How to build mental strength for tough expeditions

Polar expeditions are boring. You trudge for hours upon end across a featureless icescape only stopping to pitch the shelter, eat and sleep. The routine is repeated with little variation until your destination has been reached. The monotony compounds mounting frustrations from equipment failure, human error or having the distance walked negated by the reverse movement of the ice flow. Then there [...]

Learning the Ropes

I didn't expect Arctic skills training to involve learning to tie knots. I naively thought that knowing how to tie my shoe laces would get me through. But, as I discovered, each knot must be fit for purpose and the double-bow used on my shoes will not prevent a tent blowing away in a gale. [...]

Long is the Arctic night: Polar skills training

You learn a lot about yourself while lying in nothing but your underwear on a bed of ice at -15°C. You learn how much pain you can bear in your hands before heading back to the warm of Longyearbyen's Guesthouse 102, what led you to take part in this madness, pushes you through it and, [...]

Arctic kit list

The Ice Warrior team are preparing for a winter training trip to Svalbard, the archipelago of islands off Norway's northern coast that lie approximately 600 miles from the North Pole. This will be my third trip to the fridge that is Svalbard. After saving hard and re-mortgaging my house I now own the essential kit [...]