Moore maps plans for Arctic conquest in chilly vodka bar

Once you've climbed volcanoes in Kamchatka, taken trips to Chilean Patagonia, explored Tibet and the remote parts of Africa, and cycled around Krygystan, the only vacation spot left is the North Pole. Or so Alex Moore, Web Guru's managing director, tells Diary.

While roaring arctic winds, huddling in a fragile tent to catch a few winks (while the sun refuses to set below the horizon) and dragging around a 60kg sledge for 11 hours a day, with nothing between you and an alien landscape of snow, ice and desolation, isn't Diary's view of R&R (give me the beach and a Pina Colada any day), it was the trip of a lifetime for Moore, who along with his group also raised HK$150,000 for eyesight charity Orbis (to establish an eye care centre in rural China).

Fresh from an 18-day expedition with his ice warrior team - which included Web Guru's David Jessop, expedition photographer Brice Minnigh and explorer Stephen Wright - a bewildered Moore recounts the punishing journey, which sounds more like a scene out of the film Groundhog Day.

"You'd crash in the tent, get up, make a cup of tea and start walking. You'd see nothing but ice everyday, not even an ant (sadly, too, not a polar bear in sight). It was like repeating the same day over and over."

Led by a 53-year-old, "tough-as-nails" Czech guide, the travellers took a Russian cargo jet from Longyearbyen in Norway to the Barneo ice bace. From there, it was a helicopter ride to the 89th degree.

The journey, says Moore, was punishing, not only because of the bleak surrounding and temperatures of minus 50 degrees.

"We got to the Pole and it got very hot, about minus nine when, of course, the ice started cracking. Dave fell in and we had some hairy moments."

As for training, the team locked itself in a Russian restaurant, Balalaika, which has a room set at minus 25 for 12 hours.

The room, incidentally, is a vodka bar. Quips Moor; "It was fun - we managed to sample the vodka too."


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