on the leadership to get you out of it. There were no communications but it was very exciting. You can’t think what it is like to tread where no man has gone before.”

Supporter of the expedition Sir Ranulph Fiennes said the prospect of success was not assured. “I'm not blaming nature but 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.

To boldly go... Hard-to-reach places

March 1912 Robert Falcon Scott’s trek to the South Pole ends with the deaths of all those who made it there. Expedition member Apsley Cherry-Garrard gives a candid account of it in The Worst Journey in the World.

2008 TauTona goldmine near Johannesburg in South Africa becomes the deepest place reached on Earth at 2.2 miles underground. It takes workers an hour to reach the surface by lift.

March 2012 Film-maker James Cameron descends 35,756ft to reach the ocean’s deepest point located in the Mariana Trench in the Pacific Ocean

October 2012 Austrian skydiver Felix Baumgartner sets an altitude record for a manned balloon flight when he reaches an altitude of 128,100ft – more than 24 miles. He then jumps off in the highest skydive ever.

September 2013 The bulk freighter Nordic Orion passes through the Northwest Passage and into Baffin Bay, the first commercial vessel to do so.

Life and Style
tech

Sales of the tablet are set to fall again say analysts

News
A Brazilian wandering spider
news

World's most lethal spider found under a bunch of bananas

Life and Style
fashion

British supermodel and hitmaker join forces to launch a 'huge song'

Life and Style
gaming

I Am Bread could actually a challenging and nuanced title

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Sport
Mario Balotelli pictured in the win over QPR
footballInternet reacts to miss shocker for Liverpool striker
News
people
Voices
Sol Campbell near his home in Chelsea
voices
News
i100
News
Kimi the fox cub
newsBurberry under fire from animal rights group - and their star, Kimi
Sport
Fans of Palmeiras looks dejected during the match between Palmeiras and Santos
footballPalmeiras fan killed trying to 'ambush' bus full of opposition supporters
Travel
ebookHow to enjoy the perfect short break in 20 great cities
Arts and Entertainment
filmsIt's nearly a wrap on Star Wars: Episode 7, producer reveals
Life and Style
fashion
News
i100
News
<p>Jonathan Ross</p>
<p>Jonathan Ross (or Wossy, as he’s affectionately known) has been on television and radio for an extraordinarily long time, working on a seat in the pantheon of British presenters. Hosting Friday Night with Jonathan Ross for nine years, Ross has been in everything from the video game Fable to Phineas and Ferb. So it’s probably not so surprising that Ross studied at Southampton College of Art (since rebranded Southampton Solent), a university known nowadays for its media production courses.</p>
<p>However, after leaving Solent, Ross studied History at the School of Slavonic and East European Studies, now part of the UCL, a move that was somewhat out of keeping with the rest of his career. Ross was made a fellow of the school in 2006 in recognition of his services to broadcasting.</p>
TV

Rumours that the star wants to move on to pastures new

News
i100
Independent Travel Videos
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Amsterdam
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Giverny
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in St John's
Independent Travel Videos
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    SCRUM Master

    £30 - 50k (DOE) + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a SCRUM Master to joi...

    Franchise Support Assistant

    £13,520: Recruitment Genius: As this role can be customer facing at times, the...

    Financial Controller

    £50000 - £60000 per annum: Sauce Recruitment: A successful entertainment, even...

    Direct Marketing Executive - Offline - SW London

    £25000 - £30000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: A fantastic opportunity h...

    Day In a Page

    Oscar Pistorius sentencing: The athlete's wealth and notoriety have provoked a long overdue debate on South African prisons

    'They poured water on, then electrified me...'

    If Oscar Pistorius is sent to jail, his experience will not be that of other inmates
    James Wharton: The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

    The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

    Life after the Army has brought new battles for the LGBT activist James Wharton
    Ebola in the US: Panic over the virus threatens to infect President Obama's midterms

    Panic over Ebola threatens to infect the midterms

    Just one person has died, yet November's elections may be affected by what Republicans call 'Obama's Katrina', says Rupert Cornwell
    Premier League coaches join the RSC to swap the tricks of their trades

    Darling, you were fabulous! But offside...

    Premier League coaches are joining the RSC to learn acting skills, and in turn they will teach its actors to play football. Nick Clark finds out why
    How to dress with authority: Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear

    How to dress with authority

    Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear
    New book on Joy Division's Ian Curtis sheds new light on the life of the late singer

    New book on Ian Curtis sheds fresh light on the life of the late singer

    'Joy Division were making art... Ian was for real' says author Jon Savage
    Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

    Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

    The Bafta-winner talks Hollywood, being branded a psycho, and how Barbra Streisand is his true inspiration
    Tim Minchin, interview: The musician, comedian and world's favourite ginger is on scorching form

    Tim Minchin interview

    For a no-holds-barred comedian who is scathing about woolly thinking and oppressive religiosity, he is surprisingly gentle in person
    Boris Johnson's boozing won't win the puritan vote

    Boris's boozing won't win the puritan vote

    Many of us Brits still disapprove of conspicuous consumption – it's the way we were raised, says DJ Taylor
    Ash frontman Tim Wheeler reveals how he came to terms with his father's dementia

    Tim Wheeler: Alzheimer's, memories and my dad

    Wheeler's dad suffered from Alzheimer's for three years. When he died, there was only one way the Ash frontman knew how to respond: with a heartfelt solo album
    Hugh Bonneville & Peter James: 'Peter loves his classic cars; I've always pootled along fine with a Mini Metro. I think I lack his panache'

    How We Met: Hugh Bonneville & Peter James

    'Peter loves his classic cars; I've always pootled along fine with a Mini Metro. I think I lack his panache'
    Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's heavenly crab dishes don't need hours of preparation

    Bill Granger's heavenly crab recipes

    Scared off by the strain of shelling a crab? Let a fishmonger do the hard work so you can focus on getting the flavours right
    Radamel Falcao: How faith and love drive the Colombian to glory

    Radamel Falcao: How faith and love drive the Colombian to glory

    After a remarkable conversion from reckless defender to prolific striker, Monaco's ace says he wants to make his loan deal at Old Trafford permanent
    Terry Venables: Premier League managers must not be allowed to dictate who plays and who does not play for England

    Terry Venables column

    Premier League managers must not be allowed to dictate who plays and who does not play for England
    The Inside Word: Brendan Rodgers looks to the future while Roy Hodgson is ghost of seasons past

    Michael Calvin's Inside Word

    Brendan Rodgers looks to the future while Roy Hodgson is ghost of seasons past