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29 October 2014
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Blizzard: Race To The Pole
The Norwegian team

Blizzard: Race To The Pole


 

The Norwegian Team

 

The modern day Norwegian team is led by the Norwegian explorers Rune Gjeldnes and Inge Solheim.


They too have a tough team of highly competent and experienced individuals.


Rune Gjeldnes
Leader
Nationality: Norwegian
D.O.B: 20/05/71

Background: Rune, 33, has been in the Royal Norwegian Navy for several years. He is currently a reserve Lieutenant in the Norwegian Naval Special Operation Force (NAVSOF) and also runs his own adventure/expedition company called SEAL adventure.


He tests and develops outdoor equipment and clothing for manufacturers and has been elected a fellow of The Explorer’s Club.


Expeditions: For the last three years he has been preparing for his next project, The Longest March. It will be a solo and unsupported crossing of Antarctica and an attempt at setting a new world record.


His main goal is to become the first person in the world to have crossed both the North and the South Pole, unsupported.


During 110 days, 4,600 km will be covered on skis without re-supplies. If successful, it will be a world distance record, approximately 800 km longer than the previous skiing expedition record.


If he succeeds, this won’t be his first record. In 2000 Rune and Torry Larsen were the first to cross the entire Arctic Ocean, via the North Pole, without getting supplies from the outside.


He has also held the world ski distance record together with Torry Larsen by skiing the length of Greenland from its southern tip to most northerly tip.


He has written and published several books about his expeditions including Walking on Thin Ice, which he wrote with Hempleman-Adams, and Dead Men Walking.


He also regularly gives lectures, often to audiences in the USA.


Inge Solheim
Nationality: Norwegian
D.O.B: 09/03/73

Background: Like many other Norwegians, Inge spent time in the Norwegian Armed Forces and has gone on to teach winter warfare and survival to the Norwegian armed forces.


After a spell working in the financial sector he decided to spend more time on his passion of leading expeditions.


Experience: Inge has been to the North Pole five times. The first time, as a member of a Borge Ousland expedition, and four times as an expedition-leader/guide.


He was a rafting and mountain guide for two years in Sjoa river and Rondane.


He has extensive mountaineering experience in Norwegian mountains (summer and winter).


He has about 10 years' experience from expeditions and trips on Spitzbergen (summer and winter), filming Polar Bears, skiing, dog-sledding and guiding tourists.


His other activities include: kiting, climbing, rafting, caving, base jumping and parachuting.


John Huston
Amundsen Dog Sledder
Nationality: American
DOB: 14/09/76

Background: John was born and bred in Chicago. For the past five years he has trained and led month-long winter dog sled expeditions with Inuit and Polar Husky sled dogs for the Voyageur Outward Bound School, a wilderness expedition school based in Northern Minnesota.


He holds degrees in history, anthropology and geography and has also worked as an archaeologist in Denmark.


Dog sledding and expedition experience: John has spent the last five years mushing and training sled dogs and managing large freight-style huskies.


He has managed and trained a 50-dog kennel for the Voyageur Outward Bound School where many of the dogs are very similar to Greenland dogs.


He has led more than 20 winter dog sled expeditions of over a week in length and several month-long expeditions. All of these expeditions were entirely unsupported in which the only resources available were those in the dog sled.


He is a keen cross-country skier and has raced in several 50 km marathons, including the American Birkiebeiner.


Ketil Reitan
Amundsen Team Dog Musher
Nationality: Norwegian
D.O.B: 18/10/60

Background: Ketil was born in Norway but has also spent over six years living in the Inuit village of Kaktovik, Alaska.


He has spent time as a fisherman, carpenter and construction worker as well as running sled-dogs.


He now has a company, Alaskan Husky Tours, in Norway.


He is married to Evelyn Anguyak, who is Inuit and they have two children.


Experience: Ketil has taken part in the four longest dog races in the world: Iditarod, Alaska, 1,800 km, four times; Yukon Quest, 1,600 km, Whitehorse, Canada to Fairbanks, Alaska; Hope 91, 2,000 km, from Nome, Alaska to Anadyr, Russia; Finnmarkslopet, Norway 1,000 km.


His most important expedition was crossing northern Alaska from Ambler near the west coast to Aklavik in Canada, a distance of about 2,000 km which took 40 traveling days.


He relied solely on the land for food and fuel (for instance shooting caribou) and made all the equipment for the trip himself: a traditional 14-foot Alaskan basket sled, pyramid tent and sealskin anorak.


Harald Kippenes
Nationality: Norwegian
D.O.B: 16/11/73

Background: Harald is 31 and lives in Oslo where he has his own company organising tours in Norway.


He was born and raised in Bhutan, Himalaya, where his parents were missionaries and had built a school for blind children.


They moved to Norway when he was eight years old.


Harald seems to have inherited this altruistic streak and has devoted much of his time to the Norwegian Christian Church Aid organisation, working with young people with social disabilities and building an old people’s home.


For most of his working life, though, he has served in the Norwegian Naval Special Forces.


Whilst there, he undertook several operations abroad including Afghanistan and the Balkans.


He has also instructed US SEALS and British SAS in winter training in Norway.


Expeditions: Harald is a highly experienced telemark and cross-country skier, mountaineer and hill walker with a "never, ever give up" mentality.


He has led climbing expeditions to Bolivia and Cho Oyu, the sixth highest mountain in the world at 8,201m, and descended on telemark skis. He has also cycled from Norway to China.


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