16-year-old boy skis to North Pole
Published 11/04/2011 | 14:12
A 16-year-old boy is celebrating after he skied to the North Pole in an expedition which took just four days.
Arctic explorer Parker Liautaud, who is one of the youngest people to ever complete the challenge, arrived at the top of the world one week ahead of schedule.
The environmental campaigner and his teammate Doug Stoup were the first adventurers to return from a successful trip to the geographical North Pole since the Arctic airstrip was completed last week. Their trip had been delayed by three days because of adverse weather conditions at the site of the Borneo Ice Airfield.
The same setback caused Prince Harry's polar expedition with four wounded servicemen to be put on hold. Harry, 26, returned to the UK on Saturday after spending four days in the Arctic wilderness with his Walking With The Wounded team.
Mr Liautaud finished the 69-mile trek, which was expected to last up to two weeks, in 4 days, 2 hours and 47 minutes. The quick time marks his intrepid achievement as one of the fastest Last Degree expeditions to the North Pole in history.
Throughout his journey, the schoolboy undertook scientific research for the European Space Agency and the University of Alberta. He made 100 snow thickness measurements every day in accordance with the Pole Track 2005 updated protocol, which will now be used in long and short-term climate change research.
Mr Liautaud is an ambassador for One Young World, a global forum for young leaders. The organisation is calling for international legislative action to ensure carbon emissions reduction targets are both agreed and met by 2020.
Last year, Mr Liautaud's dream of becoming the youngest person to ski to the North Pole was scuppered by atrocious weather conditions, described by Nasa as "the worst since records began". He had to call off the challenge when he was just 15 miles from the Pole.
The teenager, who is a pupil at Eton College, is now back in Longyearbyen on the Norweigian island of Spitsbergen.