Fri 06 Apr - Mon 16 Apr 2018

In aid of Borne

Borne

OVERVIEW

What to expect

ITINERARY

What you will do

COSTS

Ways to pay

INFORMATION

All you need to know

Everything you need to know

This page provides you with a variety of information about the challenge that you might find useful.

What do Borne do?

Level of difficulty

Group Size

Leadership

Typical day

Clothing and equipment

Accommodation

Safety

Emergencies

Food & Drink

Inclusions and exclusions

Implications of the remote and wild environment

Climate

Toilets

Flights

Insurance

Vaccinations

Visa

Money

Conditions and the impact on logistics

Luggage allowance and valuables

Waiver

Training

Training weekend

Phone and WiFi

What do Borne do?

Around the world, each year, 15 million children are born prematurely and over 1 million die. It is the most important cause of infant death and disability worldwide. Even in the UK, preterm birth affects more than 1 in 12 babies, nearly 60,000 every year.

Borne is a medical research charity that aims to identify the causes of premature birth. Through our research, we are working to save lives, prevent disability and create lifelong health for mothers and babies.

Our research can make a difference between life and death and between a healthy life and a life of disability for millions of children and their families around the world. There is a colossal amount of work to be done. Obstetric research remains chronically underfunded in the UK despite the devastating impact of preterm birth. Our research to date has changed our understanding of labour, refocused our work and redirected our efforts. Through more vital research, we will identify the key interventions that will improve pregnancy outcomes and optimise fetal development.

Level of difficulty

The North Pole challenge is rated Extreme due to the harsh climate. Please also see the Safety section below.

Group Size

The challenge requires a minimum of 4 participants in order to run and a maximum of approximately 10 participants, due to the remote nature of the challenge.

Leadership

Depending on the size of the group you will be accompanied by either one or two highly experienced polar guides. They will be ultimately responsible for the running of the itinerary and the safety of your group. The itinerary is there as a guide and may change due to unusual weather patterns, the strength of the group, and so on. We will do our very best to keep to the set itinerary. However, we cannot be held responsible for any last minute changes that may occur. In all such circumstances, your challenge leader will have the final say.

Typical day

Its very difficult to give a typical day as it will be heavily dependent on the weather and conditions, but a rough guide, you will wake up early, collect snow, melt snow, boil water and make breakfast and warm up. You will then organise yourself and get your kit sorted for the day. The less you need to do once you have started skiing the better so preparation is key. You will get your flasks and snack food ready. Then the task of breaking down camp begins. Once the tents are down and packed on to your sledges, you will need to start walking/skiing/sledge hauling, to keep warm and progress further north! You will stop every hour or so to have some a snack, some hot soup or hot chocolate etc. You’ll check on each other and then continue for another hour. This will continue for around 8-9 hours but could be more if required. Your leader will dictate the speed and distance to be covered. On some days this could be smooth going on others you could spend hours just trying to negotiate an open lead. When your leader advises you will stop and pitch tents, and start the evening routine. Collecting snow, melting snow, boiling water and making your freeze dried dinner. Keeping warm and dry is key. After a good night’s rest, the whole process begins again.

Clothing and equipment

Good quality, durable kit could mean the difference between a fantastic challenge experience and an uncomfortable one. For this challenge, we will provide a comprehensive kit list and provide the main cold weather items. With significant cold weather, keeping warm and dry is paramount. We will advise you and support you to ensure you are properly kitted out. A full kit list for this challenge can be found here showing what we will provide and what you will need to.

Accommodation

The first few nights in Longyearbyen will be spent in a simple guesthouse on the edge of town, conveniently near to your ice-training area. At the Barneo Ice Camp, should you spend a night there, there are heated ‘dormitory tents’ and a heated mess tent. On the main challenge you will be camping on the ice in three person tunnel tents. On your return to Longyearbyen you will stay in one of the town’s top hotels. Please note that flights to and from Longyearbyen/Barneo can be changed at a moment’s notice, requiring you to stay an extra night or in some cases, multiple additional nights in the town. If this were to occur we would try and book hotel accommodation, although during the month of April when most hotels are fully booked it may not be possible to find alternatives at short notice. In such cases, we may pitch the tents or as a last resort, you may have to sleep in a communal area of one of the hotels. If you are travelling with a friend or partner who you wish to share with please ensure that you note this where appropriate when booking or email challenges@charitychallenge.com.

Safety

Charity Challenge considers the safety of all of our participants and staff to be a top priority, and as such we have set up Challenge Safe, one of the most advanced and thorough safety management systems in the industry. Challenge Safe formalises our ethos when it comes to safety, and brings together the procedures and risk management strategies that we use to audit all aspects of our challenges, from vehicles to accommodation to the challenge activity itself. Your welfare is absolutely paramount!

In terms of your North Pole challenge, there are a couple of important points that you should be aware of:

  • The Arctic Ocean is one of the most inhospitable regions on our planet.
  • Distances are immense, and facilities scarce.
  • Logistics problems are enormous; the weather ferocious and unpredictable, and the ice condition is unstable. Even before the ski challenge itself begins, there can be major delays and changes to the programme.
  • Once on the ice, our progress will depend on the weather conditions, the physical state of the group, whether the ice is flat or broken up, whether we encounter any leads (breaks in the ice) or encounter polar bears.
  • Despite the expected period of calm dry weather, windstorms and blizzards as well as changes to the ice condition are a major threat to flights and groups en-route.
  • It is important to consider possible delays or alterations, and accept them with patience.
  • The challenge area is very remote and rescue can only really be implemented if helicopters can fly which is heavily dependent on the weather.
  • Temperatures can go as low as –40 degrees centigrade and if you do not look after yourself, frostbite is a possible side effect.

Emergencies

The event is not run as a race and there will be a discrepancy in people’s speed on the ice and capabilities in camp. This is allowed for. In the unlikely event that rescue from the ice is required, this will be carried out by satellite phone call to the Barneo Ice Camp for helicopter rescue. A doctor is available in Barneo and quality medical services including hospital are available when back at Longyearbyen.

Food & Drink

Food in the Longyearbyen restaurants is good, although vegetarian options are limited. Remember that all provisions have to be flown to Spitsbergen from mainland Norway. On the ice freeze-dried food will be cooked by the challenge members and guides. Please let Charity Challenge know prior to departure if you have any specific dietary requirements or allergies.

Inclusions and exclusions

This price includes: the training weekend on Dartmoor, Specialist clothing and equipment as per the kit list, international flights in economy class from London Heathrow to Longyearbyen in Norway, First Aid qualified polar guide and all the expedition costs from when you leave Longyearbyen to when you return there - return flights between Longyearbyen and the Barneo Ice Camp, logistics and support at Barneo Ice Camp, and for the Last Degree expedition all food, camping equipment, harnesses, sledges, and all technical and safety equipment, accommodation and meals in Longyearbyen (and hotel and meals in Oslo if required as part of the standard itinerary) and travel insurance.

The following items are not included in the expedition costs; drinks and any extra food and accommodation necessitated by flight delays, any activities not mentioned in the itinerary, personal spending money, and travel to and from UK airports.

‚ÄčIn addition, if you need to call out a helicopter on the ice cap to take you back to Barneo for reasons unrelated to injury or illness (i.e. you are not prepared for the challenge or just want to stop), you will have to cover the costs of the helicopter which is calculated depending on flying time, the position of Barneo relative to where you are. The cost may vary from 6,000 to 25,000 Euros.

Implications of the remote and wild environment

IMPORTANT NOTEThe Arctic Ocean is one of the most inhospitable regions on our planet. Logistics problems are enormous; the weather ferocious and unpredictable, ice condition is unstable. Distances are immense, facilities scarce. Safety and self-sufficiency are the paramount rules. We acknowledge and respect this. It is our obligation to warn to all clients that they like us and everyone else attempting to function in this extreme environment, are at the mercy of forces more powerful than any of us. Despite the expected period of calm dry weather, windstorms and blizzards as well as changes of the ice condition are a major threat to flights and groups en-route. Delays of days must be anticipated. Changes and amendments may apply to the programme, depending on the weather, ice or other conditions. It is important to consider possible delays or alterations, and accept them with patience. We will do our very best to keep to the general itinerary; however we cannot be held responsible for any last minute changes that might occur and we fully expect such changes to take place. In all such circumstances, your challenge leader will have the final say.

The following information is intended to better inform you of the environment in which the challenge will take place, as well as some of the extra measures that we have put in place to manage any unforeseen changes that need to be made to the itinerary. The information also gives you an indication of the costs to you in the unlikely event of an extended delay or change to your North Pole expedition.

Please read the following information in full and ask any questions that you may have. If you are not 100% prepared to accept the nature of the challenge environment and the points clearly detailed below, please do not book on to the challenge.

All of the above means that even before the ski challenge itself begins, there can be major delays and changes to the programme. Once on the ice, our progress will depend on the weather conditions, the physical state of the group, whether the ice is flat or broken up, whether we encounter any leads (breaks in the ice) or encounter polar bears. There are so many variables that you absolutely must be prepared for any changes and delays that might occur. Weather can also delay our flight home, or our return from the ice cap may be delayed.

Please do note that our standard itinerary does already include contingency days and this Important Note is to inform you of what we have planned and what you should expect in the unlikely event that our North Pole expedition encounters delays and changes. You will be asked to sign a separate waiver that acknowledges the above info.

IMPORTANT ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

For 18 years Charity Challenge has been successfully running challenges across more than 30 countries worldwide in some incredibly wild and remote locations. As such, we have identified and put in place a number of measures to best manage our North Pole challenges and the many potential issues that have an immediate knock-on effect for the day-to-day logistics involved.

The following information is intended to better inform you of the environment in which the challenge will take place, and also some of the extra measures that we have put in place to manage any changes that need to be made to the itinerary. The information also gives you an indication of the additional costs you will incur in the event of an extended delay or change to your North Pole expedition, or early departure from the ice.

PLEASE READ VERY CAREFULLY …

IMPLICATIONS

All of the above means that even before the ski challenge itself begins, there can be major delays and changes to the programme. We will make the reasonably necessary changes to the programme and you will need to cover the costs of any additional accommodation and meals in Longyearbyen that need to be arranged. (Longyearbyen is the town from where you catch the flight that takes you on to the ice; and it is to Longyearbyen that you return to after your expedition to the North Pole.)  

Any international flight changes to accommodate delays or early departure will be at your expense. A standard flight change with the same booking class is approximately £60 per sector.

Once on the ice, your progress will depend on the weather conditions, the physical state of the group, the technical and logistical demands of Barneo, whether the ice is flat or broken up, whether you encounter any leads (breaks in the ice) or polar bears. There are so many variables that you absolutely must be prepared for any changes and delays that might occur. Weather can also delay the flight home, or your return from the ice cap may have to be delayed. Again, any additional hotel and meal costs will be on your own account.

We strongly advise you to ensure your diary is free of any important meetings or events for at least four days after the planned return to the UK in case we do have to delay your return flights.  If you are on the ice and we need to amend the return date by up to four days, we will do so to enable the challenge to continue without checking with each individual (as this may be difficult to do once the challenge has begun). Please note that this is also subject to being able to extend the internal flights from Barneo to Longyearbyen which are at the absolute sole discretion of the Barneo camp operators, and subject to availability of alternative dates with the international carrier.

Please do note that our standard itinerary already includes contingency days and this information document and supplementary conditions are to inform you of what we have planned and what costs you should expect if your North Pole expedition is extended or amended.

YOUR ACKNOWLEDGEMENT OF THE POTENTIAL IMPLICATIONS

I hereby acknowledge that I have read and understood and agree fully all the information and conditions as set out in this document.

I hereby understand that I have booked this challenge with Charity Challenge and consent to their booking conditions and these conditions which I agree shall be incorporated into and form part of my agreement with Charity Challenge.

I hereby acknowledge and understand that the operation of the North Pole challenge is incredibly unpredictable and accept that there are circumstances where I could be denied from even starting the challenge if for example, the base camp cannot be established or flights cannot land on the ice due to poor weather.

I acknowledge that such situations are out of Charity Challenge’s control and that I will not be entitled to a refund of costs if the challenge cannot take place.

I acknowledge and agree that Charity Challenge may, if it is considered necessary to enable the challenge to continue successfully, delay my return flight by up to a maximum of 4 days once the challenge has begun. I note that Charity Challenge will try to advise me if this is necessary but will not need to check for my permission to do so.

The above notes are also contained in and form a part of your booking terms and conditions.

Climate

The North Pole is substantially warmer than the South Pole because it lies at sea level in the middle of an ocean (which acts as a reservoir of heat), rather than at altitude on a continental land mass. Winter temperatures at the North Pole can range from about −40 to 10°C (−40 to 50°F), averaging around −31°C (−24°F). The sea ice at the North Pole is typically around 2 to 3 m (6ft 7in to 9ft 10in) thick, although ice thickness, its spatial extent, and the fraction of open water within the ice pack can vary rapidly and profoundly in response to weather and climate.

Toilets

In Longyearbyen there are good washing and toilet facilities and at the Barneo Ice Camp there are porta-cabin toilets. On the main challenge there are no facilities and you should pack a ‘pee bottle’ for the tent at night and take plenty of toilet paper and anti-bacterial hand gel (NB: wet wipes freeze).

Flights

Flights are included from London Heathrow to Longyearnyen (the main settlement of Spitsbergen, Norway) via Oslo or Tromso, in economy class. If you want to upgrade, we can assist you but this will be at additional cost. You will then be flown on to the sea ice to Camp Barneo. From here you will be flown to the start of the challenge by helicopter. For more general flights questions, please refer to our main FAQS page.

Insurance

It is a condition of booking that you have a suitable travel insurance policy whilst participating on the challenge. We include a special policy which covers among other things, medical (emergency, evacuation and repatriation) arrangements, cancellation (up to a max of £20,000) and curtailment of the challenge, and more specifically for the adventurous activities undertaken on this challenge.

For more general travel insurance questions, please refer to our main FAQs page.

Vaccinations

For up to date vaccination information please check the NHS ‘Fit for Travel’ website: http://www.fitfortravel.nhs.uk/home.aspx. Although the Charity Challenge team are travel professionals, they are not medical experts and we would encourage you to visit your GP or travel nurse to discuss vaccination requirements.

Visa

There are no visa requirements for Norway, just a valid passport with six months to run from the end of the expedition.

Money

On the ice you will not need or be able to spend money! At Barneo Ice Camp (which you could just be transitting through or could be staying overnight depending on weather and flight times), only Euros or US Dollars are accepted. For all other expenditure in Longyearbyen on Svalbard (Norway) we recommend that you take a credit card and a sufficient amount of cash in Norwegian Krone. Travellers’ cheques or credit cards should be accepted in the airports. You will have access to ATMs in Longyearbyen only.  You will need to bring money for any unexpected delays in departing from Longyearbyen or returning eary to Longyearbyen, for accommodation and meals. We recommend you bring a credit card for this purpose.

Conditions and the impact on logistics

The Arctic Ocean is one of the most inhospitable regions on our planet. Logistics problems are enormous; the weather ferocious and unpredictable, ice condition is unstable. Distances are immense, facilities scarce. Safety and self-sufficiency are the paramount rules. We acknowledge and respect this. It is our obligation to warn you that everyone attempting to function in this extreme environment, are at the mercy of forces more powerful than any of us. Despite the expected period of calm dry weather, windstorms and blizzards as well as changes of the ice condition are a major threat to flights and groups en-route. Delays of days must be anticipated. Changes and amendments may apply to the programme, depending on the weather, ice or other conditions. It is important to consider possible delays or alterations, and accept them with patience. We will do our very best to keep to the general itinerary; however we cannot be held responsible for any last minute changes that might occur and we fully expect such changes to take place. In all such circumstances, your challenge leader will have the final say.
All of the above means that even before the ski challenge itself begins, there can be major delays and changes to the programme. Once on the ice, our progress will depend on the weather conditions, the physical state of the group, whether the ice is flat or broken up, whether we encounter any leads (breaks in the ice) or encounter polar bears. There are so many variables that you absolutely must be prepared for any changes and delays that might occur. Weather can also delay our flight home, or our return from the ice cap may be delayed.

Luggage allowance and valuables

As no formal clothes are needed, luggage should be kept to the absolute minimum – details of what to pack are provided in your kit list and this is very detailed and specific to the harsh climate you will be going into. The allowance with SAS Airlines is 1 carry-on bag of 8kgs and 1 hold bag of 23kgs. You may be asked to take out extra bags for taking out group equipment and food but we will cover the costs of any extra luggage allowance. While we will do everything to provide adequate safety for the group and security for your possessions, the general rule is that if you don’t need it, don’t bring it. This includes jewellery, necklaces, rings and even watches. Your main luggage should not contain valuables and items not required on the challenge. These may be left in storage in Longyearbyen to be returned to you once you have returned from the Pole.

Waiver

Please note that you will be asked by the team from Camp Barneo to sign a liability waiver before boarding their flight onto the ice to start your challenge.

Training

Training and a high level of fitness are definitely required. A full Fitness Training programme is included within the challenge cost and more will be explained during the training weekend. You will be skiing and sledge hauling for around 8 hours a day and still have lots of physical work to do in setting up and breaking down the camp. We will provide a training guide but essentially you should improve your cardio vascular ability and practice pulling a tyre with a harness to simulate the actions and work the muscles that you will be using on the challenge. You do not need to be an expert skier but some confidence on skis will of course help! In your account area you will find more comprehensive Fitness Training Notes.

Training weekend

Our challenge includes an induction and training weekend where you’ll be sized for all thermal and polar clothing, Arctic boots, skis and sledge harnesses. You’ll leave the training weekend with your personal harness and the knowledge to empower you to prepare for the challenge ahead.  To simulate the motion of pulling a sledge, we’ll drag a 4x4 car tyre on uneven ground using the harness.

Phone and WiFi

Most of the accommodation you are in will have decent WiFi which you will be able to use. You are unlikely to have any phone signal once you leave Longyearbyen. We will have a satellite phone with us for emergencies. You can hire your own iridium go satellite comms and have the ability to send pictures from the ice from your smart phone so that you can update blogs each evening.

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ATOL protected

We hold an Air Travel Organiser's Licence granted by the Civil Aviation Authority. Our ATOL number is 6546. Many of the flight-inclusive challenges on this website are financially protected by the ATOL scheme. But ATOL protection does not apply to all holiday and travel services listed on this website. This ATOL protection only covers challenges that include flights booked by Charity Challenge and that originate in the UK. Please ask us to confirm what protection may apply to your booking. If you do not receive an ATOL Certificate then the booking will not be ATOL protected. If you do receive an ATOL Certificate but all the parts of your trip are not listed on it, those parts will not be ATOL protected. Please see our booking conditions for information or for more information about financial protection and the ATOL Certificate go to: www.atol.org.uk/ATOLcertificate

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