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Catlin Arctic Team in Peril?
By Harold Ambler

9 Apr 09 - The three-person team of British explorers on the Arctic ice cap may or may not be in danger, depending upon which of the team’s representatives back at headquarters in London is doing the talking.

Martin Hartley, Pen Hadow, and Ann Daniels have been on a “scientific” mission to measure sea ice thickness that is routinely measured by satellite and buoys.

Unfortunately, just about all of their equipment failed as soon as the team got onto the ice, due to what the BBC has reported as unexpected wind chill values as low as minus 70 degrees Celsius.

On the health front, according to Catlin Arctic Survey medical adviser Doctor Martin Rhodes, the team are battling chronic hypothermia. Additionally, Martin Hartley has frostbite on one foot, photographs of which are on the mission website, with a disclaimer for the faint of heart.

On the other hand, according to Catlin communications director Rod Macrae, all is well. “They’re fine,” he said, in a phone interview Thursday. “There is no hypothermia.”

Macrae maintained that people with agendas that he didn’t even want to speculate about were looking to criticize the team, when, actually everything is going very well indeed. “Pen [the team leader] has said, ‘Were stuck in the tent, and we’re unable to take any measurements.’ And people have rushed to all sorts of hasty conclusions about their situation being dire or something.”

As of the end of the day on Thursday, which was a rest day, the team had progressed 245 kilometers. Their goal is to take ice measurements all the way to the north pole, but with only 40 days left before they will be removed from the ice, their pace will have to quicken in order for them to attain their goal. They have 678 kilometers still to travel.

When informed later in the day that the team’s own medical adviser had diagnosed them, albeit remotely, with chronic hypothermia, Macrae responded with an e-mail: “What has been said and is, as you I am sure aware pretty obvious, they are constantly battling hypothermia.”

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Thanks to Harold Ambler for this link





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