Chris Lockyear is a 4th year engineering student at St. Catharine's College, Cambridge University in England. He travelled to Tanzania in 1997, where he succeeded in climbing Mt Kilimanjaro; to India in 1999 and to West Africa in 2000, where he worked for ten weeks.
We wanted to do something original and useful in a place that no-one had been to before. Greenland seemed like the idea location, as it is hugely unexplored, both scientifically and geographically. We did lots of research into the area to find out what hadn't been done and to decide what we could do that was both exciting and interesting.
He has completed the BMC-Conville course on Alpine safety and spent several weeks in the Alps. He has climbed Mont Blanc and trekked the Haute Route from Chamonix to Zermatt. Apart from his interest in climbing, he is a capable canoeist and an instructor in abseiling. He is an enthusiastic cyclist and rower.
Chris, how did you come up with the idea for this expedition? How were the members of the team chosen?
We worked out that to allow the expedition to be a success that we need 5 team members. These were chosen primarily because of their willingness to be committed to work hard both before the expedition and during it, but also because of their complimentary skills and experiences.
What role will each member of the team be playing during the expedition?
I, Chris (22) am the leader, and have been coordinating the planning and organisation since late in 2000, in the field. I am responsible for the scientific programme with Madeleine.
Madeleine (22) thought up the idea with myself, she has the arduous job of organising the logistics of the expedition. She has to arrange flights and connection and most importantly our food!
Natalie (23) is our treasurer, she has the job of organising our fundraising and keeping track of all the accounts. Natalie is the most experienced skier in the team and will play a leading role in our ski-trek.
Sam (21) is our mountain leader. As the most experience climber on the team he will lead the team as they climb up mountains that no-one has ever set foot on. He will lead the ascents and make the necessary decisions when we are on the mountain.
Derek (22) is responsible for publicity and medical issues. He is well-trained in expedition first aid. It was Derek who designed and created our website ( www.greenland2002.org.uk ).
Although we have specific roles, we have found that it is vital to help out each other whenever we can. Different team members have different pressures at different times, by being flexible, we can make sure that everything gets done!
What are some of your goals for the Greenland 2002 Expedition?
We hope to achieve a lot when we are in Greenland. Our aim is to study a glacier system well into the arctic circle, this will hopefully tell us about the make up of the ice, and we may be able to make suggestions as to how it might change with the world's climate. We also hope to map the rocks in the area so we can find out about the Geological history. Following this, we hope to climb four mountains that nobody has ever climbed before, and ski-trek for 200km down glaciers and ice-cap, before meeting up with a plane to take us home!
How are you preparing for the expedition? Is there anything special that needs to be done in advance of your leaving?
Where do you start? The biggest obstacle to get over is the fundraising, we are all students, so don't have a large source of income. We have been approaching companies and funds to cover our costs. So far it is going well, but we are not in the clear yet!!! We also need to freight out all our equipment to Iceland and onto Greenland ahead of us, because it is much less expensive to do this by boat than taking it on the plane with us. Finally, we have made sure that all of the members have the necessary skills, we have been training in the French Alps and Scotland!
When will the expedition start and how much ground so you expect it to cover?
The expedition will start at the beginning of July, 2002. We aim to spend three weeks at a basecamp on a glacier whilst carrying out our scientific work and following that four weeks to climb and ski to our pick-up point. When we are skiing we will need to travel south four 200km in around two weeks.
Where will the expedition be taking place and has this area ever been explored before?
The expedition will take place mainly in an area of Northeast Greenland called Louise Boyd Land. Although a handful of scientists have landed helicopters in the eastern half of Louise Boyd Land, they haven't spent any length of time there, certainly not sleeping there or climbing the mountains!
What advice would you give to a teen that was interested in setting out on an expedition of their own one-day?
Go for it - but don't rush into it! Expeditions can be very rewarding and exciting, for the team members and others, but they can also be challenging and need to be thought out carefully. Decide what you want to do and do everything you can to achieve it - if people laugh at you, ignore them!
At what age did you become interested in becoming an explorer?
I think that we've all always been interested in exploring - who hasn't? We are lucky to have a team whose members have always pursued their dreams and are ready to work hard to turn them into a reality.
Are there many teenager explorers and if so can you tell us about some of them?
Most teenagers find that the best way to explore is through organisations or clubs, or maybe schools and universities. This way you get a sense of the skills you need and the experience to then go on and organise an expedition independently. There are many such organisations. In the United Kingdom the British Schools Exploration Society (BSES), helps many young people each year become explorers. Or there is the Brathay Exploration Group. In the US a good place to start would be the Young Explorers Trust.
What kind of explorations can a teenager become involved in and how would they go about it?
Some people say that an expedition is any journey or trip that has a purpose behind it. Essentially you can do anything that excites you, you don't have to walk to the South Pole or climb the highest mountain, if you have something that you want to do and you think it is important then that is enough! Your expedition can involve any range of activities, from walking, climbing, sailing, research or helping other people. What you do need is a good team that will work together and get along with each other in a strange place away from home.
Don't be put off by what might seem like insurmountable obstacles. There are many funds available to get you started and people who can give you advice. It is worth spending a bit of time searching the net to find an organisation that may be able to help.
Chris, we greatly appreciate your taking the time to do this interview for our TeenFX users. We wish you every success in your expedition. Good luck to you and your group ! We will be following your progress on www.greenland2002.org.uk