Too much ice for solo North Pole trek

Too cold? Durham graduate Tim Williamson has had to postpone his record-breaking North Pole expedition because it’s not cold enough!

Too cold? Durham graduate Tim Williamson has had to postpone his record-breaking North Pole expedition because it’s not cold enough! 

Tim, now a lab technician at Newcastle University, plans to become the first person to walk, without skis, to and from the top of the world unsupported.

The expedition will start in Resolute Bay in Canada and will involve travelling 2,200 miles over 100 days, towing a 120kg sled through temperatures of -60°C.

The Durham biomedical science graduate, who was a member of John Snow, planned to set off on Sunday 13th January, but this was called off due to record warm temperatures at the North Pole.

Despite icy conditions here in Britain, it is a lack of ice in the Arctic that led experts to advise the explorer against the journey.

He said: “There have been a few polar expeditions that have been cancelled outright.

“It’s been something I’ve been thinking about for three years now. It might take a whole but we’ll get there.

“They say the most difficult bit is planning and organising it and that’s what it feels like at the moment.”

The solo trip has been described as “the last great challenge left to man” and is one of the few large expeditions on Earth that has yet to be completed – a virtually impossible task for even the most experienced of Arctic explorers.

But the British ultrarunner is determined that the agility and speed of an endurance athlete is what is required for the challenge.

“The majority fail because they aren’t built for walking long distances,” said Tim.

“This is the thing I’m especially built for. The North Pole holds a great amount of wonder to me, and as an ultrarunner, it is the ultimate challenge.”

The 25-year-old hopes to draw on his experience in other endurance challenges, such as last year’s Yukon Ultra, where he ran 314 miles across the Arctic in seven days while dragging a heavy sledge.

And he has certainly not given up yet. Tim is now spending the first four months of this year training in Iceland, trying to break the 1,000-mile barrier for a solo unassisted trek.

“The purpose of this trip is to get a sense of the isolation and test some bits of kit.

“I’ll be over the moon if I manage 1,000 miles since I’m carrying everything in a backpack.”

Tim’s challenge is being supported by Chillisauce, a travel service that provides adventure packages especially for stag and hen parties.

Chillisauce director Adrian Simpson said, “We are disappointed that the expedition has not gone ahead, but Tim’s safety and wellbeing has remained paramount in the planning and execution of this challenge.

“With Tim it’s always going to be a question of ‘when, not if’ he will triumph at the Pole.”

No date has currently been set for the expedition.

Find out more on the Chillisauce website and follow Tim’s progress on Twitter.