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News > Mayfield School News > Mayfield Geographers Link to Arctic Alaska

Mayfield Geographers Link to Arctic Alaska

Polar explorer Alex Hibbert spoke to the girls about conditions on the North Coast of Alaska

The School were delighted to be able to set up a live satellite link from Arctic Alaska this week with polar explorer and author, Alex Hibbert. Despite the temperature of -20 ° impacting heavily on battery life, Alex was able to chat with pupils for 30 minutes in a session that was hosted by Mr Gough and attended by Year 8 and Sixth Form Geographers. Alex answered questions about his forthcoming expedition that will take him across 600 miles of the Alaska North Coast. Covering around 8-10 miles a day at the start of the trek and 15-20 miles per day towards the end when the sledges are lighter, the expedition is expected to take around five to seven weeks in temperatures of around -25° to -36°.

Having received an interactive briefing document before the call, the girls had many excellent questions for Alex about the environment, native peoples and wildlife of Alaska. They learned that staying dry was vital to survival. Interestingly, none of the hi-tech clothing he takes is waterproof, but everything is windproof. He also explained that, as well as packing additional supplies in case of delays, good navigational skills were key as there is little sun, few features in the landscape and poor visibility. In response to a question about whether school was useful, he replied that the academic and extra-curricular skills you learn in school do have a practical application in real life. He also encouraged the pupils to keep their academic options broad to give them maximum choice for as long as possible – English and modern languages are as vital as sciences, even to an arctic explorer. They also learned that Alex’s preferred breakfast is a litre of creamy hot chocolate - made with two sachets - to rehydrate and energise him at the start of the day.

For those who are keen to learn more about life as a polar explorer, we will be welcoming Alex back to Mayfield in person on Tuesday 27th September 2022 as one of our Cornelian Lecture speakers.

 Mrs Amanda Glubb, Head of Careers

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