Our Partners

Our initial challenge in terms of getting this unique project off the ground was to find the right partners with whom to work on the design, testing and proving of the many innovations needed to keep Karen alive in such conditions. Hence, our thanks go out in particular to those of you who have been involved in the long-haul over the past two years, re-sewing, re-sawing and re-stitching numerous times....

Our next challenge was to raise the funds necessary to be able to literally get the team and the project 'off the ground'. Money was needed to book the four flights and charter helicopter en route, to buy the large items of Arctic-specific kit needed, to send freight out, confirm insurance and numerous other vastly expensive logistical issues involved in Polar Journeys. A considerable number of these expenses have now been covered by our partners. More are still on our credit cards! For those of you who have come on board either as major sponsors, charity donors or night camp owners, again...many many thanks. Your commitment is also crucial to the final success of this venture. The best technology innovations in the world would never see the light of day if it were not for people who believed in them enough to back their development and promotion financially.

Finally, there are six of us on the project; five of whom will be pulling more weight and doing more work than would be the case in a non-inclusive expedition of this nature. Hence, for those of you who have recognized that we, too, also need the optimal kit and clothing in order to be able to survive the conditions, many thanks! Knowing that we have the best gear and clothing possible means that we can concentrate more of our efforts on both Karen and the communication of the expedition message.

Sponsorship notes

For a title sponsor we sought an organisation that not only recognized no limits to human potential but also one that actively works towards breaking down the physical and mental barriers that limit growth. However, even small sums really helped. Each team member, for instance, was tasked with raising 12 x 50 pounds from family, friends and local businesses, since collectively even these small sums would cover the costs of 6 complete over-night camps on the ice! Check out our 'getting involved' page for more details. Please don’t hesitate to contact us if you are interested in getting involved in any way, either with the expedition, the lecture tour or the media outlets. Some companies chose to effectively sponsor the lecture tour rather than the expedition since in that way they could get their logos or banners on our slide shows whilst utilising a different marketing budget.

Primary Sponsors


eVENT is an amazing family of fabrics - the smartest choice for athletes and adventurers needing both functionality and comfort in the world's harshest conditions. In comparison to other waterproof and 'breathable' fabric options on the market, eVENT fabrics not only keep you dry from the outside, but, by allowing perspiration to dissipate and vent without saturating the inside of the fabric, they allow you to stay dry without feeling clammy on the inside too! In practicality, this seemingly small differentiation between eVENT and other waterproofs, is actually enormous! For this reason, Anna and Pasi have been using eVENT clothing whenever possible during the last few years when adventure racing (since that means that they can then go through an entire expedition length adventure race without having to change waterproofs half-way through!) and the rest of the team were quickly convinced that it also the best option on the market for Greenland. Luckily, eVENT were as excited by our project as we are by their waterproof fabric, and they lost no time agreeing to get involved.

Nike ACG

Nike ACG have been supporting Anna and Pasi in the Adventure Racing team for the past two years and in return have been benefiting from their product and clothing design expertise. The European GM, Nigel Griffiths, is a keen skier himself and, ever since hearing about the project whilst heli-skiing with the pair through their company in the Finnish Arctic, he promised to get involved in a significant way. ACG are not only providing kit and clothing, but they are also helping the group to actually get onto the icecap by providing a significant financial contribution.

Winston Churchill Memorial Trust

The has been Winston Churchill Memorial Trust shaping the world of exploration in the UK, through the award of highly prestigious travelling fellowships for many years. It is a living tribute to Sir Winston, whose example is the inspiration. Anna McCormack, as expedition leader, was awarded a 2006 Travel Fellowship from the Memorial Trust, in support of this entire venture.

Anna McCormack, as expedition leader was awarded a 2006 Travel Fellowship from the Memorial Trust. When the Trust came on board as the expedition's first major partner, it was a turning point in the planning. From then on, Anna and Karen realised that they had to pull out all stops to make the expedition happen, whether or not they managed to raise the total amount of capital needed. We didn't want to let them down!

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Night Camp Partners

Wildcat One offered to sponsor Camp One of 'By Hands and Feet Across Greenland' after hearing Karen speak at an Institute of Directors event. Pat Tomlin, Wildcat One director, said: 'I hadn't heard of Karen before and didn't know what she was doing, but when she spoke, what struck me was her real courage and refusal to let the stuff that life can throw at you get in the way. She's very committed and if she wants to do something, she will go out and do it. I just thought that made her a tremendous role model.'

Set up in 1997, Wildcat One Ltd is an Edinburgh-based troubleshooting consultancy specialising in advising blue-chip organisations on critical change management issues such as the integration of mergers and acquisitions and on people, organisational and leadership development. The company has advised clients, including Royal Bank of Scotland, Cairn Energy, the Scottish Executive and France Telecom, on issues including M&A integration, downsizing, restructuring, pay policy, benchmarking management development and coaching and organisational problem solving.

Zestco have sponsored the 'final camp' on the ice. Zestco is an innovative young company inspiring tomorrow's TODAY. They explore new frontiers in the expansion of human capabilities through programmes, products, and services for the environment in business and personal development. They were delighted to hear about our project and to contribute to moving forward the boundaries of exploration.

Patricia McCormack, Anna's Mother, has sponsored one of our night camps. Not only has she, at 78, contributed way more than she should have done, financially, to the success of our venture but she has also been acting for over a year now as our unofficial PA, book keeper and fundraiser and supporter. Her energy and enthusiasm and her determination to take on new technological challenges at a relatively advanced age are totally in line with the whole philosophy of our project and we are proud that she wants to be so involved.

Rab: All of the team's eVENT outer clothing is being provided by Rab since they are the premier brand making eVENT based products for extreme mountain and Arctic Conditions. From gloves and hats to mountain shelters Outdoor Designs take an innovative approach with the use of the latest technical fabrics and ground-breaking designs, field tested by leading mountaineers and explorers in the world's most extreme environments. Anna and Pasi have been testing eVENT products from Rab and Outdoor Designs for a number of years now and are confident that these are the best possible choices available for this project.

Vandernet, are one of Finland's main outdoor distrubuters, representing brands like Petzl Charlet, Beal ropes, Millet clothing, Isosteel thermos bottles, Barska binoculars, Silva and Ozone kites. Vandernet has been a long-time supporter of Pasi Ikonen and the events he has organised, including the Lapin Kulta Challenge and Lapin Kulta Freeride camp. They are well known for associating only with professionally run, safe ventures and hence we were very proud when they decided that they also wanted to get involved in this ground-breaking project.

The glacier gear, ropes and torches they have provided for the whole team through Petzl Charlet, and Beal will make all the difference when it comes to crossing the open crevasses and glacial rivers towards the end of our journey. The Silva wind measurement guage will be just one of the tools we will use in our daily environmental readings for the scientific community and there is no better combination of batteries and lights for cold conditions than energizer lithium batteries and petzl belt headtorches.

Buff, have been supporting Anna and Pasi in AR for a number of years, and in 2005, came on board as the major partner in Anna's all-female UK adventure racing team (Team Buff Endure). Luckily, when they came on board with the Greenland project, they didn't ask us, for once, to run around looking like bumble bees! We are happy, of course, to use their inconic headwear - simplistic Buffs that can serve as a beanie, headband, neck gaiter, balaclava, pirate-style cap, hairband, helmet liner, scarf, sun, wind or dust screen, bandana or wristband. We are hoping that they will be protecting us from the sun rather than the wind and snow, whilst in Greenland, but you never know! Flexibility and versatility is key in outdoor clothing!

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Charitable Donations from

Barclays Bank, Cannock, were the first 'local' business to come on board with this project. They were approached by Patricia McCormack (who has definitely kissed the blarney stone a few too many times) and they got so excited by the concept that they arranged a large balloon race from Cannock Town Centre. The furthest traveling balloon reached France and Barclays doubled the money they had raised through the event.

HSBCwere approached shortly afterwards and asked to also contribute to Anna's attempt to raise the money needed for one overnight camp through local Staffordshire or Derbyshire donations.

Garmin,is a leader in Global Positioning System (GPS) technology and an innovator in consumer electronics. We serve both the aviation and consumer markets. Products are used in flying, boating, driving, hiking, and many other activities.

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Adaptive Technology partners

Equip: Outdoor Designs and Rab: Rab designs clothing for the most extreme conditions in the world for mountaineers operating in all weathers, using durable fabrics and construction. For the past two years, Rab's design team have been working with Anna and Pasi on their fast and light range used by adventure racers. When this project came into fruition, therefore, the designers, cutters and sewers all came together to donate expertise and time in the development of a specialized clothing system to keep Karen's feet, legs and bottom warm during the crossing.

Hilleberg, the Tentmaker is a family-owned company with over 30 years of experience in manufacturing lightweight, four-season tents of the highest quality. Hilleberg tents have already been to the Himalayas, the South Pole, the North Pole and across Greenland. Hence, they were an obvious choice for our inclusive crossing! However, Hilleberg went further. After listening to an explanation of Karen's toileting needs, they adapted one of their standard designs by inserting a flap into the tent floor, thus reducing the risk of Karen freezing her bottom out on the Icecap!

Mountain Equipment, makes functional, comfortable, protective clothing systems that work as hard as you do, so you can simply enjoy the buzz of the sport you love. One of ME's chief designers, Frank Merks, has been involved since the beginning of this project and has combined some of the best of today's modern fabrics in the design of a specialist sleeping bag; dungaree system designed to keep Karen warm, comfortable and protected no matter the weather.

Equal Adventure Developers, is committed to removing barriers faced by disabled people when seeking full and meaningful participation in outdoor activities and active lifestyles. EAD offers a range of people-centred multi-disciplinary, research, design development, training and information initiatives to ensure that individuals organizations are able to overcome barriers. EAD devised a unique toilet for Karen to use inside a Hilleberg tent during her traverse of the Icecap.

Novartis, is a world leader in the research and development of products to protect and improve health and well- being. They have provided funds to help with the development of Karen's adaptive skiing equipment.

Berghaus Heated Clothing: Berghaus work with some of the world's leading outdoor activists, from mountaineers, climbers and walkers through to mountain bikers and trail runners to provide some of the best outdoor clothing in the world. They have recently been working on heated fabric technologies and provided Karen with both vests and gloves to aid in training through the long winter months. Berghaus also provided their extremely popular Extreme Yeti Gaiters for the team; their the final protective layer against the penetrating cold.

T-Tossu Ky, is a small specialist company in Roveniemi, Finland that designs and makes clothing solutions to keep your feet warm in the most extreme conditions. The head of T-Tossu is an ex ski racer who is now owner, designer and sewer in one. He initially designed gaiters to keep his own feet warm but developed such a good reputation that he soon became the specialist point person for Arctic Expeditions throughout Scandinavia. For this journey he has built a specialist material into an overboot designed to keep even Karen's feet warm!

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Flight & Shipping Partners

Air Greenland, is Greenland's national air company. They have been extremely helpful in providing free flights on some of our legs and in accommodating our requests for freight and excess baggage, ensuring that both we and our kit get through to Tasiilaq (our starting point for our charter onto the ice cap) at the same time. (This is actually no easy matter!). They have also kindly agreed to transport both Karen's wheelchair and a small amount of personal team kit to the far side to await our descent. (We think that the primary incentive, here, may, however, have been to spare the noses of other passengers!)

Air Greenland Charter Flights, The charter arm of Air Greenland and their Bell 212 Helicopter stationed in Tasiilaq is also pretty central to our plans. Not only is it the aircraft for the last commercial leg of our travel towards the icecap but it is also the craft that will be used to lift us onto the icecap and the one that will rescue us, should anything go wrong. Not surprisingly, therefore, we are eternally grateful that the charter arm is fully behind our project. The Bell 212 can hold passengers and kit to a maximum of 1000kg so in order to avoid two journeys to the icecap, some of the team may need to be put on diets to reduce the c. 11kg excess we have currently estimated so far!

Icelandair, is one of Europe's most progressive and dynamic airlines with over 65 years' aviation experience, provide daily and regular scheduled services to Europe and North America. They have provided a flexible service for the team from Europe to Iceland on the first leg of the journey including waiving costs for our excess baggage which will be several kilos more than your standard traveler's.

Air Iceland: Once we arrive in Iceland through Icelandair, we then have to transfer to Air Iceland for the first leg of the journey towards Greenland. The craft they use for this flight is so small that they often have to weigh each passenger as well as their baggage. They have promised that by hook or by crook they will figure out a way to get all of our gear onto the plane with us, without breaking our bank balance!

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Key Product Supporters

Ozone Kites(via Vandernet): Ozone is a company made up of free-flying professionals; from paragliding, wind surfing and snowboarding. All have a common interest in fast exciting sports that let you know you are alive and kicking. With the help of Ozone kites we will be able to take advantage of the wind and cover much greater distances than are possible under a normal day's skiing. This may prove crucial in our crossing, not only as a means of assisting with the heavy loads and with facilitating movement for Karen but also in facilitating the photography and film aspects which are central to the whole project.

Smartwool, was born with comfortable performance in mind for keeping feet comfortable on the slopes of New England. Smartwool helps you stay comfortable for extended periods of time in mixed weather conditions. Instead of getting clammy Smartwool stays dry, soft and comfortable. Keeping your feet warm while skiing is fundamental to keeping the rest of your body warm, and therefore Smartwool products are a natural choice for Greenland.

Petzl Charlet (via Vandernet): Petzl design gear and techniques for alpinism, rock climbing, ice climbing, big wall, canyoning, caving, via ferrata... and also headlamps: dive into the Hands Free Lighting's world. They are the inventor of the headlamp.

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Other Product Supporters

Kimmlite / OMM: Mike Parsons is the face of OMM (formerly Kimmlite) and an original owner of Karrimor. He started OMM when he decided to concentrate on light and fast products. In keeping with his association with both KIMM events, adventure racing and fast, lightweight alpine mountaineering, he has been designing an innovative (and durable!) range of backpacks, clothing and sleeping systems for the last three years. A personal friend, Mike has long been supporting us in this venture.

Energizer, are a well known brand of batteries for electrical gadgets. However, the extremely low temperatures we will experience place higher demands on the battery quality and effective lifetime. Therefore the energizer Lithium batteries which are especially suitable for cold temperatures and providing a considerably longer life than standard alkaline batteries are essential for our electrical devices such as headtorches, GPS units and the like.

Carphone Warehouse: The schools project initiated in association with this venture is dependent upon our ability to communicate directly from the icecap and to send images and text back home. Carphone warehouse were approached and asked to help us with the technology needed to make this happen and, although they said that what we ideally want is about two years away from becoming a reality, they were still able to help with some immediate fixes that should, hopefully, make the communications system we have cobbled together work!

Suunto: Suunto Finland have been supporting Anna and Pasi for years so we didn't have to look far to find the best outdoor sports computers and compasses on the market.

Exel, has been supporting Pasi in Finland for years. This walking pole company almost single handedly started the extremely popular craze now known as Nordic walking and they also provide some of the most reliable skiing poles on the market today.

Scott, have provided some extremely scary looking goggles, complete with full-on face masks for when the weather really turns bad.

AllAboutHosting and Ben Saunders All About Hosting is a UK based internet services company offering premium hosting solutions for any circumstances. From personal users to professional business consumers we maintain a consistent, top quality service focusing on putting the customer first. We approached AllAboutHosting when Andy realized that he couldn't put up a website for the team on time. However, Ben Saunders somehow also got himself roped in to helping with its design and development along the way!

The North Face, were approached once nicely inebriated at the after-show party of the NEC Outdoor Show and very kindly offered both a luxury sleeping bag and an extra warm down jacket to add to the mix.

BSES Expeditions: Our expedition journeys always have a starting point. For Anna, it was with BSES Expeditions in the Himalayas, and for Karen, with Yorshire Schools Exploring Society in China. The rest, as they say, is history. Apart from that Anna went on to sit on both the expedition , scientific and youth development committee for BSES as well as leading expeditions for them and sitting on their Council as a Director. When she approached them this year for help with the expedition communications, they were quick to jump into the gap and she bemusedly left the RGS-IBG armed with Solar panels, strange cables and a lot of helpful advice!

MSR: Viave Oy are a Finnish distributing company who not only feature MSR in their range, but also ME,. OR, DMM, Thermarest and many of the other brands that are essential to outdoor life. We are very grateful for their generous support.

Mannatech, were one of the first companies to come on board and offer support. In their case through the provision of ever-vital training supplements and energy drinks for athletes.

Therm-a-rest:Thermarest Ridgerests are superlight for situations in which every ounce counts! We are just hoping that they are not so light that they blow away in a careless moment, or all our well-intentioned plans for super-comfortable nights of sleep would go by the wayside!

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Trade Price Kit / Loan Kit / Single Test product Support

Adventure Food, is an instant freeze-dried expedition food with many exciting, tasty menus from breakfast through to dinner. They will provide our staple diet during the expedition. The meals are quickly prepared by simply adding boiling water and simmering for a couple of minutes before they're ready to eat.

Atomic, is known for building the most technologically advanced ski equipment on the planet. The spirit of Atomic can be found on summits and slopes around the world, wherever people ski.

Paramo, Columbia and Sorel, each provided Karen with a variety of their well known products to see if they could be of use on the Icecap.

Power Breathe: Anna approached Powerbreathe with less than two weeks to go before the start of the long journey, worried that whilst the boys had been blithely training away, she had been stuck in front of the computer raising funds and sorting kit and hadn't had any time at all in which to train. Asthmatics also tend to suffer more in the cold than people with healthy lungs so she figured that was an additional reason to see whether a powerbreathe device could help her during her last couple of weeks in front of the computer.

Mountain Hardwear, Pete Rostrum from Mountain Hardwear is an AR buddy of Anna and Pasi's. When he heard that Anna was looking for a left hand zip sleeping bag as a safety back up, should Karen need someone to zip into the same bag as her, he quickly stepped into the breach. The fact that Mountain Hardwear's Ghost bag happened to come out as the warmest option on the market in a recent Retki magazine sleeping bag test is an added bonus!

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Advice From:

Paul Walker from Tangent Expeditions, the premier Expedition Organising Company operating in Greenland, has been invaluable in terms of the support and advice that he has provided throughout this long process.

Shane Winsor, from the EAC of the RGS-IBG, continues to be a source of inspiration and advice for expeditioners across the globe. In addition, days of trawling through her collection of hundreds of past expedition reports gave us our initial confidence that this was a project we could execute safely and effectively.

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Expedition Approval / Grants From:

Danish Polar Centre Approval: (DPC # 532-579)

Winston Churchill Memorial Trust Scholarship

Alpine Ski Club, Eagle Ski Club, Royal Scottish Geographical Society

Gino Watkins Memorial Fund, Scott Polar Research Institute

The Scott Polar Research Institute

Royal Scottish Geographical Society

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