Spitsbergen Retraced | 2016 Team
Researching, mountaineering and skiing in the High Arctic, following in the footsteps of the groundbreaking 1923 Oxford University Arctic Expedition.
svalbard, expedition, arctic, oxford, university
15393
page,page-id-15393,page-template-default,ajax_fade,page_not_loaded,,vertical_menu_enabled,qode-title-hidden,qode-child-theme-ver-1.0.0,qode-theme-ver-10.0,wpb-js-composer js-comp-ver-4.8.1,vc_responsive

the 2016 team

james2

JAMES LAM

Expedition leader

Expedition role

In the pre-departure phase, I will be working with all team members to make sure that all necessary preparations are made. During the expedition itself, I will be responsible for ensuring that we meet our targets to the best of our ability and that we follow all safety procedures correctly. After the expedition, I will work with other team members to complete our film and to hand in all reports to sponsors in a timely manner.

Experience

Since my first trip to the Alps, aged 15, I have felt a real draw to the mountains. Last summer, I went on an expedition to Kyrgyzstan, making a number of first ascents on 4,000 and 5,000 meter peaks. Over the last few years, I have climbed extensively around the UK, the Picos de Europa, the Dolomites, the Alps and India. I have also trekked in Nepal, Tibet, Iceland and The Pyrenees. I am an ex-President of the Oxford University Mountaineering Club and have recently become a member of the Alpine Club.

Why Svalbard?

All of the big trips that I have been on so far have had very personal aims – to climb a mountain or complete a trek. I feel like this expedition represents more than that with the strong historical links to the 1923 expedition and the chance to make a contribution to the scientific community by collecting new data.

jamie2

JAMIE GARDINER

Expedition Historian and Filmmaker

Expedition role

As an arts student, scientific research is something I heard about once, found all very intimidating, and have since tried to forget. Instead, my research responsibilities lie in constructing an accurate a picture of the 1923 Expedition, from the papers, diaries and maps of the members. On the ice, I’ll be working closely with Liam to film a comparison of our parallel journeys.

Experience

Never far from mountains, in 2015 I travelled to West Greenland; sailing, climbing and trekking. Here I had the rare opportunity to complete a  70-mile race across the tundra with  local Greenlanders, capturing my journey on film. A little closer to home, I’ve climbed and camped in Britain and the Alps, as well as trekked in Albania and Vietnam. The coldest I’ve been to date was on a four-day Scottish canoe-descent, though I suspect this is subject to change…

Why Svalbard?

As Andrew Irvine’s most famous climbing-partner remarked, ‘because it’s there’? I’ve always found wild landscapes innately fascinating.  Reading the diaries from the ‘23 journey, it’s clear the expedition members experienced this fascination too. I’m writing a thesis on the subject of polar exploration and I feel privileged that my research will be a little more hands on than the ordinary.

will2

WILL HARTZ

Expedition Medical Officer

Expedition role

As Medical Officer I am responsible for the team’s welfare on the expedition. Back home I’m coordinating the selecting and sourcing of all the kit, plus ensuring we’re all appropriately trained and ready for the High Arctic.

Experience

I have been on a variety of climbing and ski touring expeditions across Europe, along with various trekking adventures beyond. From the heats of the Wahiba Sands, Oman, to the chill of the Scandinavian backcountry, expeditions have exposed me to a temperature range of some 70°C. However, exploration need not be characterised by numbers – where you spend the night can be just as diverse. Memorable locations include snow holes in the shadow of the Hallingskarvet range, by the campfire in the Kimberley and in a hidmo in Tigray. If I had to choose a favourite adventure, it would have to be Nordic touring on the Hardangervidda or mountaineering in the Mont Blanc massif. I am also an undergraduate Chemist at St Catherine’s College and am honoured to be the recipient of the 2016 Wallace Watson Award.

Why Svalbard?

Nestled high in the Arctic Circle between Greenland, Norway and the North Pole lies the Svalbard Archipelago. The prospect of skiing, mountaineering and researching in this remote High Arctic environment will not only provide a unique opportunity to have a glimpse into the lives of the 1923 Expedition but also into this bleak yet beautiful wilderness.

liam2

LIAM GARRISON

Expedition photographer and filmmaker

Expedition role

Before the expedition, I will be responsible for public relations, managing sponsor relationships and our social media presence. During the expedition, I will be responsible for repeating the photographs taken by the 1923 expedition, co-ordinating the production of the expedition film and engaging our followers on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and via satellite link.

Experience

In 2014 completed a 2300 mile journey by bicycle down the Pacific coast of the USA, a trip that took two months along some of the most spectacular coastline in the world. Carrying all necessary equipment on my bike (including very heavy climbing gear for a section) and cycling nearly 50-100km every day made it one of the most enduring challenges I have undertaken. I have been on rock climbing expeditions to Morocco, Canada and the USA and completed my first marathon in 2015 with a time of 3hrs48min. I love being outside and am my happiest when I am cold, wet and tired after a good day out in the mountains!

Why Svalbard?

Svalbard is so far north that the sun never sets in summer and that there are more polar bears than people! I am very excited to be using state-of-the-art technology like the 1923 expedition did to capture and communicate this part of the Arctic – while they had film cameras, we will have drones and satellite communications. Being the expedition photographer and filmmaker will give me an incredible opportunity to capture on camera the stories of expeditions past and present and share them with our followers.

stephen

STEPHEN PAX LEONARD

Expedition Diarist

Expedition role

I will be keeping a diary of the expedition, and writing the story of our journey with a view to future book publication.

Experience

I am an ethnographer of the Arctic. My doctoral research focused on Iceland and subsequently as a Research Fellow at Trinity Hall, Cambridge and British Academy grantee, I lived for a year in a remote corner of north-west Greenland documenting the language and oral traditions of a group of Inuit hunters who live on the edge of the Greenland Ice Sheet.This project resulted in three book publications and two television documentaries. I have travelled widely in the Scandinavian Arctic and lived for brief periods in northern Sweden, Norway and the Faroe Islands. I am a keen cross-country skier and have competed in long distance ski marathons in both Sweden and Finland. I speak fluent Norwegian.

Why Svalbard?

My interest in the history of exploration in Svalbard was triggered by a 2011 journey where I circumnavigated Spitsbergen in a 1905 Dutch schooner. The historical narrative of these islands reads like a microcosm for the whole Arctic region with its chapters of whaling, trading, multinational colonialism and once again in the 21st century, Arctic geo-politics. There remain many fascinating stories to be told.

giles

GILES COLCLOUGH

Expedition Coordinator and PR Officer

Expedition role

I will be the team’s point of contact and co-ordinator back in Oxford throughout the expedition. I will be able to provide a central point of communication, and release updates on the team’s progress.

Experience

I have organised treks in the Pyrenees, the Alps, Morocco and Borneo over the last 10 years. My love of hiking and mountains has gradually morphed into a broad love of mountaineering, and an involvement with the climbing community. I got to know James, Will and Liam well as the treasurer of the Oxford University Mountaineering Club. I will be sorely jealous of the whole team as the expedition gets underway.