Sonia Evans of Bedford Borough has been chosen by world-renowned explorer Jim McNeill to join an expedition to be the first in history to reach the North Pole of Inaccessibility.
The 20-year-old, from Sharnbrook and a student at Plymouth University, has her dream of becoming a polar explorer now coming true as she undergoes a comprehensive and intensive training programme.
This will then see her undertake one of four 20-day legs, pushing the route across the Arctic Ocean to the Pole of Inaccessibility.
Defined as the furthest point from earth on the Arctic Ocean, the North Pole of Inaccessibility remains the last truly significant place in the Polar Regions, yet to be reached by humanity.
It is over 270 miles further than the geographic North Pole and the entire trip will be nearly 800 miles from the northern shores of Canada.
The four north poles
- Geographic North Pole (90°N): Fixed location on the surface of the Arctic Ocean where the lines of longitude meet and at the top of the Earth’s axis of rotation. First seen in 1926 from the airship Norge.
- Magnetic North Pole (86.50° N and 164.04° E): Wandering place at 90 degrees to the Earth’s surface, from which the magnetic lines of force emerge. The north end of a compass needle points towards this pole, it moves at a current rate of 60 km each year.
- Geomagnetic North Poles (80.7°N, 71.7°W): The point where the geomagnetic field is closest to true north and the northern end of the geomagnetic field that surrounds the Earth in space as the magnetosphere. The Northern Lights occur around this pole.
- North Pole of Inaccessibility (85.8°N, 176.15°E): the farthest point from any coast or the very center of the Arctic Ocean. Created by Sir Hubert Wilkins by air in 1927 and recently repositioned by Jim McNeill and NSIDC scientists using satellite technology.
The expedition isn’t just a record-breaking adventure, as Sonia and the team will collect “crucial datasets” to monitor climate change.
This will help define the state of the ocean for scientists at the NASA-funded National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) led by Nobel Prize-winning scientist Walt Meier.
This data, along with meteorological data, pollution measurements, and counts of polar bears that may encounter it, will provide the reality of climate change and make the whole effort meaningful and worthwhile.
“As a student looking to pursue a career in polar research, the Ice Warrior Expedition is an incredible opportunity that I feel privileged to be part of,” said Sonia Evans.
“I’m super excited to contribute to the science of global change, to experience arctic conditions, and to deal with the mental and physical challenges that will come with it.”
Explorer, Expedition Leader and Ice Warrior Founder Jim McNeill added, “I am thrilled to have Sonia on the Expedition Team and look forward to training her in all aspects that will make her a competent polar traveler.
Sonia recently trained on Dartmoor helping with team building, as well as learning navigation, outdoor first aid, firearms, pulley systems and knots.
The training will continue in January in Longyearbyen in the Norwegian archipelago of Svalbard before the departure of the expedition from Canada in February.
The Bedford Independent will report on Sonia and the Ice Warrior expedition, but you can also follow her progress yourself on Instagram.