Arctic scientific survey ends with 'Hole at the Pole'

A team of three British explorers described as 'the world's toughest' have arrived at the North Geographic Pole at the end of a gruelling 60 day scientific survey across the floating sea ice of the Arctic Ocean.

"We decided to call it our Hole at the Pole" said Ann Daniels. "Getting the science work done has always been our top priority, but it is absolutely fantastic to reach the Pole as well. We’re ecstatic."

Speaking from Catlin Arctic Survey's headquarters in London, the Survey Director and explorer Pen Hadow described the team's achievement as extraordinary. "It's not possible to imagine what this team has had to do to pull off this extreme survey. I consider them to be the world’s toughest to have done this. Together they’re the face of modern exploration helping to advance the understanding of scientists and the public alike about how the natural world works. When, as a country, we are beset by so many challenges, these explorers are a window onto what is possible where there is a will.  They make me proud to be British.”

The three explorers have travelled over 483 miles (777 kilometres) since March 14th but to reach the Pole have had to increase the amount of trekking time each day. They made it with only hours to spare before a Twin Otter plane was scheduled to land on the ice to collect them.

Commenting on the harsh conditions Ann Daniels said: "It has been an unbelievably hard journey over the ice. Conditions have been unusually tough and at times very frustrating with a frequent southerly drift pushing us backwards every time we camped for the night. On top of that we’ve had to battle into head-winds and swim across large areas of dangerously thin ice and open water."

The Catlin Arctic Survey 2010 is a unique collaboration between marine biologists, oceanographers and polar explorers to get vital science field work done which has not proved possible until now.

The expedition is sponsored by Catlin Group Limited, the international specialty insurer and reinsurer. Chief Executive Stephen Catlin said “It’s great news that the team has completed such an extensive survey and reached the North Pole. Their effort to obtain data that can help to forecast the risk posed by our changing environment is truly impressive.”

To find out more about the Catlin Arctic Survey 2010 visit www.catlinarcticsurvey.com

Photo: the North Pole by Nick Smith

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