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Monday 18 December 2017

Duo chill out in freezer to train for North Pole trek

Emma Jane Hade

Emma Jane Hade

THEY will have to overcome polar bears, moving icecaps and freezing temperatures – but two explorers are hoping to defy the odds to be the first Irish people to reach the North Pole.

Adventurers Mike O'Shea and Dr Clare O'Leary are attempting to be the first people to go to the North Pole in four years, and are set to begin their record-breaking trek at the end of this week.

In preparation for their expedition, the duo spent Tuesday night in a freezer in Dublin testing their equipment and endurance in temperatures as low as -24 degrees.

"We were just checking that our gear is compatible and making sure that everything was working as it should. We have to make sure that everything is 100pc because when we get up there, there is no more equipment to buy," Mr O'Shea explained.

The pair were happy with how the night went, and Mr O'Shea said they are now just anxious to begin.


Their gruelling voyage is set to begin at Cape Discovery, Canada, which in the past has been described as "harder than Everest".

The duo must complete the gruelling 780km journey in just 50 days, knocking 15pc off of the average journey time.

"We are hoping to start the first week of March. At the start, the temperatures are -55 degrees, and the ice is moving all the time because it's on the sea," the 42-year-old said.

The pair will survive on a diet of dried food and will face many dangers throughout the journey.

"There will be polar bears up there, so we have to carry a shotgun with us. The ice then can be either separating and cracking, or pushed together and crushed," he added.

However, the toughest part of the expedition for O'Shea will be the separation from his kids, and not being able to speak to them as often as he would like.

"The hardest part for me is that I can't make contact as regularly as I would like, because we're on satellite phones.

"It's a tough trip. It's basically survival as best you can."

Irish Independent

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