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U.S. Woman, British Team Both Abandon North Pole Treks

March 28, 1988

TORONTO (AP) _ An American woman attempting a solo hike to the North Pole and a British team making a similar trek without sled dogs or snowmobiles abandoned their dreams Sunday because of foul weather.

Pam Flowers of Willow, Alaska, gave up her second bid to become the first woman to travel alone to the pole after facing unstable weather, losing her glasses in a fall and two uneasy confrontations with a polar bear, according to Rudy Kellar. He is base manager for Bradley Air Service at Resolute in Canada’s Northwest Territories.

Kellar said that also on Sunday, three members of a British team led by Sir Ranulph Fiennes were picked up by a plane after traveling only 36 miles in more than three weeks,

Fiennes, 43, and his companions were attempting to become the first people to walk to the pole without the aid of sled dogs, motorized transport or airlifted supplies. It was his second attempt.

Fiennes, suffering frostbite in two toes, gave up because ″weather conditions were absolutely horrific,″ Penny Studholme, a spokesman for the expedition, said in London.

She said storms and extreme swings in temperature loosened pack ice, making it ″like glue″ for the the team struggling with sleds loaded with supplies.

The adventurers had set out March 10 to walk the 410 miles to the pole from their base camp at Ward Hunt Island, 1,200 above the Arctic Circle. Fiennes was accompanied on the hike by Mike Stroud and Oliver Shephard.

Ms. Flowers, 43, had been traveling a route parallel to the British team’s, using sled dogs.

She was picked up by a plane after traveling 12 miles north of Ward Hunt Island at the northern tip of Ellesmere Island. She had abandoned a similar attempt last year.

Kellar said a polar bear wandered into her camp twice, ripping up her tent at one point, and her three sled dogs drove off the bear with their howling.

Radio messages received by the British base camp said Ms. Flowers fell from an ice ridge on Thursday, and she was knocked unconscious and broke her glasses. Kellar said the loss of the glasses was a factor in her decision to call off the trip.

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