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Patrick Woodhead
Patrick's experience leading up to the Antarctic Expedition covers a range of different sports and training but predominantly he comes from a mountaineering background. His ascents include virgin mountains in Kyrgyzstan, Morocco and the Alps. Patrick has also had exceptional experience climbing as well being a qualified ski instructor. He is now launching a career as an author, writing a book on his Antarctic adventure to be published by Hodder & Stoughton.

The expedition to Kyrgyzstan involved spending six weeks exploring a mountain range that no one had ever climbed before. On some of the highest unclimbed peaks on earth, Patrick and the international team made first ascents and named eight mountains in total.

He was also part of an expedition to ski through the High Atlas Mountains of Morocco. In pioneering new routes, Patrick negotiated some of the most technical climbing he has ever done.

Each winter Patrick spends time climbing the classic Alpine routes, such as Mt Blanc, Mt Pourri and the Matterhorn. He has also spent summers rock climbing on the famous walls in the south of France.

Working for Save the Rhino in Namibia in 1998, Patrick worked as a Park Ranger and became heavily involved with the Rhino tagging programme. With members of the Anti-Poaching unit, Patrick tracked then shot rhinos with tranquilliser darts. Pursuing the animals on horseback, in trucks or a helicopter, he then worked alongside a vet to notch the ears and saw off the horn. During this time in Southern Africa, Patrick was also involved with Cheetah conservation and a Great White protection scheme.

Patrick's work has always complimented his career as an explorer. He has been involved as Producer and Assistant Producer for Channel 5 television, BBC Panorama and Transworld International - working on their extreme sports channel NOW Sport.

In 1996, he spent six months working as a professional ski instructor in the Canadian Rockies. Skiing and often guiding through the backcountry, it was here that Patrick started to learn the basics of ski touring - which eventually led to this year's attempt on the pole.


Tom Avery
Tom is 6'2", blond with blue eyes and he should soon be celebrating his 27th birthday in Antarctica. His interests revolve around sport, especially skiing, golf and cricket. He lives in London and East Sussex.

Tom spent his early childhood in Brazil and Paris, and skiing holidays in France inspired a fascination for mountains. He formed the mountaneering society at Harrow School and climbed in the British Isles and Himalayas. In his gap year he was in New Zealand taking photographs on Mount Ruapehu whilst the volcano started to erupt.

Tom went to Bristol University to study geography and geology. In his first summer vacation he took a survival course in the Alps, led an expedition up Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania and crewed on a sailing boat crossing the Indian Ocean.

In 1997 Tom ran the London Marathon in less than 4 hours. By the summer he had organised and led the successful Bristol University Inca Mountains Expedition with Sir Chris Bonington as patron. The team planted the Union Jack on six Andean peaks including Cotopaxi (5897m). The team then went down into the Amazon in search of anaconda, piranhas and crocodiles.

After graduating with a 2:1 Tom returned to the Andes to climb the highest mountain outside the Himalayas, Aconcagua (6760m) in Argentina. Just below the summit Tom found himself alone with severe altitude sickness setting in but managed to descend unharmed.

Tom spent a year studying accountancy but found that career was not for him. Whilst researching in the Alpine Library Tom made the discovery that it had just become possible to go to the Eastern Zaalay / Zaalaiskii mountains of Kyrgyzstan in the Himalayas. As part of the former Soviet Union this had been forbidden territory. Tom organised and led a successful expedition to this unexplored region. He scaled nine virgin summits, naming one Pik Fiennes (5001m) after his patron, Sir Ranulph Fiennes, and a made a brave attempt on Pik Kurumdy(6613m).

Tom's career became focussed on the ski industry and he now works for Ski Verbier, an upmarket chalet business. Two years ago he won a major ski race there clad only in shorts, t-shirt and some sheepskin.

From an early age Tom developed a passionate interest in Antarctica and the expeditions of Scott and Shackleton. He also wanted to be the youngest person to walk to the South Pole. With generous sponsorship from Hastings Direct, a motor insurance company and the patronage of Sir Ranulph Fiennes, Tom is attempting to realise his dream.

One of his team-mates, Patrick Woodhead climbed with him in Kyrgyzstan. Tom claims that his most terrifying experience was when he rode with Patrick on his motorbike through London traffic.


Andrew Gerber