'The Coldest Journey' team have been reflecting on an expedition that was to be the first winter crossing of the Antarctic. The trip was set to cover 2,000 miles but due to extreme weather conditions and rough terrain the attempt was reluctantly abandoned late last year. Lumie supplied light therapy products for the trip to help maintain the team's circadian rhythms in the near-permanent winter darkness.
Sir Rannulph Fiennes was one of the original team and was aimimg to ski 2,400 miles from Crown Bay to McMurdo Sound via the South Pole until severe frostbite forced his return home. He spoke then about how light therapy in one of the two specially developed cabooses (sledge-mounted work and living quarters) would help:
"My team and I will mostly be working in complete darkness for the six-month expedition and with nothing but the stars providing us with light. The Lumie products will assist us hugely on a day to day basis. We fear that the lack of daylight that we will be receiving may prevent us from working to our full potential in the –70°C conditions but Lumie Bodyclock Active and the Arabica lightbox will provide the right light to help maintain our sleep patterns and keep us in good spirits."
Brian Newham, Ice Team Leader: "Lumie lights are in daily use in our Living Caboose".
Sir Ranulph was evacuated on the last aircraft to leave Antarctica before the onset of winter and an unexpected worsening of weather caused the expedition team to forgo their attempt to cross Antarctica and, instead, concentrate on their medical, glaciological and snow-sampling research programmes. Last week, Ice Team Leader Brian Newham, reflected on his experience with light therapy:
"We used the Lumie lights throughout the polar winter. During that time we had three months of total darkness and the lights helped to simulate a more normal pattern of night and day. It was very important for us to maintain regular routines and I'm sure the Lumie lights were a significant benefit."
Brian Newham will be talking about The Coldest Journey expedition at The Telegraph Outdoor Adventure & Travel Show taking place in London on 13-16 February.