Expeditions

Expeditions

Arctic Mission – Marine Research Programme to Protect Wildlife of Central Arctic Ocean (2017)

In support of the 90ºNorth Unit’s international advocacy campaign to create a conservation area for the wildlife and ecosystem of the North Pole’s international waters, the marine research programme, Arctic Mission, was launched in August 2017.

Arctic Mission sailed two 50’ yachts, Bagheera and Snow Dragon II, skippered by Erik de Jong and Frances Brann respectively, into the North Pole’s international waters. The yachts’ route took them into the Bering, Chukchi and Beaufort Sea areas, and the Central Arctic Ocean. They were the first surface vessels to enter the Central Arctic Ocean’s international waters without the use of an icebreaker.

Under the direction of marine biologist, Tim Gordon (University of Exeter), it undertook six strands of ecosystem-related research investigating oceanography, biogeochemistry, acoustic sound-scaping, plankton, seabirds, mammals, and pollution.

Following the yachts return after 6 weeks at sea, Senator Sheldon Whitehouse cited Arctic Mission, its research, and its images during a ‘ US Save Our Seas Act’ debate in the US Senate to successfully recover funds (withdrawn by President Trump) for the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) marine debris research programme.

Arctic Mission will continue its work on the Arctic Ocean in the years ahead.

Catlin Arctic Survey – International Scientific Research Programme on the Arctic Ocean (2007-2012)

Arctic Survey was a pioneering international research endeavour, involving a collaboration between scientists and explorers, which was sponsored by Catlin Group 2008-2012. Catlin Arctic Survey investigated the rates, causes and global consequences of the unexpectedly rapid environmental changes taking place in the Arctic Ocean region. The vision for Arctic Survey was created and driven by Hadow, working annually with 50-strong project team of dedicated explorers and guides, scientists, pilots, logisticians, project managers and marketing-communications experts.

Catlin Arctic Survey (2009)

The work focused on the rapidly diminishing volume of sea ice, and involved an Explorer Team led by Hadow accompanied by Ann Daniels (polar expert) and Martin Hartley (professional photographer). They covered over 400km in 70 days in the northern Beaufort Sea area. The team measured the thickness of the sea ice and its covering layer of snow.

It led to Prof Peter Wadhams (Dept of Applied Mathematics & Theoretical Physics, University of Cambridge) announcing the data collected supported the emerging thinking that the ocean may be ice-free in the summertimes by as soon as 2029. The team were declared ‘Heroes of the Environment’ by TIME magazine for their work. The sponsorship was also nominated by the European Sponsorship Association for ‘Sponsorship of the Year – Community’, and the endeavour’s independently-produced pioneering technology won the World Technology (Environment) Award in New York.

Catlin Arctic Survey (2010 & 2011)

The Survey involved two complementary research operations: an Ice Base; and an Explorer Team. The research theme in 2010 was ‘ocean acidification’ and in 2011 it was ‘ocean circulation’, with both programmes focused on the role of sea ice.

Ice Base was a unique research base facility for scientists, located on the sea ice on the edge of the Arctic Ocean – off Ellef Ringnes Island in the Canadian high Arctic archipelago of the Queen Elizabeth Islands. It enabled x5 scientists at a time to undertake fieldwork over 10 weeks in the Winter-Spring transition period, supported by polar guides and camp staff. Researchers came from Canada, UK, France, and the US.

The Explorer Team involved a team of 3-4 professional polar explorers, undertaking 2-3 month 300-450km treks on skis, hauling sledges with equipment and supplies in mid-Arctic Ocean. These extreme, long-range scientific surveys made observations and collected samples linked to the work of the Ice Base and other research programmes.

The primary outputs are the peer-reviewed results/papers published in scientific journals which continue to be produced. Secondary outputs (2009-2012) included the four TV documentaries broadcast globally, and the coverage of the science and associated environmental issues by over x80 TV news networks and x500 international newspaper titles in over 100 countries, and the reports featuring on approximately 1,500 online news sites. Over the three years of fieldwork, the Surveys generated US$112 million worth of public communications value for the issues studied.

For more information, see ‘Surveys’ navigation bar at www.catlinarcticsurvey.com

Tetley South Pole Mission in Support of the Royal Geographical Society (2003-2004)

On 2 December 2003 Hadow and Simon Murray set off to test the viability of a new 680 mile (1,200km) route from sea level to the South Geographic Pole at 9,301ft – a variation to the classic ‘Hercules Inlet’ route which lies 75 nautical miles to the west.

On 28 January 2004 they completed the trek, with Murray (aged 63) becoming the oldest person by a decade to have trekked from the continental edge of Antarctica to the South Pole.

The 58-day trek raised over GBP£280,000 to help restore and digitally catalogue the most important items within the Royal Geographical Society’s internationally significant polar heritage collection. Selected items from the collection are now accessible to the public via the internet or can be visited at the Society’s new public-access facilities at its headquarters in London.

Hadow became the only Briton to trek, without resupply, to both the North and South Poles.

The Omega Foundation Solo North Pole (2003)

Pen became the first person to trek the 478 miles (770km) from the north coast of Canada (Ward Hunt Island), across the sea-ice surface of the Arctic Ocean, to the North Geographic Pole, solo and without resupply – the feat has never been repeated.

He began what explorer Sir Ranulph Fiennes has described as ‘one of the last great endurance challenges on Earth’ at midday on 17 March, and reached his goal, the North Geographic Pole at 09.54 GMT on Monday, 19 May. Others have likened the feat to climbing Everest – solo and without oxygen by the hardest climbed route.

Along the way he saw no living thing, save a couple of ringed seals, a seal carcass left by a polar bear, and a small bird – a snow bunting.

The expedition was funded by an American educational trust – The Omega Foundation. This is a private charitable foundation dedicated to promoting scientific research, education, and environmental protection, primarily in the world’s high altitude and high latitude regions.

At the start of the expedition, Pen was hauling a sledge weighing 19 stone 7 lbs (125kg), filled with all his supplies and equipment, on average for 11 hours a day over ice floes and chaotic jumbles of ice 1-3 metres high. Sometimes, in the opening 20 days, the most he could achieve was just one mile (2km) in a day.

Three-quarters of the way to the Pole, he lost a ski when he broke through thin ice and fell up to his neck into the icy waters of the Arctic Ocean, and he was then forced to trek the final 150 miles on foot without skis.

Pen accomplished his feat in 64 days. He arrived at the Pole one day ahead of his published 65-day projected finish date. Sir Ranulph Fiennes commented, “The man has a constitution of iron”.

The only other solo journey without resupply to the North Geographic Pole had been from the Russian coast, on the opposite side of the Arctic Ocean, going with the flow of ice towards the Pole, made by Norwegian explorer Borge Ousland (1994).

Previously, solo journeys by the Canadian route had only been achieved with resupplies. The first, by the legendary Japanese explorer Naomi Uemura (1978), involved a dog-team to pull the sledge, and seven re-supplies.  The second, by France ‘s best-known explorer, Dr Jean-Louis Etienne (1986), was a sledge-hauling expedition requiring five re-supplies. The third successful solo expedition was undertaken in 2001 by another Japanese explorer Hyoichi Kono, who managed to reduce the assistance down to one resupply.

McVitie’s Penguin Polar Relay to the North Pole (1997)

Co-organiser with Caroline Hamilton of the first all-women’s relay expedition (22 women) to the North Geographic Pole from Ward Hunt Island, Canada – including its promotion, fund-raising, selection process, contracting of professional women guides (who trekked the entire distance),  training, polar base management and media relations.

Twitter: @PenHadow

Instagram: @arcticmission