Expedition and Wilderness Medicine is chosen to provide backstop support for Pen Hadows latest expedition to the pole

The Catlin Arctic Survey

The Catlin Arctic Survey

Pen Hadows latest expedition supported by HRH Prince of Wales is to be supported by the medical resources of Expedition and Wilderness Medicine.


The Catlin Arctic Survey Expedition is an international collaboration between polar explorers and some of the world’s foremost scientific bodies. It seeks to resolve one of the most important environmental questions of our time:

How long will the Arctic Ocean’s sea ice cover remain a permanent feature of our planet?

The team will be travelling on foot, hauling sledges from 80°N 140°W, across 1200-km of disintegrating and shifting sea ice, for around 100 days, in temperatures from 0ºC down to -50°C.

Essential data:

Despite the technological advances of the 20th century, we still only have estimates of the thickness of the sea ice cover on the Arctic Ocean. Travelling across the sea ice, the Catlin Arctic Survey team will take precise measurements of its thickness and density. This will enable the programme’s Science Partners to determine, with a greater degree of accuracy, how long the ice cap will remain. Currently, its predicted meltdown date is anywhere between four and a hundred years from now.

Global significance:

The melting of the sea ice will accelerate climate change, sea level rise and habitat loss on a global scale. Its loss is also a powerful indicator of the effects of human activity on our planet’s natural systems and processes. The Survey’s scientific findings will be taken to the national negotiating teams working to replace the Kyoto Protocol agreement at the UN Climate Change Conference of Parties in Copenhagen in December 2009.

Pioneering technology:

The Catlin Arctic Survey has developed and tested a portable, ice-penetrating radar. This will take continuous and detailed measurements of both the snow and ice layers along the 1200 km route.

Ground-breaking satellite communications equipment, developed specifically for this project, will allow the survey team to transmit their unfolding story directly from the ice to a global audience.



Hiring Kit from Expedition and Wilderness Medicine

Encounter the weird and wonderful

If you are about to head off as a medic on expedition or a tv company off to film on location and you need advice on your medical kit or need to hire some equipment, then why not let us know and we can help you with for all your medical needs.   See our support page here.


‘I found myself in the position of accepting an invite to be an expedition doctor without having had much prior experience. Whilst I’d done a number of treks, I’d never officially been the expedition doctor and was very much ‘wet behind the ears’. Although it was too late to book onto the Expedition Medicine course, I contacted Dr Sean Hudson for advice on a number of issues and his help and input was invaluable. He always responded quickly to my email/telephone requests and went out of his way to assist me, even offering to make himself available for advice when I was away. I also felt the Expedition Medicine handbook more than any other, gave me a solid foundation of the expectations and demands of being an expedition doctor. It gave me a framework of how to plan my kit, evacuation protocols and on how to structure my days on-trek.’

‘So I finally made it back – as did the other 60 trek members – thankfully in one piece with no major dramas. Although I was kept busy, the experience was unforgettable and has certainly whetted my appetite for more.

Many thanks again to the Expedition Medicine team, and to Sean for his generous support, for helping to give me the confidence to make this possible. ‘

Dr Mike Steven