POLAR explorer Mark Wood has set off on his mission to the North Pole to highlight the effects of climate change.
The Ettington adventurer was set to embark on a 600 mile journey trekking from the Russian Arctic Coast to the geographic North Pole a month ago – but ironically it was climate change which forced him to delay.
Mark, and his two serving soldier teammates Mark Langridge and Paul Vicary, were about to set off in February when it was revealed the Arctic conditions they would face had never been so treacherous as sea ice levels had hit a “record low”. They eventually started on Wednesday.
The North Pole 16 expedition had planned a 600 mile journey from the Russian Arctic Coast to the geographic North Pole – but have now had to revise plans. They now plan to travel 470 nautical miles from the geographic North Pole across the Arctic to the Canadian Arctic Coast.
And the trio will have just 35 days to achieve their goal as the ice will be too thin any later for a helicopter to land to collect them.
The £350,000 mission has been dubbed “a race against time”, and even Government climate change adviser Dr Stephan Harrison had warned how dangerous the team’s “imperative” expedition would be.
Mark has previously scaled the heights of Everest and recently skied to the North and South Poles over six months.
The 38 year-old told The Observer: “The change in world climate has dictated the expedition we are allowed to do without risking the lives of others.”
The expedition’s patron, legendary British explorer Sir Ranulph Fiennes, has already described the expedition as the “toughest journey on the planet” due to the “unforgiving terrain”.
The team will also face temperatures of up to minus 60 and the threat of encountering Polar bears.
Follow the expedition on Twitter @Jupiter_Mark1 to keep updated on this incredible expedition.