Father-son team starts youngest ever record-attempt trip to South Pole

December 27th, 2008 - 11:55 am ICT by ANI  

London, December 27 (ANI): A team of father and son has started the youngest ever record attempt trip to the South Pole, during which they will have to cross the Antarctic, braving some of the worlds most extreme weather conditions.
Matt Gaskell, 18, who has applied for a place to read Natural Sciences at Cambridge University, will become the youngest person to complete the treacherous journey to the coldest place on earth if his expedition with his father Kevin, 50, succeeds.
The father-son duo from Newbury, Berkshire, began the trip from the Patriot Hills base on Antarctica on Boxing Day.
They hope to cover 300km to reach their destination, and they may have to face temperatures as low as 50 degree Celsius during their journey.
Live updates to the teams blog will make it possible for their supporters to follow them, something that will be done with the aid of a satellite phone.
The pair, who will be climbing to 10,000ft, have given themselves a month to cross the frozen wastes of the Antarctic, either on foot or on skis.
They are confident that they will come up as victors.
“Like all of these things, it’’s taken a lot of preparation, a year to train and suddenly it’’s happening, the Telegraph quoted Kevin as saying ahead of the teams departure.
“I”m feeling apprehensive but very excited. The temperatures are going to be around -50C and anyone would be foolish to go into that sort of environment without any concerns.
“I am taking my son into it, so naturally I”m apprehensive, like any father would be,” he added.
The man, who has previously climbed Everest and undertaken an expedition to the North Pole, showed full confidence in his son.
“Matt is a big guy, he’’s very focused and he understands exactly what he’’s letting himself in for. He knows full well that where we are going is mortally dangerous. He jokes that he”ll be looking after me and in many ways he probably will,” he said.
He, however, added: “He hasn”t got an ounce of fat on him so I don”t know what he will look like when he gets back.”
Both of them have been training for this journey for about one year. They walk for 15 miles pulling car tyres behind them, near their home in Berkshire.
They will have to sleep on hard ice, eat freeze-dried meals, and drink melted snow for four weeks during their expedition.
To pitch their tent, each time, they will have to erect a snow wall.
Kevin said: “No matter how much you train, there’’s no preparation for the real thing. The climate is so harsh and unyielding that you must prepare for the worst but only take what you absolutely have to. But I know what I am going to face down there, so in that respect you are prepared for it.
He added: “The greatest risks are the crevasses but there are precautions you take to avoid them. I am not going to die of exposure, not with the equipment I”ve got.”
Kevin is the chairman of Achilles Group Limited, a multinational provider of procurement audit services, and he is raising funds for the North Wales Cancer Treatment Centre.
He has revealed that he is making the expedition in memory of his younger sister Jayne, who died from leukaemia in 2004.
He expects to raise 40,000 pounds from this journey. (ANI)

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