People don’t need to be super fit. We can train people’s bodies but it is mental attributes that make successful polar explorers.
Jim McNeill, one of the world’s most experienced and respected explorers, is offering ordinary people the chance to take on a truly ambitious fitness challenge: a quest to reach the Northern Pole of Inaccessibility – a world first.
Many fitness experts and personal trainers recognise that for the majority of people, it is difficult to find the motivation to get fit without an end goal in sight.
For some people, this might be a half-marathon, a triathlon or a bike ride. However, for those looking to make history, contribute to science and get fit in the process, the Last Pole expedition is an exciting alternative.
Because the trek requires a combination of physical and mental strength and stamina, it also appeals to those who already have a high level of fitness and want to prove themselves in another way.
The 800 mile (1,280 km) expedition is the latest flagship of the Ice Warrior project and will run from February to May 2016. The expedition will reach the Northern Pole of Inaccessibility – the centre of the Arctic Ocean.
Applicants will be invited to a selection weekend on 26-28 June or 24-26 July at a location that will be revealed late to test participants’ organisational skills. Successful candidates will then undergo comprehensive and intensive UK and Arctic training.
The pioneering expedition will make use of new technologies such as the hybrid kayak-sledge QAJAQ, which was designed by Jim himself. It will serve as a vessel on ice, sea ice and water and double as a survival pod.
Former fireman Jim McNeill said, “We want to recruit ordinary men and women on this epic expedition, to show that most people have the ‘right stuff’. This is one of the biggest, boldest and most exciting expeditions of our time, and harks back to the golden age of polar exploration, when there were no experts.
“I want 28 people in four teams of seven who will commit to a 20 day period on ice; aged 18-80, from all walks of life and who want to make history and a crucial contribution to science.
“Expeditioners will be measuring many sea-ice parameters and the data they collect will further our knowledge of how it disintegrates and therefore how long it will last.”
Jim, who is 54 and has over 30 years of polar expedition experience, is passionate about opening up the Arctic to those willing to participate. “People don’t need to be super fit. We can train people’s bodies but it is mental attributes that make successful polar explorers. Maturity, in the truest sense of the word, will help but what is essential is that people are excellent team players.”
The journey, including all training and kit, will cost around £20,000 per person and participants are required to have the characteristics and drive to fundraise this money – making it available to anyone. The expedition will be split into four legs, each lasting 20 days. In total, the trek will cover 800 miles.
If you’d like to apply to be selected for the expedition, please visit www.lastpole.co.uk. For information about Jim McNeill visit www.ice-warrior.com . The expedition is being promoted on Twitter with the hashtag #LastPole and participants can register their interest by texting ‘ICE’ to 66777.
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Jim McNeill is available for interview.
About Jim McNeill:
Jim McNeill is an explorer with over 30 years of experience in polar travel and 35 years of experience in expeditioning.
In January 2001 he conceived the concept of combining his professional rescue and polar expertise into a long term vision known as the Ice Warrior Project.
Jim’s guiding, survival and logistics expertise is employed by BBC film crews in extreme locations and includes landmark series such as FROZEN PLANET, HUMAN PLANET, NATURAL WORLD and LAST EXPLORERS. His reports for ITV News on the reality of climate change have been seen by audiences from around the globe. Next year Jim plans to be the first person to walk to the Northern Pole of Inaccessibility, accompanied by ordinary people recruited on the ‘Last Pole’ search.
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