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EDITIONS
Thursday, 23 May, 2002, 16:17 GMT 17:17 UK
Race against time for Polar women
Team members (l-r) Pom Oliver, Ann Daniels and Caroline Hamilton
Pom, Ann and Caroline (l-r) before the expedition
Melting Arctic ice has prompted a desperate race against time for two women trying to set a Polar trekking record.

Ann Daniels, 37, from Whimple, Devon, and Caroline Hamilton, 35, from central London, have just two weeks to complete the final 96 miles of their trek, pulling 250lb (113kg) of equipment.

They are aiming to become the first women to trek all the way to both Poles, after conquering the South Pole in January 2000.

A third member of their team, 50-year-old Pom Oliver, was forced to quit on day 47 of the expedition with badly frostbitten feet.


I am not frightened we will not make it - we can do it barring any mishaps

Ann Daniels
The remaining two adventurers, who are being sponsored by M&G Investment, are now 321 miles and 70 days into their 417-mile trek.

Speaking from their tent on the constantly moving icecap, the women said the weather was "balmy" compared with the conditions when they first arrived.

When the expedition set off from northern Canada's Ward Hunt Island, daily temperatures were -50C or colder with windchill. Now they have warmed up to -18C.

Ms Hamilton, a film financier, said: "We are aware there is much more open water now, and more obstacles to go round."

Both women have fallen through the ice into freezing water, getting their clothes wet.

Ms Daniels, a mother of triplets, said they were aware that the ice becomes thinner and more fragmented in late May or early June.

Aircraft fears

The ice will also become softer, making it more difficult to pull the sledges.

She said: "We are aware of the time situation, and it reflects on everything we do.

"We are walking longer days than previously because we know we have got to get there. I am not frightened we will not make it - we can do it barring any mishaps."

One of the main deciding factors for their time on the ice is making sure there is a large enough area for an aircraft to land and take them off.

On Monday, 34-year-old Briton Davie Mill, who was bidding to make the first solo unaided trek to the North Pole, was airlifted off after completing half his 376-mile trip because of the melting ice.


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See also:

07 Apr 02 | England
11 Mar 02 | England
01 Mar 02 | England
11 Jan 02 | England
06 May 01 | UK
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