most northerly cocktail party close up

A group of explorers with a shared passion for protecting the planet braved Arctic temperatures to host the most northerly cocktail party.

Friends Sadie Whitelocks, Felicity Aston MBE, Dr Laura Thomas (all UK), Julie Moniere (France), and Edel Kieran (Ireland), trekked to 78°46′04″N in Canada to share a drink on the frozen surface of the Arctic Ocean on 21 April.

It was all part of their B.I.G. Arctic Research Expedition, led by polar explorer Felicity, which sees team members making ski journeys across the Arctic region to collect valuable scientific data about the ice and snow.

Their website states: “The Arctic region is experiencing climate and environmental change more rapidly than anywhere else on the planet, meaning our opportunity to measure and record many of the unique Arctic landscapes and processes which are fundamental to so much of the world’s climate systems has never been more vital or more urgent.”

From left Sadie Whitelocks, Julie Moniere, Felicity Aston MBE, Dr Laura Thomas and Edel Kieran

B.I.G. stands for Before It’s Gone.

Travel journalist Sadie told us: “There are many risks involved with travel around the north pole including extreme weather, polar bears and falling into frozen water.”

The unique cocktail party was staged to mark the end of the group’s scientific project that launched in 2021 to study the impact of climate change on Arctic Sea ice.

The group travelled to the isolated spot via Resolute Bay in Canada, stopping to set up the bash around 25 km (15.5 mi) north of the 1996-certified magnetic North Pole to conduct research.

glasses raised at the most northerly cocktail party

They spent 17 hours collecting ice and snow samples before serving up canapés and pre-mixed cocktails like negronis and margaritas in the -24C temperatures.

The gang even wore cocktail dresses for the occasion.

“It was extremely cold, but the cold was quite refreshing having not showered for a week,” Sadie said.

“It was a great accomplishment and memories to cherish.”

table being set up for most northerly cocktail party

Felicity added: “The party was a unique way to celebrate the end of a four-year scientific expedition project. We might have been there tackling the very serious subject of environmental change but who says you can’t have a little fun along the way!

We did really well not to shiver all our cocktail out of the glasses while taking the photo. It’s hard to accurately describe how this kind of cold feels. 

“The cocktails were strong but even so they were freezing faster than we could drink them and our lips were freezing to the glass with every sip! I’ve run some risks in the polar regions before, but this is the first time they have involved canapés and cocktail attire!”

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