PRESS RELEASE - 4 PEOPLE 6 LEGS
In April 2014, four adventurers will attempt to snow-kite across Vatnajökull in Iceland, Europe’s largest icecap.
This vast, uninhabited, frozen landscape is subject to extreme weather conditions and limited visibility, terrifying sink holes, crevasses and live Volcanoes at every turn.
Already an expedition of epic scale, this challenge is made even more ambitious by the fact that team member Sean Rose has a spinal cord injury, and is confined to a wheelchair. Never before has a disabled athlete crossed Vatnajökull, let alone exclusively by the power of the wind!
The team are all regular people, who not only want to overcome a personal challenge and realise a long held dream, but also raise awareness of the pioneering work of Wings for Life Spinal Cord Research Foundation, a charity who are committed to the ambitious goal of finding a cure for spinal injury.
Wings for Life fund promising research projects and clinical trials focused on how to minimise damage, stimulate repair and restore function after an injury to the spinal cord has been sustained. Someone suffers a spinal cord injury in the UK every eight hours, and their life changes forever. They have no choice but to adapt to their paralysis, as there is currently no treatment to repair the injured spinal cord.
Robert first dreamt up the idea for this Icelandic expedition in 2005, and since then he and Kieron have been exploring the smaller glaciers by snow-kite. On meeting Sean in 2010, the discussions become more serious. Vatnajökull, the big one, was calling, and after three years of tireless work the team are finally ready to make the challenge a reality.
One of the biggest obstacles that had to be overcome early in the project was this: exactly how would a paraplegic athlete be able to snow-kite? Our specially engineered rig had to be designed from the ground up, prototyped, and thoroughly tested, to make sure it allowed Sean the same freedom and independence on snow as his able-bodied team mates. May 2013 saw the final proof of concept as Sean comprehensively demonstrated that he could keep up with, and often outpace, his team-mates on the snow. And now the team are ready to make this challenge happen!
Our journey has been amazing so far, and we’d really like you to join us to see its spectacular conclusion!
Sean Rose (Cambridgeshire)
Sean suffered a devastating spinal cord injury as a result of a skiing accident in 2000 and was left paralysed from the waist down. Since then he has gone on to twice compete in the Winter Paralympics as a downhill ski racer, become a medal winner at the Winter X-Games, and a World Champion Water Skier. Sean is a living embodiment of how to triumph over adversity, and never admits defeat.
Mike Dann (West Yorkshire)
Mike is an inveterate explorer who likes nothing more than challenging himself in extreme conditions. His experience in leading expeditions to the magnetic North Pole, Mt Elbrus and Greenland makes him the ideal expedition leader for the 4 People 6 Legs mission.
Kieron Jansch (London)
Kieron is a kite-maker and film-maker, and has been involved in kite-sports of all kinds for over 20 years. From kite-buggying to snow-kiting, Kieron has done it all, and filmed it all. He taught Sean his first moves as a power-kiter, and it was Kieron who collaborated with Sean in designing the early prototypes of the snow-kiting rig Sean now uses so successfully.
Robert Brown (London)
Robert is an avid kite-surfer and snow-kiter, and has been organising kiting tours on the glaciers of Iceland for nearly ten years. He has long harboured a desire to cross Vatnajökull and his years of research into the idea mean he is the perfect person to handle the logistics of the expedition.
More Info at : www.4people6legs.com