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Last Updated: Friday, 1 October, 2004, 18:19 GMT 19:19 UK
Briton 'to solve polar mystery'
Tom Avery
Tom Avery is retracing the steps of Robert Peary
A Briton is leading a trek to the North Pole to solve what he calls "the greatest polar mystery of all time".

Tom Avery, 28, of Ticehurst, East Sussex, is retracing the steps of Robert Peary who planted the US flag at the North Pole in April 1909.

Peary claimed to have reached the pole in 38 days - a claim which has been questioned over the years.

Mr Avery said he was convinced by the claim and that Peary was a "superhuman, brilliant man".

The four-strong expedition team will travel in a similar style to 54-year-old Peary.

With favourable weather and ice conditions, there is no reason why we cannot match his record
Tom Avery

Peary's expedition team started with 23 men, 133 dogs and 19 sleds, but that team dwindled to just five companions when he reached the pole.

A rival US explorer later claimed he had reached the pole first, that Peary's navigation technique was unconventional, and that his speed was remarkable.

Some doubt remained even after Peary was backed by the National Geographic Society and US Congress.

Mr Avery, a member of a team which was fastest to the South Pole in 2002 and the youngest Briton to reach the South Pole on foot, is aiming to recreate the trek and match the 38-day record.

"With favourable weather and ice conditions, there is no reason why we cannot match his record," he said.

With him on the expedition will be South African-born Andrew Gerber, US polar explorer Matty McNair, and adventurer George Wells, a property developer from Suffolk.

The team are due to set off from Canada in March.

Men in tough race to North Pole
27 Sep 04  |  Hereford/Worcs
North Pole 'was once subtropical'
07 Sep 04  |  Science/Nature
Choice that ended my polar dream
05 May 04  |  Oxfordshire

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