21st March, 2008

North Pole Speed Record

A few days ago we launched the North Pole Speed Record site for our intrepid client Ben Saunders. Ben is a record-breaking long-distance skier, with three North Pole expeditions under his belt. He is the youngest to ski solo to the North Pole and holds the record for the longest solo Arctic journey by a Briton.

North Pole Speed RecordFigure 1: The North Pole Speed Record website.

This latest expedition (supported by Ernst & Young) is an attempt to set a new world speed record from Ward Hunt Island to the Geographic North Pole. The current record was set in 2005 by a guided team using dog sleds and numerous re-supplies in a time of 36 days 22 hours. Ben’s expedition will be solo and unsupported and on foot. This route has only ever been completed once solo and unsupported, by Pen Hadow in 2003. Ben aims to halve his time and complete it in 30 days.

I love the Equipment page (below). Just check out the sheer volume of stuff ben has to drag behind him, including his trusty “spork”, and a gun to ward off polar bears. Gulp.

North Pole Speed RecordFigure 2: A massive list. Ben’s expedition equipment page.

We worked closely with Ben, his team and the sponsors in a very short time frame to pull this website together and reflect the scope of the expedition and Ben’s personality. We also created bespoke tools to allow him to easily post journal entries from the North Pole on his mobile without exposing himself to frostbite or hammering his batteries.

Ben SaundersFigure 3: Ben during a typical day.

We’re still waiting on clips from a couple of TV interviews and a few other bits, but to get some other perspective on Ben and his achievements, check out the press page.

Huge credit to our Greg Wood who led the design and development on this project. Greg has written more about his approach here. We’re now counting down the days until our client sends a blog post from the North Pole using the tools we built. That will be pretty special. Ben is off to the South Pole in November too, so hopefully we can collect the set. Next stop, the moon.

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