65 Degrees North team face challenges on ice cap crossing


13 May 2015: The scale of the challenge faced by the Inmarsat-sponsored 65 Degrees North team came into sharp focus soon after their arrival on the Greenland ice cap.

Former soldier Peter Bowker, together with three Special Forces veterans, a doctor and a guide, is attempting to be the first amputee to make an unsupported crossing of the treacherous ice sheet.

On the second day of the record attempt, the team faced two brushes with disaster as they made their way on skis pulling heavily-loaded sleds. Dr Meinir Jones slipped several feet down a crevasse, and Peter took a fall that caused his prosthetic limb to detach.

Safety satcomsInmarsat-Greenland_300x359

Fortunately the team is travelling with Inmarsat satellite communications kit that enables them to stay in close contact with their UK base – including two IsatPhone 2 satellite phones.

“Peter and Meinir were fine and there were no injuries sustained, but the shock in their voices was evident,” said 65 Degrees North support team member Leesa Harrison.

The team has also been using ultra-portable Explorer 510 BGAN terminals supplied by Inmarsat partner Cobham Satcom to share the adventure on social media and send stunning photos of their surroundings, despite being at the outer reaches of the Inmarsat-4 satellite coverage area.

Video calls

Arriving on the ice cap for the 600 km (373-mile) trek, which is expected to take 24-30 days, they tweeted: “IsatPhone 2 tested! Ice team have made contact with support team. Thanks to @InmarsatGlobal for making it possible!”

Should any of the group be injured, or if 10 hours a day on the ice in temperatures as low as -37°C causes problems with Peter’s leg, Meinir will also be able to take part in live video consultations with medical experts at base.

Peter, who served in Iraq and Afghanistan before being injured and medically discharged in 2012, is making the record attempt to raise funds for UK charity Help for Heroes. 

65 Degrees North sponsorship: www.inmarsat.com