Hadow Pen (United Kingdom)

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Hadow Pen

Hadow Pen

© Hadow Pen

Pen Hadow, one of the world's leading explorer-guides, against seemingly impossible odds, has made it possible for people from all walks of life to make ground-breaking expeditions to the most remote points on planet Earth - the North and South Poles.

The secret behind his success has been his exceptional ability to motivate individuals and teams to perform at their peak in even the most extreme situations. His superbly illustrated presentation reveals the inspirational story behind this remarkable leader and polar pioneer.

Pen (aka "Polar Pen") is a rare breed amongst explorers, because he chose to bridge the divide between his professional achievements and the potential he saw in the wider public to undertake substantial polar expeditions. He had made a series of progressively bold expeditions of his own in the high Arctic in the 1980's and 90's, culminating in three extreme solo expeditions on the Arctic Ocean. The rigorous life-style and harsh environment of these endeavours developed a passion in him for the polar regions, which he felt others would like to share if they had the opportunity.

Pen's eyes had first been opened, when he was just fifteen. He completed a solo marathon, long before marathons became a mass-participation sport. Teachers, coaches and doctors had all advised against the attempt. But Pen ran it anyway and discovered for himself that the vested interests of experts could create barriers to progress. He encountered the same negative attitude again in the polar world... and knew what had to be done. He set up the only specialist guide service in the world - The Polar Travel Company - and dedicated himself, single-handedly, to opening up the Arctic and Antarctic to everyone.

First he had to change a nation's perception of what was possible - the Poles wereregarded as the exclusive domain of the professional explorer. He also had to create a new market - travel industry experts assuring him that no-one would be attracted to high-cost,sub-zero temperature, expedition-style holidays. And then, in the most inhospitable conditions on Earth, he had to lead novice teams on pioneering expeditions to the remotest points on planet Earth - the Poles. Effective teamwork and appropriate leadership techniques were critical to each expedition's outcome.

The national wake-up call to launch his commercial venture was to be a dramaticone. It was to test his entrepreneurial and management skills to the limits. He devised, promoted, and organised the first all-women expedition to the North Pole ... and three years later, the internationally-acclaimed McVitie's Penguin Polar Relay reached the North Pole - on schedule to the day, with no injuries, and a catalogue of 'world firsts' by the team of twenty-two. Public perception started to shift. Two years later he supported the high profile British all-women expedition to the South Pole - the M&G ISA Challenge. Public demand for expedition places began to grow rapidly. Armed only with a laptop, a phone line and a total dedication to success, Pen's vision had become a reality.

Pen's is an inspirational story because many of the lessons he has learned and the skills he now applies on his expeditions are of equal importance in the less hazardous environment of the workplace. As explorer, guide and entrepreneur, he has discovered for himself, the hard way, some profound insights about personal capacity and team performance while preparing his extra-ordinary teams of 'ordinary individuals' for the ultimate full-on polar experience. And he has come to recognise the real value of vision, preparation, and leadership - and above all, mental attitude, the universal key to success, in the reaching of one's chosen goal.

Major Achievements

  • 2010 : Deuxième volet de l'expédition 'Catlin Arctic Survey'. Cette fois, Pen Hadow ne va pas sur la glace, il dirige et organise. Trois expéditionnaires (Ann Daniels, Martin Hartley et Chris Paton) vont aller au pôle Nord et faire des relevés le long du trajet tandis qu'un camp de base permament est installé à environ 600 km de Resolute Bay, où vont se succéder pendant deux mois deux équipes de scientifiques de toutes provenances qui travailleront sur place. Cette fois, Hadow attire l'atention du plus grand nombre sur l'autre grand problème du moment (à côté du réchauffement global) : les effets du dioxide de carbone sur les eaux de l'océan Arctique. Soit, plus globalement, sur le problème de l'acidification globale des océans.
  • 2009 : Premier volet d'une expédition scientifique appelée 'Catlin Arctic Survey'. Programmée initialement pour 2008, Pen Hadow part finalement le 28 février 2009 en compagnie d'Ann Daniels et du photographe Martin Hartley à un point situé à 81° 05' N / 135° W. Soit à environ 900 km du pôle Nord. En chemin, ils doivent réaliser une impressionnate série de relevés scientifiques et notamment, la mesure de l'épaisseur de la banquise qu'ils calculent à l'aide d'un radar spécialement construit pour l'expédition. Mais arrivés à 490 km du but, après 73 jours passés sur la glace et 434 km de parcourus, c'est l'abandon. Motif  : une fonte impressionnante et inattendue du pack arctique.
  • 2003-2004 : Accompagné d'une homme d'affaires britannique Simon Murray (63 ans), Pen réussit de joindre le pôle Sud depuis le littoral antarctique. Ils partent le 2 décembre 2003 et arrivent au pôle le 28 janvier 2004 après un trek de 58 jours. Sans ravito.
  • 2003 : Solo, North Pole - the first solo expedition, without resupply, by the hardest route (from the Canadian coast) to the North Geographic Pole in March and April.
  • 2002 : Arctic Survival Course - Pen developed and guided the first commercially organised Arctic survival course held on the high Arctic island of Spitsbergen.
  • 2001 : BBC Consultancy - Acted as consultant to explorer Benedict Allen's highly acclaimed 'Ice Dogs' series about dog-sledding in easternmost Siberia to the Bering Strait.
  • 2001 : Polar Orchid Challenge - Pen guided Ben Saunders, the youngest person ever to attempt an All The Way to the North Geographic Pole. Additionally it was to be unsupported and on low calorific rations to experiment with a revolutionary high carbohydrate, low fat diet that could be taken by future polar expeditions. In the event the team sledge-hauled 109kg sledges from Cape Arktichevskiy (northernmost Siberia) 620km across the Arctic Ocean towards the North Pole in the coldest season since 1987 reaching 86º43'North, some 15 days short of the Pole. Valuable scientific data was collected, which together with a book about the expedition, will be published shortly.
  • 2001 : The Last Degree - North Geographic Pole 2001. The Polar Travel Company organised an expedition out of Borneo (with clients arriving through Russia and Longyearbyen) to the North Pole, led by polar guide, Ann Daniels. In addition training was provided on the Arctic Ocean to two private teams planning All The Way journeys to the North and South Poles in 2002.
  • 2000 : The Last Degree - North Geographic Pole (March & April, 2000) - Pen guided two expeditions, on skis hauling supplies, the last 110 kilometres across the Arctic Ocean sea ice to the North Pole, with the first expedition approaching from the Canadian side, and the second from the Russian side via Khatanga in Siberia and the ice airport called 'Borneo' at 89° North on the Russian side. The first expedition was undertaken by a specially trained team because of the particularly severe weather conditions anticipated - no sledging expedition had ever been to the Pole so early in the season, indeed the team experienced the last place on Earth to witness the dawn of the new Millennium as the sun rose at the North Pole in late March.
  • 2000 : Crossing of Resolute Passage - Training Expedition (March 2000) - Pen guided five person team, as part of preparation for a particularly arduous Last Degree expedition in March, from Resolute Bay airbase to the shores of Griffith Island and back to Resolute Village.
  • 2000 : The Last 50 Kilometres - North Geographic Pole (April 2000) - Pen guided a private client on a bespoke, shortened expedition to the North Pole from the Russian side via Borneo.
  • 2000 : M&G ISA Challenge - Technical consultant in the UK, Chile and Antarctica to the first all-women expedition to the South Geographic Pole undertaken by Caroline Hamilton, Ann Daniels, Pom Oliver, Rosie Stancer, and Zoe Hudson - all originally participants on our McVitie's Penguin Polar Relay in 1997, the first all-women team expedition to the North Geographic Pole.
  • 2000 : All The Way - South Geographic Pole - Promoted the first British guided expedition from the coast of Antarctica (Hercules Inlet) to the South Geographic Pole (1200 Kilometres) enabling Catherine Hartley (the first of two women to ever make such a journey) and Justin Speake (also British) to reach their goal 61 days later, led by Geoff Somers.
  • 1999 : The Last Degree - North Geographic Pole - Guided two separate expeditions, each of five-men, on skis hauling supplies, the last 110 kilometres across the Arctic Ocean sea ice to the North Pole, following a training and acclimatisation phase at Resolute Bay, Canada.
  • 1998 : National Polar Express - Ground-breaking, ultra-lightweight solo North Pole attempt - reaching 87° 18 North faster than any previous solo or team expedition. Medical condition forced withdrawal.
  • 1997 : McVities's Penguin Polar Relay - World First. Organiser of the first internationally renowned all-women's relay expedition (22 women) to the North Geographic Pole from Ward Hunt Island, Canada - including its promotion, the selection process, contracting of guides, physical training, polar base management and media relations.
  • 1995 : North Magnetic Pole - Guide to a successful (200 kilometre) sledging expedition across the frozen McLean Strait from Northern Bathurst Island to the North Magnetic Pole by foot in the Canadian high Arctic.
  • 1994 : Solo North Pole - The first attempt to reach the North Geographic Pole on foot, without air support, from Ward Hunt Island, northernmost Canada. Membership of the No Limits Team an international team for extreme athletes sponsored by Sector Sport Watches.
  • 1989 : Arctic Voyager - Co-partner on the 'furthest north' voyage by open boat from British shores -to east Greenland- and the longest voyage (3,500 kilometers) by inflatable craft. (Sponsored expedition).
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