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Explorers smash crossing record

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Tom Avery leads the team across the frozen terrain (Photo supplied)

A team of intrepid explorers funded by a Bermuda-based company has smashed the record for the fastest crossing of Greenland on foot.

Team 67°N, sponsored by CATCo Investment Management based on Front Street, Hamilton, finished the gruelling journey in almost half the time of the previous record holders.

Polar explorers Tom Avery, Andrew Gerber, George Wells and Patrick Woodhead completed the 379-mile voyage in nine days, 19 hours and 40 minutes. The previous world record was set in 2008 and was just short of 18 days.

Tony Belisle, chief executive officer for CATCo Investment Management Ltd, said: “Like other great explorers that have gone before Tom, George, Patrick and Andy, the 67°N team have demonstrated that their courage and dogged determination remains undiminished.

“To break the world record in the way they have is nothing less than remarkable and it has been a privilege for CATCo to be associated with these four outstanding competitors.”

Team 67°N began their journey on the morning of May 7 in the remote Inuit village of Isortoq, Greenland.

The starting point houses about 50 Inuit residents and is nestled on a sea harbour surrounded by stunning glaciers, about six miles shy of Greenland’s polar ice cap.

The team ended the adventure, which included climbing from the east coast sea level to an elevation of 2,500 metres then back to sea level on the west coast, in the former US military town of Kangerlussuaq.

The team covered most of the distance on skis and, when the wind and terrain allowed, they also used kites. At one point they skied for 17 consecutive hours and covered nearly 175 miles with speeds topping 27 miles per hour.

Mr Belisle added: “CATCo is honoured and privileged to have been afforded the opportunity to be the sole financial sponsor of this remarkable adventure, and we are even more appreciative of simply having the opportunity to get to know the Team 67°N and better understand what drives them.

“We went into this sponsorship believing that this team’s life-threatening polar achievements, including world record treks to both the North and South poles, could only be accomplished by extreme lunatics.

“However, our perspective quickly changed after Team 32°N, comprised of myself, Graham Wood, Michael Toyer and Mark Way, spent a day dogsledding and a night on Greenland’s awe-inspiring polar ice caps with Team 67°N.”

Team leader Mr Avery and his team also hold the record for the fastest surface journey across the North Pole.

He said: “The past few days have been absolutely incredible. To cross half the width of the Greenland ice cap, almost the same distance as London to Manchester, in one night is without doubt one of the highlights of all our expedition careers.

“We feel enormously privileged to have had the opportunity to do so. Setting a new world record gives us all a sense of accomplishment which is incomparable — it makes the unrelenting tiredness, aching knees and dehydration all completely worth it.”

Team 67°N’s Tom Avery, Andrew Gerber, George Wells and Patrick Woodhead (Photo supplied)
Team 67°N’s Tom Avery, Andrew Gerber, George Wells and Patrick Woodhead with Bermuda company CATCo’s Team 32°N, Tony Belisle, Graham Wood, Michael Toyer and Mark Way (Photo supplied)
The team pulls sleds across Greenland during their record-breaking trek (Photo supplied)
One of the team snow kiting (Photo supplied)
Snow kiting across some of the 379-mile voyage (Photo supplied)
The team sets up camp in the snow (Photo supplied)