2022-05-19 North Pole trek mapping Arctic sea ice ends early.

Three British scientists on a ski trek to the North Pole abruptly ended their mission to map out thinning Arctic sea ice Wednesday, fearing an early summer ice melt.

The trip, part of a global warming study, was "ending slightly ahead of schedule to ensure a safe pick up" by two twin Otter aircraft before the "annual summer break-up and thaw of the ice, which we are keen to avoid," operations director Simon Harris-Ward said.

The expedition surveyed 434 kilometres across the surface of the frozen Arctic Ocean over 73 days, amid treacherous snow conditions and temperatures dropping below minus 70 degrees Celsius (minus 94 degrees Fahrenheit) with a wind chill.

The three explorers Pen Hadow, Ann Daniels and Martin Hartley had to undertake survey work manually after the team's equipment failed to stand up to the hostile Arctic conditions.

Bad weather repeatedly prevented supply planes from reaching them, occasionally leaving them with half-rations as they battled brutal elements, while Hartley also got frostbite in his right big toe.

The trio finally stopped 490 kilometres from the North Pole, said the Caitlan Arctic Survey website.

Yet they still managed to collect thousands of measurements of snow and ice depth and density by drilling and physically measuring as well as making comprehensive observations, they said.

The latest ice report on the expedition's website said the survey pointed to "an unexpected lack of thicker multi-year ice," indicating very little Arctic sea ice remained at the end of the last summer melt.

All of the raw data collected during the expedition would be released later, and analysed in the coming months, said a statement.

Global warming is believed to be the main culprit in the rapidly melting polar ice cap that is freeing up new sea routes and untapped mineral resources on the ocean bottom.

2022-05-07 Foreign Office Swine Flu update

If you are looking for advice on how swine flu might affect your travel plans, you should consult the travel advice for the country concerned. If you are overseas and are seeking specific advice on the country in which you are located you should also consult our travel advice.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) is coordinating the global response to human cases of swine influenza A (H1N1) and monitoring the corresponding threat of an influenza pandemic. Comprehensive advice and information on the current situation can be found on the WHO website.

On 29 April the WHO raised the pandemic alert level to phase 5. This is characterized by human-to-human spread of the virus into at least two countries in one WHO region.

Several tour operators have cancelled flights to Mexico. You should check with your tour operator if you have booked a holiday to Mexico.

We are aware that some countries have put quarantine measures in place for people travelling from affected countries, or in one case at a hotel where an infected person has been staying.  These measures have been put in place by the local authorities.  British nationals who may find themselves quarantined overseas should contact their nearest British Embassy/Consulate who will be able to offer consular assistance, though access may be limited due to the quarantine restrictions.

If you are travelling to an affected country you should:

  • consult your usual healthcare provider for travel medical advice and further guidance if you have specific concerns
  • check our travel advice for the relevant country before travelling.

The Department of Health website gives further information on what the UK is doing in response to the outbreak. The Health Protection Agency has provided advice on measures which can be taken to prevent infection. General infection control practices and good respiratory hand hygiene can help to reduce transmission of all viruses, including the human swine influenza. This includes:

  • covering your nose and mouth when coughing or sneezing, using a tissue when possible
  • disposing of dirty tissues promptly and carefully
  • maintaining good basic hygiene, for example washing hands frequently with soap and water to reduce the spread of the virus from your hands to face or to other people
  • cleaning hard surfaces (e.g. door handles) frequently using a normal cleaning product
  • making sure your children follow this advice.

For guidance specific to the UK, more information is available from the Directgov website.

2022-04-28 Swine influenza .

World Health Organization Report.
27 April 2022 -- The current situation regarding the outbreak of swine influenza A(H1N1) is evolving rapidly. As of 27 April 2009, the United States Government has reported 40 laboratory confirmed human cases of swine influenza A(H1N1), with no deaths. Mexico has reported 26 confirmed human cases of infection with the same virus, including seven deaths. Canada has reported six cases, with no deaths, while Spain has reported one case, with no deaths.

Further information on the situation will be available on the WHO website on a regular basis.

WHO advises no restriction of regular travel or closure of borders. It is considered prudent for people who are ill to delay international travel and for people developing symptoms following international travel to seek medical attention, in line with guidance from national authorities.

There is also no risk of infection from this virus from consumption of well-cooked pork and pork products. Individuals are advised to wash hands thoroughly with soap and water on a regular basis and should seek medical attention if they develop any symptoms of influenza-like illness.


For more info go to http://www.who.int/csr/disease/swineflu/en/index.html.

2022-04-24 Life Marque & the Artic Challenge.

Lifesystems and Lifeventure are very pleased and proud to be involved and supporting one of the most important international, scientific and environmental expeditions of all time, the Catlin Arctic Survey. The Arctic Survey aims to answer one of the most worrying environmental questions which have ever faced our planet; how long will the Arctic Ocean's sea ice cover remain a permanent feature of our planet?

The team of 3 includes renowned expedition leader Penn Hadow, Ann Daniels, one of the World’s foremost female polar explorers and leading expedition photographer Martin Hartley. They will be travelling on foot, hauling sledges from 81°N 130°W, across 1000-km of disintegrating and shifting sea ice, for around 100 days, in temperatures from 0ºC down to -50°C to reach the North Pole. The information which they will collect from the sledges will be able to inform world leaders and environmentalists just how long the ice caps will remain.

Working closely alongside the Arctic team and their support crew, Lifesystems and Lifeventure designers had the unusual, yet exciting challenge of creating a series of products specifically for the expedition which will keep the team safe and aid them in their mission.

With extreme temperatures and challenging conditions a major problem the design team had to make sure that all fabrics were lightweight, exceptionally tough and could withstand the long months at extreme temperatures. Zips, buckles, clips and fabrics are all susceptible to breakage and damage. If this happens the mission could be thrown into severe danger with the team at high risk.

Lifeventure designers have provided the Arctic team with a full range of indestructible, lightweight kit including storage systems for food, clothes and equipment. Lifesystems has of course supplied medical equipment but also designed and constructed the harnesses which will pull the sledges to collect the valuable and priceless data.

All reports so far show that the team are doing extremely well and their equipment is more than a match for the harsh conditions.

2022-03-31 Asgard 2009 - First free ascent & Base Jump.

Operating as a climbing and filming team every step of the ascent and life on the wall will be filmed in stunning HD. On reaching the summit the climbers will BASE jump with wing-suits to descend. Once the route has been rehearsed, there will be an attempt to free climb and BASE jump the massive face in just one day, using modern speed techniques perfected in Yosemite. This feat, in such a remote location, is at the very cutting edge of big wall climbing.
The location is on Baffin Island in Arctic Canada in the Auyuittuq National park, the land that never melts. It is unlike anywhere else in the world. Mile high granite walls soar from a glaciated arctic wilderness where polar bears roam in the most remote corner of the earth. For most of the year the fjords of Baffin are filled with frozen sea ice. Between the freeze in Autumn and ice break up in Spring they are completely inaccessible. In winter 24 darkness and extreme cold make it uninhabitable. However for a couple of months in the summer the ice melts, the park is accessible by boat and 24 hour daylight provide a magical climbing arena. Asgard is a grueling 30 mile walk up the Weasel Valley. A difficult hike over boggy tundra, loose scree and dangerous glaciers. Everything has to be carried up the valley in multiple loads totalling hundreds of miles of hard hiking with heavy loads.


Cameraman and Expedition Member Ian Burton will be joining this epic expedition.



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