Thursday, May 16, 2013
AN intrepid St Ives man has broken a world record in reaching the North Pole – in a journey which saw him fall through the ice.
Matthew Deeprose, along with a group of friends, travelled by helicopter from Ice Station Barneo - a drop off spot 120 nautical miles from the most northerly point of the earth where their journey would finish.
They battled the minus 40 degrees Celsius temperature to finish in eight days and seven hours, beating the previous record of nine days and two hours.
Mr Deeprose, 42, who lives with his wife Caroline in Woodside Way, St Ives, and has five children, spent more than a year preparing for this monumental challenge, which he undertook last month with three others to raise more than £150,000 for wounded service personnel.
The cause is one that is close to his heart as his father and grandfather both served in the Royal Marines, seeing some “horrific things”.
“I work in the city and there are lots of ex-armed forces working there,” said Mr Deeprose.
“It’s a cause I am sympathetic to and when you start learning about the suicides and the problems they have, it’s terrible.”
Mr Deeprose’s group took a harder route to the top of the world than most which takes around 18 to 20 days to complete, often having to spend days travelling east or west negotiating expanses of water.
During the trip Mr Deeprose suffered near disaster when he fell though the ice while try to navigate around a lead – an area of water where the ice is thinner.
“My right foot went through the ice and straight away you’re thinking, ‘where’s my left foot’. When I hauled my ski and boot out they were like concrete.
“Then every time you get to the next lead, you’re thinking ‘am I going to fall through’. That’s the bit you can’t prepare for. Right now I’m just really glad to have survived.”
It wasn’t just near-death experiences that made the journey hard, every aspect of life was a struggle on the trip, from eating and sleeping and looking out for polar bears, to dealing with a challenge that, despite the huge physical demands of dragging a 100kg sled for 13 hours a day, is “90 per cent mental”.
“It’s very difficult to eat more than 6000 calories a day and out there you’re expending seven or eight thousand,” said Mr Deeprose.
“You basically have to make yourself eat when you don’t want to – all you want to do is sleep.”
But sleeping is no picnic either as the group slept an inch apart from each other in their tent.
He added: “Your sleeping bag freezes through the day. You have to wear all your clothes to sleep and in the morning you wake up with your eye lids frozen and your tongue is frozen to the roof of your mouth – sometimes you have to rub hot water on your eyes.”
In fact Mr Deeprose said that during their gruelling journey the group – focused on the task at hand and walking in single file – barely spoke to each other.
The City Endeavour team was made up of those working in the finance industry, and the majority of the money raised came through the backing of London firms.
INFORMATION: For more information on City Endeavour and how you can support their cause through purchasing photos and memorabilia, go to www.cityendeavour.org/static/the-walk
Pictures: SCOTT GILMOUR,