Following in the footsteps of a 1920s expedition to the Arctic

Written by Tony Millett on .

James Lam & team member during the SPITZBERGEN RETRACED expedition James Lam & team member during the SPITZBERGEN RETRACED expedition In a talk in aid of the Kempson Rosedale Enterprise Trust, James Lam will be telling the story of his recent expedition Spitzbergen Retraced at the Theatre on the Hill, Marlborough on Friday, September 22 at 7.30.


“All of the big trips that I have been on so far ", says James, "have had very personal aims - to climb a mountain or complete a trek.  I feel that this expedition represented more than that, with the strong historical links to the 1923 expedition and the chance to make a contribution to the scientific community by collecting new data.”


James Lam went of his first trip to the Alps when he was a pupil at Marlborough College - led by Rupert Rosedale.  Since then he has never looked back.  Assisted by the Kempson Trust, he completed a climbing course in Chamonix and became President of the Oxford University Climbing Club. He has climbed and travelled extensively.   


James Lam in Spitzbergen James Lam in Spitzbergen But what was the particular draw of Svalbard?


While at Oxford James learned about the 1923 expedition by exploring the archives of the Oxford University Exploration Club.  A team led by George Binney went to the Arctic, circumnavigated Svalbard and made the first East-to-West crossing of the East Spitzbergen ice cap - where they made a detailed topological survey.


Among Binney's was Andrew Irvine whose name became well known when he disappeared on Mount Everest with George Mallory.


After nine months planning James and his team repeated the ice cap crossing achieved by the 1923 expedition, took photos and re-measured glaciers. They found the remains of one of Binney's original camps and repeated more than twenty of the original 1923 photographs. They are now in the process of publishing papers on their scientific findings.


Tickets available on the door: Adults £10.00 - school students free. The talk will start at 7.30pm. Bar opens 6.30pm.