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Last Updated: Wednesday, 29 March 2006, 06:21 GMT 07:21 UK
Arctic adventure for expedition
Dave Hughes (Image: Ice Warrior expedition)
Dave Hughes will lead the team (Image: Ice Warrior expedition)
A explorer from Pembrokeshire is taking part in an expedition to visit all four north poles in the Arctic in one season.

Dave Hughes from St Davids has spent the last year training a 20-strong team of volunteers.

He intends to lead them to the Geomagnetic Pole while the expedition's leader walks on his own to the North Pole, the Magnetic and Arctic Poles.

Mr Hughes, 38, and his team members will set out on Wednesday.

If they succeed it will be the first time one team has reached all four north poles in one season.

Mr Hughes is well aware of the conditions in the Arctic.

"You will lose sensitivity in your fingertips even with very good gloves - it's like having slight pins and needles in your fingertips permanently," said the 38-year-old management trainer.


He expects the weather to be around minus 30 to 35 and said "ironically it's the heat that will kill you.

"It's the sweat you generate and if you can't get rid of that it will freeze and cause hypothermia."

Mr Hughes went to the to geomagnetic pole two years ago but to a different location.

In addition to the down jacket, boots, maps, thermals and "all the usual things you have for a day in the hills in the UK" Mr Hughes admitted some of the volunteers would be taking a "few luxuries".

These would include "log book to jot thoughts down and a few sweets stashed away as it will be Easter when we're on the ice."

Dave Hughes (front) and a colleague pulling sledges (Image: Ice Warrior expedition)
Geographic - where the Earth's axis of rotation meets the surface; also known as 'True North'
Geomagnetic - point where the Earth's magnetic dipole meets the surface
Magnetic - where geomagnetic field lines point vertically into the ground
Arctic - farthest point from any coastline; also called the 'Northern Pole of Inaccessibility'

In addition to the six-week expedition the team will be carrying out research for the University of Hull looking at the effects of stress in extreme climates and carrying out work for Environment Canada, measuring snow thickness.

In preparation Mr Hughes has spent the year hill walking, dragging weights and swimming.

"The four poles are basically the geographic pole or the north pole as people see it," he said.

"The magnetic pole which is where your compass points to, the Arctic pole or the pole of relative inaccessibility which is the mathematical centre of the Arctic ocean and as far away from man as you can physically be.

"Then you have the geomagnetic Pole which in essence is the pole which the northern lights spin around."

The journey will be in three parts, with a solo journey taken by Ice Warrior founder and team Leader Jim McNeill who has set out to reach the Magnetic Pole first.

He will then attempt to reach the Arctic Pole, the Geographic North Pole, a further 275 miles away - a total of 995 miles.

While Mr McNeill is doing this members of the inexperienced Arctic team who have undergone 14 months of intensive polar training will take routes covering over 250 miles of mixed terrain to the Geomagnetic Pole, situated on Ellesmere Island.

If all three journeys are successful, the Ice Warrior project will claim a world first of reaching four poles in one season.

Map showing the Ice Warrior expedition routes (BBC)

Diary: Ice Warrior Arctic expedition
22 Mar 06 |  Science/Nature
Explorer set for historic Arctic adventure
20 Feb 06 |  Science/Nature

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