Who's Who ... and Who's Doing What ... in the World of Expeditions. (Geographical Expedition Special)

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Sir Chris Bonington

AGE: 68

PROFESSION: Author, photographer and lecturer

FIRST EXPEDITION: British Army expedition to Annapurna II in 1960 that made the first ascent of the 7,937-metre Himalayan peak.

HOW DID YOU GET INVOLVED? I started climbing at 16 and first went to the Alps in 1956. After a spell as a regular officer in the army I was seconded to its Outward Bound School and invited to join Annapurna II team.

MOST RECENT EXPEDITION: Climbing several unexplored peaks in the 6,000-metre Arganglas Mountains in Ladakh.

NEXT EXPEDITION: Oman, 2003, to make rock-climbing first ascents of steep limestone walls.

GREATEST EXPEDITION MOMENT: Reaching the southwest summit of Shivling in the Gangotri Range of the Himalaya, after a five-day ascent.

WHAT SKILLS DO YOU NEED TO SUCCEED ON AN EXPEDITION? Patience, determination, team spirit and a sense of humour.

WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO THOSE PLANNING AN EXPEDITION? Know yourself and know when to turn back.

Caroline Hamilton

AGE: 35

PROFESSION: Film financier

FIRST EXPEDITION: In 1997, as leader of the first all-women expedition to reach the North Pole. I organised it with Pen Hadow of the Polar Travel Company to appeal to `ordinary' women.

HOW DID YOU GET INVOLVED? Pen Hadow inspired me to do it.

LATEST EXPEDITION: In 2002 I sledged across the Arctic Ocean from Canada to the North Pole.

NEXT EXPEDITION: Not sure. For now, I'm back at work and resting.

GREATEST EXPEDITION MOMENT: To achieve an objective. I feel very privileged to have succeeded on every polar expedition I have attempted.

SCARIEST MOMENT ON AN EXPEDITION: Being caught in a storm on the ice a few days into this year's expedition to the North Pole. It was -45[degrees]C and we couldn't get the tent up in the 100kmph winds. We spent 48 hours lying under the tent fabric, being buried alive by drifting snow and hoping that the storm would stop.

WHAT DO YOU ALWAYS TAKE WITH YOU ON AN EXPEDITION! Team-mates whom I trust completely.

Benedict Allen

AGE: 42

PROFESSION: Author and TV documentary maker

FIRST EXPEDITION: When I was 22, I crossed from the mouth of the Orinoco to the mouth of the Amazon. I realised the key to my future solo ventures would be to learn from indigenous people who lived in such environments.

HOW DID YOU GET INVOLVED IN EXPLORATION? I surveyed a volcano in Costa Rica with the Brathay organisation which proved to be a stepping stone, After university expeditions to Brunei and Iceland gave me planning experience and confidence. I worked in a warehouse to raise enough funds for my first solo venture.

LAST EXPEDITION: 2001, a 1,600-kilometre journey through Siberia with dogs. Despite the worst winter in living memory and frostbite before I began, I gained the dogs' trust enough to master the team and travel alone in a potentially hostile environment.

WHAT IS THE BEST ADVICE TO OTHERS PLANNING AN EXPEDITION? Focus--think what you ultimately want to achieve and don't get distracted.

Bruce Parry

AGE: 33

PROFESSION: Documentary cameraman

FIRST EXPEDITION: Trekking solo with my dog in the Lake District age 13. Myaim was to climb ten of the high peaks while sleeping rough in barns. I lasted a week and got so hungry that I shared some of the dog food.

HOW DID YOU GET INVOLVED IN EXPEDITIONS? My school ran annual adventure training trips in the UK on which I did some great treks and overnight camps. The Royal Marines taught me how to organise myself in tougher environments, after which I was lucky enough to lead back-to-back expeditions for Trekforce to various parts of Indonesia.

LATEST EXPEDITION: Building an orang-utan feeding platform in Borneo for the BBC's Serious Jungle programme. …