Tuesday, 02 March 2010 15:15

Now onboard Final Flight

Irish adventurers Pat Falvey, Dr. Clare O’Leary and John Dowd have early this morning Canada time (Tuesday 2 March 2010) departed from Resolute to complete a historical and icy voyage as they navigate, walk, ski, and swim for two months on a 784 km expedition of endurance. Man-hauling their sleds across the rugged, broken, melting Arctic Ocean from Canada, they plan to be the first Irish team to reach the North Pole without the aid of dogs or any mechanical means.

Having spent the past 22 days training in YellowKnife and Resolute on the North West Passage in Canada, the Irish team are now on there way to the start of their Journey at Ward Hunt for their 60 day trek to the North Pole.

“We are very concerned at the ice condition at the moment having had satellite images showing the thin ice and large open leads. The team are confident but we won't underestimate the conditions,” says Pat Falvey, “through cold down to -50 degrees Celsius.”

Following several postponed flight over the last week in both Yellowknife and Resolute, the team are now boarded and flying north with gear weighing hundreds of kilo's packed into their chartered Twin Otter aircraft following a green light for take-off this morning. Weather in Ward hunt had been unstable over the last two days grounding their final flight.

" We are go, just boarding the plane now and hope to start skiing later on tonight (2nd March Canada time, 3rd March Irish time), ice conditions are improving somewhat with sea conditions stablising also as we move away from the recent full moon. Clare, John and myself are nervous but confident." Pat said over Satellite conversation with Operations manager Niall Foley at lunch time today.

The teams progress can be tracked at News section on PatFalvey.com.

Press and Media centre also available on PatFalvey.com - Contact Operations Manager, Niall Foley on This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or +353 861697388 for access.

Published in North Pole 2010
Friday, 26 February 2010 16:07

Frustration in Yellowknife over

Were off, at least from YellowKnife in the North West Territories and in a way I felt sad leaving. Over the past 17 days there we made many good friends and were welcomed with open arms. I must pay a special Thanks to Matt Mossen  and all his partners that help out over our period there, it really made life a lot easier for us as a team.

One frustration finished
Now at least one frustration is over, we got a weather window and our Chartered, Dornier 228 took off on a five hour 850 mile flight to Resolute at 16;00 today with all of our gear onboard. This is an amazing aircraft, I even got the chance to fly it  for a hour up thanks to Dave. For me another first and a fantastic unexpected treat. 

We have shared the charter with Richard Webber a good friend of mine and his team helping all of us reduce the cost, its an expensive process chartering planes to get to these remote areas. (If your interested in knowing a little bit about Resolute I'll do it on another new Item.)

Pat Flying PlaneThe Flight to Resolute
Packed into the Dornier 228 we were briefed on the safety regulations by one of our two pilots. "There are five emergency exits and just to let you know our flying time today will be 5 hours and I hope you all went to the toilet before leaving as there are no toilets facilities on board.   But we do have pee bags, but as you see if you want to go there is no privacy.

There is no food service on Board but we do have a lunch pack for all of you. Well thats expedition life.

teaminplaneuse26febOver the next five hours we flew over the wilds of Canada, beautiful remote and rugged. On route we passed two mines a gold and a diamond mine and I was made aware of the fact that to get to them Canada's first ice roads were formed and was how ice road truckers series started filming trucks going to these mines. The remoteness of where they were situated blew my mind away.

Well, it was five hours flying as they said and no toilet and I held me pee all the way from  YellowKnife and by the time we landed I was bursting and nearly had to  wet my pants. God was I relieved when we got to our destination. I though once I started I'd never stop.

We said farewell to our pilots and headed for our hotel for a nights sleep.

Condition in Resolute was calm after a four day blow out with no planes landing and yes it was reasonably  cold. - 30 degree Celsius. We look forward to what a new day will bring. Packing, checking and rechecking, some training and finding out the schedule for our next departure to our starting point.

We are now on a countdown to go. We were scheduled to start standby for the final flight to Ward Hunt on Sunday, not sure just yet if the delays will continue but now that we are in Resolute we will update Niall back at base as soon as we can.

Published in North Pole 2010
Monday, 12 November 2007 00:00

Only 1100km to go!

Camp name – Niall Foley
Date: 12/11/07
Position: S80.04.999, W080.33.044
Temperature: -10
Weather: sun and a 20kt wind
Distance to Pole: 1107km

The most incredible flight took us from Chile to Patriot Hills on Antarctica a distance of 3000km. From the ‘bomb’ sighting windows on the underbelly of the plane, the Antarctic peninsula looked like we were flying on a different planet. Our Russian pilots were very professional and put us down safely on the 3km blue ice runway in conditions most would consider unsafe.

We sorted our gear yet again, then made camp. During the night we had some of the worst katabatic winds Patriot Hills has ever seen. Gusts of over 60knts destroyed Joel’s tent, a member of the South African team (ours have performed brilliantly). The winds continued through all of the day and so all flights to our start point, Hercules Inlet were postponed. This gave us a day to sleep, relaxation, practice our camp craft and mingle with the other teams. Temperature here is about -15c don’t want to think what the windchill is.

Woke up this morning to blue sky, moderate winds, Mike Sharp said our flight to the start point would be at 11:00am, we were the 1st expedition to the inlet. The flight in the small ski equipped Twin Otter was exhilarating and after 5 attempts at landing we were safely down. The snow is very wind blown here and so the amazing Canadian pilots would just barely touch down and if the snow was too rough, they would throttle up and find somewhere else to land. A quick goodbye and the plane was gone and suddenly we had started our long walk to the pole, we had arrived at Hercules Inlet on the edge of the continent, 1100km to go.

We think it should take us 3 days to ski the 50km back to Patriot Hills, but we will take it easy, we need to get used to the skiing, sleds, the cold, and the food it has only been 2 months since we got off the Greenland icecap.

The 4 sleds, the James Caird, The Dudley Docker, Stancomb Wills and Jack have performed well, especially across the dry and crystaline snow that we have had today. Now we are tucked up in our tents, fed and watered, recouperating for the long day ahead tomorrow.
Published in South Pole 2007-08
Tuesday, 23 October 2007 00:00

Final Phase to be filmed

Phase 1 – Crossing South Georgia will air on RTE from today for the next 4 weeks. We will be shooting the South Pole documentary and are hoping that RTE will continue to support us by commissioning our next phase of fulfilling Shackleton’s dream of reaching the South Pole and Beyond.

Pat and Jonathon will be documenting the expedition in HDV film format.

Niall Foley worked on selecting equipment and supplies from heatpacks, all weather housing, camera setup and a crash course in filming techniques. www.niallfoley.ie
Published in South Pole 2007-08
Thursday, 11 October 2007 00:00

Press release on Beyond Endurance TV series

BEYOND ENDURANCE

“Explorers wanted: ordinary men and women wanted for an extraordinary adventure”. 700 intrigued Irish men and women responded to this advertisement in the press. BEYOND ENDURANCE is a four-part series that follows this group of wannabe explorers as they attempt to make it through the selection trials and go to the harsh Antarctic terrain of South Georgia in their attempt to follow in the footsteps of Sir Ernest Shackleton.

In 1916, Sir Ernest Shackleton led an expedition to Antarctica to reach the South Pole. His expedition fell foul of the treacherous conditions of the Weddell Sea and the journey turned into an epic battle for survival in one of the harshest environments in the world. 90 years on, in the anniversary year, renowned adventurer Pat Falvey plans to take a group of enthusiastic but vastly inexperienced explorers on a trip to Antarctica to follow in Shackleton’s footsteps. BEYOND ENDURANCE will provide the ultimate in reality TV as it takes a cast of ordinary people doing extraordinary things in some of the most dramatic landscapes in the world. This series will offer viewers an accessible but surprising television experience as they witness the transformation of ordinary people from couch potatoes to hardened travelers, pushing themselves to limits they never thought possible.

The commitment is a leap into the unknown. For a start, anyone wanting to take part has to hand over €15,000. They also have to take part on a number of trials which take place in Co. Kerry, and Norway. Using an observational approach, the series will see them struggle with both the elements and their own physical limitations to learn the outdoor skills necessary to survive in the Antarctic.

A number of unlikely candidates step forward. Mary Casey, a 56 year old mother of four, from the Innishowen Peninsula of Donegal. They say a women of my age should know better, I say that it’s because I’m a woman my age I know better, do it better, and relish the challenge!
Cliff Reid from Athy, Co Kildare, a student with serious fundraising needs. “I come from Shackleton’s home town, and felt we should have a representative. No one came forward so I gave up the fags and the drink, and decided to see if I could make a go of it myself…”

Retired fireman Jerry Aherne, from Cork. Sporting a handlebar moustache and a copy of ‘Unsung Hero’, the book about the life of explorer Tom Crean, he leapt at the chance to emulate his heroes. “I want to know what these men endured, and I want to find out if I am up to the physical and mental challenge. “

Expedition leader Pat Falvey started out life in the construction industry, eventually swapping his concrete mixer for a set of crampons. He has summated Everest twice and completed over 50 successful expeditions across the world. Falvey has put his house on the line to guarantee the huge costs associated with this madcap scheme. He has made commitments. A ship capable of withstanding the most inhospitable seas has been chartered and now Falvey must run a successful expedition to cover his costs. He needs to recoup over half a million Euro, or he goes bust.

The training for and expedition to South Georgia, which the series follows, is only part of the overall Beyond Endurance Expedition. Pat and the rest of the team are to complete the expedition's final objective by skiing to the South Pole and beyond. They leave Ireland on the 1st of November and will spend at least 60 days on the Ice.

This will be the ultimate reality TV show that sends people quite literally to the end of the earth…

The series was filmed in High Definition using Sony cameras by Steve O'Reilly and Niall Foley and is produced by Karen Rodgers of PANACHE TELEVISION for RTE. Four half-hour documentaries will be shown weekly on RTE 1 at 7pm, beginning on 23rd October.

Published in Past Projects
Wednesday, 08 August 2007 00:00

RTE release new season

its finally on our screens, well kinda. RTE have just released their upcoming schedule of programming for Autumn/Winter. The new 4 part Beyond Endurance reality documentary leads the way for their factual programmes which should be aired in late October for 4 weeks. Look out for RTE guide review and will feature on RTE previews closer the air date. Further info and video promo's are available here. http://www.rte.ie/tv/newseason/ Thanks to Steve O Reilly and Karen Rodgers from Panache television for delivering the goods after nearly 2 years of production. Well done!! I remember the day i met Steve in Dublin and we then discussed the expedition with Pat and its grown from there. Thanks especially to Pat and all the team members for having the dream and doing the dream.
Published in Past Projects
The final day

We woke to very bright weather and had breakfast on the boil, by the way it dosen't get dark fully. We inspected the snow shelter that Enda and Domhnall had stayed in. A good share had stayed out also to experience the night time vibe. As we were on group one, we were filmimg as we went through a section we had the previous day and on with our crampons. Across a fairly steep mixed snow/rocky section on to a col which led onwards and up to fantastic peak about a kilometre away. We headed up the steep part and on to the summit section were we all had another Irish joyous celebration. Myself and Steve were filming as we went and on the way back got some classic footage of the team squashing the snow shelter before heading out of the glacier and back to Oslo the following day.

We would like to take this oppurtunity to thank all involved in the Norway trip. Our friends and excellent trainers Rolf, Bjorn, Dave, Ivor, Sigur, also Katie, Donal, Geraldine and anyone else who was at helps hand.

~ Niall Foley
Published in Beyond Endurance 2006
3 day back Pack Day 2

We woke to beautiful weather again, and headed for the hills gradually gaining height, our first stop included a mexican wave as we all adjusted our layers and gear. We pushed on up the valley passing blue lakes frozen since last Autumn and found our rhytym. The team was broken up in to sub groups of 4-6 members before we left Krossbu again simulating the needs for Sth Georgia. We skirted off and up some steep ground on to a crest where we had lunch and discussed where we were the day before in the deep snow, we could see it about 4km away.

Jerry Aherne had his Harmonica and kept us in tune as an overall team.. Thanks Jerry. After crossing a 30 degree snow slope we entered a glacier again and roped up. This one leading up to a steep section and over a pass. We came over the top to a stunning panorama as we were at the top of the glacier, here we marked out a safe campsite on the ice and set up our tents. As there were a few hours left in the day, we left to tackle a few small summits surrounding the campsite which were very impressive. Thanks Eithne for putting on the boil while were away!!
Published in Beyond Endurance 2006
3 day back Pack

After a late-ish night for some, an early start with all gear required for the 2 nights in the elements. Packing gear is an art in its self, but given practise can reward you with an evenly balanced comfortable ride when walking over long distance. After approaching the glacier on snow shoes we roped up and continued in to an abyss of dense fog. This ideal environment for training was received with a reminder that the shit can hit the fan very quickly and requires expert knowledge to survive and arrive at our next campsite. We exited the fog as we approached the Bear pass where we had a break. Down a steep section of deep snow was a challenge to most of us. With every step down about 2 feet meaning 3-4 kg of snow to lift back up!! We got down and on to more favourable ground, but it seemed the pressure had alredy hit hom e for some. The campsite near to the unoccupied Liervassbu hut was a mix of evening sun and humour as we snuggled into our -25c bags after a ...some braving to stay outside!!
Published in Beyond Endurance 2006

With the weather on our side we headed for a climb in preparation for our 3 day back pack. We all shuffled out with crampons, snow shoeing, axe, some layers, camera, food, water and loads of sunscreen. The landscape here in Jontunheimen is absolutely stunning, especially when you start to gain height from 1500m to 2000m. We started on foot, then on to show shoes and finally leaving our shoes for crampons to attempt a summit of our first Norwegian 2000m..Brilliant

Niall Foley

Published in Beyond Endurance 2006
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