Former Seven Kings pupils makes history on ice cap

A former Seven Kings High School student has become one of the first British people to successfully cross a Canadian ice cap.

Vijay Shah, 29, made the 18-day expedition earlier this month with team-mates Antony Jinman and Duncan Eadie.

They became the first team to ski unassisted across the Penny Ice Cap in Canada’s remote Baffin Island, but were second time lucky in their attempt.

“We had tried to do it in 2008 but I had to stop because my feet became frozen,” said Mr Shah.

“But this time we were much more prepared. We had extra warm sleeping bags, as we were sleeping in temperatures of -30C (-22F),” he added.


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The engineer, who is originally of Argyle Road, Ilford, and has been working and living in France for two years, has taken on many expeditions. But he found this was the hardest.

“The glacier we crossed is a quarter of the size of Wales and 600m deep,” he said.

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“It has been said it was once the ice that covered north America, and is left over from the Ice Age.”

His team-mate Duncan fell through the ice on one occasion and plunged into the freezing water of the ocean, but the team battled on to the finish.

But this was not the only moment the team ventured into potentially hazardous terrain.

“We were going to go to the top of the ice cap, but our food was running low, as we had taken just enough for a limited number of days.

“We didn’t know what we were going into, as we could have got stuck up there and run out of food.

“That was the only moment where we questioned everything.

“It’s very scary when you are faced with that reality,” he added.

During the expedition, they also explored a new access route for others wishing to take part in the trek in the future.

The team kept photos and videos of their journey, which they put online at http://vijayshah.net/blog/

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