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The Team:


Karen  |   Anna  |   Pasi  |   Andy  |   Harvey  |   Jacek

The Team: An Overview

The complete expedition team has come together over the last two years around a core nucleus of Karen, Anna and Pasi. Team expertise is now both extensive and varied. The combination of media savvy, expedition know-how and total commitment to the project of team members means that they are ideally suited to succeeding in this ground-breaking venture.

All have completed numerous expeditions worldwide. Two of the team (Pasi and Harvey) live part-time in the Arctic and are Arctic Survival experts. Three of the team (Andy, Anna and Karen) are mountaineers by background and therefore well used to glaciated / ice environments. Four of the team (Pasi, Andy, Anna and Karen) have been designing outdoor equipment for the last five years.

Each member of the team has extensive marketing and PR experience and four are experienced journalists. Andy is the main gear consultant for Climb, Pasi is one of the main gear editors for Retki, Anna runs an adventure racing site for Planetfear and Karen has written many publications and is working on her first book. Not surprisingly, written press coverage will be extensive.

Anna, Pasi and Andy have both had a great deal of TV experience and the expedition film has already been commissioned by a number of channels and outlets internationally. Radio broadcasts have also been commissioned.

Andy and Pasi are professional photographers and three of the team (Andy, Karen and Anna) are increasingly sought after on the management training and corporate / motivational speaking circuit. This project will result in a unique opportunity to hear these varied characters speaking together as they continue to raise funds, post expedition to facilitate ongoing inclusive wilderness access.

Each member of the team is dynamic, articulate and inspirational. Karen just happens to also be paralysed from the chest down.

Karen Darke

Karen Darke

Karen was a keen runner and mountaineer before becoming paralysed in a rockclimbing accident. Since then, she has been instrumental in breaking down the barriers between disabled people and the outdoors.

Over the years, she has kayaked Alaska’s inner passage and hand-cycled both down the length of Japan (a prestigious Winston Churchill Fellowship) and across the Tien Shan. This journey into the Arctic Wilderness is her most ambitious project to date. It will be the ultimate test of willpower and man’s ingenuity.

She now works as a performance coach, inspirational speaker and HR consultant. In her spare time she assists her husband, Suresh Paul, an award-winning designer and researcher based at Glenmore Lodge National Mountain Centre. Basing his work on the principle of ’people-led design, design-led social change’, the enabling products

Suresh designs are thoroughly tested by disabled athletes through the six major inclusive expeditions he and Karen have run in the last seven years.

You can read about Karen's latest adventures on Karen's blog.

Anna McCormack

Anna McCormack

Anna’s professional life often takes her overseas. She alternates between life as a professional athlete and team manager, life working on international development and environmental projects and life as a journalist, personal development coach & management consultant.

When racing, she supplements her income through motivational speaking and film making whilst also managing both the international squad of elite athletes (in 2005, racing as team Nike ACG Endure) and an all-female developmental squad (Team Buff Endure) in the UK.

Over the years, Anna has worked for organisations as varied as DFID, the RGS-IBG, the World Bank and the BBC. As well as filming this venture, Anna will be helping Karen with the BBC radio 4 documentary that has been commissioned.

Send Anna an e-mail

Pasi Ikonen

Pasi Ikonen

Pasi pretty much grew up on cross country skis. He has taken part in numerous skimountaineering / ski marathon races and has won 3 arctic expedition-length adventure races. An ex-member of Finland’s special forces and a professional photographer, his expedition roles are easily defined. He will doubtless be doing a lot of load bearing on the expedition! Pasi runs Lapland’s Centre for Arctic & Polar Exploration (CAPE), delivering extreme wilderness adventures and survival, personal and corporate development courses. He is also a director of heli-ski.fi; the Northern-most heli-ski operation in the world.

Anna and Pasi are two of the world’s top endurance athletes. They race, often together, across many disciplines and they have many podium finishes in the worlds hardest adventure races to their names (e.g. the Expedition Racing League World Cup, which their team, eVENT Endure, won in 2004.

Andy Kirkpatrick

Andy Kirkpatrick

Andy’s name in mountaineering circles is synonymous with both humour and honesty and with ’the long, the cold and the difficult’. One of the UK’s top climbers, he is also one of the most sought-after speakers on the international circuit, a well known journalist and an award-winning film maker. His stories from more than 10 ascents of El Capitan and numerous winter expeditions in the Alp and Patagonia, have become some of the classic modern tales of our time. Andy’s expedition roles include PR, gear consultancy, film-making and story-telling.

You can read all his articles and stories at PsychoVertical.

Harvey Goodwin

Harvey Goodwin

Harvey works with the Norwegian Polar Institute in in Tromso, Norway, and also has guided for ’Midnight Sun Mountain Guides’. A qualified instructor for the Norwegian Mountaineering Association, Harvey will be spending the pre-expedition months acclimatising fully in the Antarctic with NPI. As we raise the bars of exploration, we have been drawing greatly on Harvey’s already extensive experience of Greenland travel.

Jacek Olensinski

Jacek Olensinski

At 58, Jacek brings wisdom and serenity to the group, as well as proven polar experience. Polish by birth, we are hoping to press him for tales of his country to provide entertainment and learning for snow-bound days in the tent. Jacek is the father of one of Anna and Pasi’s team mates and, if he is anything like his son, proves to be one of the strongest endurance athletes in the group. He has previously completed an inclusive ’last degree’ expedition to the North Pole and has also taken part in a long ski expedition in Spitzbergen. The cold will hold no terrors for him.


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