Hugh Pickens writes "Satellites have shown how the Arctic sea-ice has been shrinking in recent years, but a three-man scientific team making an expedition to the North Pole should give scientists a better idea of how thin the ice is becoming. 'We're making the surface journey because that's the only way we have of gathering these direct observations of how thick the snow and the ice is,' said team leader Pen Hadow, who in 2003 became the first person to trek solo and without support from Canada to the North Pole. 'That's what the scientists really need to know.' There is more at stake for the British team than achieving some invented personal goal: 'The journey's going to be about 700 miles in distance, taking about three months,' said Hadow. 'In the earlier phases, the temperatures are about minus 50 degrees ... And we're towing sledges with our camping equipment and our survey equipment — almost twice our body weights — for most of the distance.'"