North and South Poles in 2009
On the 14th April, at 7:32pm local time (GMT + 1 hour), I arrived at the True North Pole, having successfully skied the 'last degree' (ie 69 miles / 111kms) in under 5 days vs the scheduled 8-12 days. Apart from the extreme cold (temperatures lower than -60o C), conditions were excellent and we decided to make the most of them in the knowledge that conditions can change dramatically at any given moment and that the vast majority of attempts to reach the North Pole unassisted are unsuccessful. It was a truly amazing experience.
I intend to ski to the South Pole in Antarctica in December of this year, making me one of a very small group of people that will have successfully manhauled (ie pulled all of my provisions on a sled) to both poles in the same calendar year.
Aside from the mental and physical exhaustion from skiing up to 16 hour days pulling a 60kg (130lb) sled in some of the world's most extreme conditions, both of the Polar trips will expose me to a number of risks, including hypothermia and frostbite from the intense cold; snowblindness from the reflected sun; Polar Bears and open, icey waters (leads) in the Arctic; and substantial crevasse fields in Antarctica.
The primary motivation for each trip and the challenge overall is to raise awareness and money for two charities that support illnesses that have profoundly affected members of my immediate family over recent years;- MIND, a leading Mental Health Charity in the UK, and HDA, the Huntington's Disease Association.
My goal is to raise in excess of £100,000 in total for these charities and to date I have received donations and pledges totalling nearly £20,000, for which I, and the charities, are extremely grateful.
Without either understating or underestimating the anticipated hardship and risks that I face during both of my challenges, these pale into relative insignificance when compared with those faced by both sufferers of mental health problems and Huntington's Disease, and their carers, on a daily basis.
How You Can Help
I hope that you will support me in my endeavours and sincerely appreciate any contribution.
Making a donation to my charities is simple and can be done on-line through Just Giving. Alternatively please send a cheque made payable to "Jo Oliver Charity Account" to:
E52 Montevetro, 100 Battersea Church Road, London SW11 3YL
My quest to ski to the South Pole in December is dependent on achieving funding support. If you are interested in becoming involved through sponsorship, please do contact me.
In the meantime, I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone that has supported and encouraged me to date, including my sponsors and team-mates for the North Pole.
Finally, a special thanks to Catherine for her encouragement and support throughout.
Tel: +44 7967 581 782