Injuries force Irish pair to abandon North Pole ice attempt

An Irish duo’s attempt to walk 779km to the North Pole has been abandoned after both were injured when a sled fell on them.

Clare O’Leary and Mike O’Shea began their LifeProof Ice expedition on March 7 at Cape Discovery in Northern Canada and were making a strong start, having covered 60km through extreme conditions and temperatures as low as minus 50 degrees celsius.

However, when they were attempting to lower Mike’s 80kg sled on Sunday, a large block of ice became dislodged and the sled fell on them injuring Mike’s back and Clare’s knee. A charter flight due to resupply them on St Patrick’s Day was able to land and bring them back to safety at Resolute in Northern Canada.

The challenge was part of their Ice Project, in which they hope to cross the world’s major ice caps, including both poles, by 2016. This is their second attempt at this expedition. They had to abandon the project in 2012 because other teams, which were sharing costs with them, pulled out.

Managing director of LifeProof EMEA, Steve Daverio, said: “We could not be prouder to have supported Mike and Clare in their daring attempt to reach the North Pole. It is very unfortunate that they were obliged to abandon the expedition.”

Clare O’Leary, from Bandon, Co Cork, became the first Irish woman to climb Mount Everest 10 years ago. She has climbed the Seven Summits and Ama Dablam in the Himalayas, and skied across the Greenland Iceland Cap and to the South Pole.

Mike O’Shea from Dingle has climbed the Alps extensively and volunteered for Kerry Mountain Rescue for 10 years.

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