The team are extremely grateful to the many people who made this project possible:
Sam Cornish, Joe Cornish and Daniel Bergmann for their logistical support prior to the icecap crossing.
Dr. Arwyn Edwards, Dr. Tom Ellis and Ingeborg Klarenberg for their support and scientific expertise.
Mark Walker from Exped Adventure for sharing his polar skills.
The trustees of the expedition boards for their support of this project and their invaluable advice.
Countless friends and family who encouraged us along the way.
We set out to retrace the route of the 1932 Cambridge expedition to Vatnajökull, Iceland. After travelling 200km unguided and unsupported in some of Europe's harshest and most remote terrain, we completed a double traverse of our continent's largest icecap and explored the volcanic desert on the Northern edge of the icecap.
We revisited key locations along the 1932 expedition route. Our visits to the same towns and villages allowed us to meet some of the descendants of those who engaged with the original team and our visits to the same icecap locations allowed us to retake their photographs and rediscover historical artefacts that they left behind.
In the 1932 spirit of scientific research, to our knowledge we became the first team to conduct fully off-grid DNA sequencing in a polar-style environment. Combined, we were able to conduct 24+ hrs of continual sequencing, 11 days into the expedition using solar power alone. This opens the door for future unsupported expeditions to gain a much greater insight into the microbial life that exists in the most remote and extreme parts of our planet.
Much more information on this can be found here.
Using a drone and specialised software, it has been possible to create 3D maps of key scientific and historical locations on the icecap.
Permission for all drone flights was obtained from the Vatnajökull National Park prior to the expedition.
Climbing prominent peaks in the Kverkfjöll mountain range gave awe-inspiring views of the stark landscape below.
We will be producing a film to communicate our scientific and historical findings to a wider audience.
Watch this space for further information.
If you are interested in finding out more about our expedition or conducting an expedition of your own, please get in touch:
Expedition planning/general enquiries: oliver.vince94 [at] gmail [dot] com
Nanopore sequencing: glgowers [at] gmail [dot] com
Enquiries the others can't answer: johnhenry.charles [at] gmail [dot] com