From the Back Cover
On 28 May 2000, explorer David Hempleman-Adams took off from Spitzbergen in Norway on what would be a record-breaking flight to the North Pole. The contents of his balloon's fragile wicker basket included enough liquid oxygen to allow him to endure the high altitudes, an inflatable raft plus forty days worth of emergency rations. He knew that if he survived the week ahead he would be the first man ever to have reached the North Pole by balloon, but not the first to have tried.
Indeed, Hempleman-Adams's journey was of great emotional significance. That he chose to fly in a wicker basket, rather than in the hi-tech sealed capsule favoured by round-the-world balloonists today, was in homage to an earlier - and tragic -expedition. In 1897, three Swedes - Salomon Andre, Nils Strindberg and Knut Frænkel - tried for the Pole but only days into their attempt freezing fog brought them down on the pack ice. Fighting off polar bears, loneliness, despair and the bitter cold, they managed to survive for three months. It would be thirty-three years before their bodies were found.
At the Mercy of the Winds tells the extraordinary, compelling stories of both journeys. Alone in the skies above the frozen and harshly beautiful landscape, David Hempleman-Adams battled against the elements to fulfil the dream of those pioneers a century earlier - to become the first man to balloon to the North Pole.
About the Author
David Hempleman-Adams was born in Swindon, Wiltshire, in 1956. His interest in adventuring was inspired by the Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme, of which he is a gold medalist. In 1998 he became the first person to complete the explorers' Grand Slam, a challenge that has seen him conquer the North and South Geographical and Magnetic Poles and scale the highest mountain in each of the seven continents, including Everest. A businessman by profession but an adventurer by preference, he lives near Bath with his wife and three daughters. Robert Uhlig, who wrote At the Mercy of the Winds with David Hempleman-Adams, is the Technology Correspondent of the Daily Telegraph in London. In 1998 he accompanied David Hempleman-Adams and Rune Gjeldnes to the Canadian High Arctic to document their trek to the North Pole in Walking on Thin Ice. He is also the author of The Daily Telegraph James Dyson's History of Inventions. He lives in Cornwall with his partner and young son.