Ian Frearson in an expedition inflatable crossing Tempelfjorden 1983

Ian Frearson

Established the Arctic Research Group in 1988 after taking part in three previous Arctic expeditions.  He has participated in eleven successful scientific research expeditions to Alaska and Svalbard (eight of these as leader).  He has worked extensively on various aspects of glaciation, predominantly those in or affected by surge.  Additional field work has included exploration on foot in and around research areas, across ice caps, assistance with soil acidification and geological projects.  In Alaska he climbed several unnamed peaks in the Chugach range.  He spent some years as Section Leader in Mountain Rescue, is a competent mountaineer and climber, a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society and past President of the Arctic Club.

Looking for gold

Steve Staley examines gold bearing proterozoic rock in Bellsund 1996

Steve Staley PhD FGS

Group Deputy Leader.  He works as a geologist and geophysicist and, more recently, he also serves as a director of several publicly quoted and private companies.   His first Arctic trip was in 1983 when he worked alongside Ian Frearson on a glacial survey since when he has spent four seasons with the ARG in Svalbard working on both the local geology and conducting gravity surveys over glaciers to help determine ice depth and bedrock profiles.  Steve has a PhD in geochemistry, is a Fellow of the Geological Society and a member of the Arctic Club

George Shaw during an exploration of the upper reaches of Bakaninbre in 1990

Professor Graeme (George) Shaw PhD

Professor of Environmental Science at Nottingham University and formerly Reader at Imperial College, George has previously worked in the vicinity of the stricken Chernobyl nuclear power plant and, more recently, in the Fukushima prefecture in Japan.  He has published extensively on diverse aspects of environmental pollution and has undertaken numerous research and teaching trips to Arctic Sweden and beyond.  He has visited Svalbard twice with the ARG and is a Member of the Arctic Club.

George will be leading on the climate change project studying the flora in relation to the changes occurring in areas of ice retreat and taking measurements of the gas emissions from these recently exposed areas.  These studies will be seeking to determine the climate change balance of whether the new vegetation is assisting with reducing green house gas emissions or indeed increasing them.

Chris photographing

Chris Searston taking detailed photographs of supra Glacial flows on Paulabre 1993

Chris Searston

Chris first visited Svalbard in 1991 with the Group as photographer.  He then repeated Group expeditions in both 1993 and 1999.  Since then he has visited the Archipelago more than 20 times, either taking first timers on introductory interest trips, or making solo visits.  Following a bear attack on the Group in 1993, he has developed and has available for purchase a perimeter tripwire warning system for the protection of camps in wilderness areas.  This has since been adopted as the system of choice by the BES (British Exploring Society – formerly  BSES – British Schools Exploring Society), and promoted for it’s significant advantages during an inquiry by a High Court Judge into a serious polar bear incident which took place in 2011 on Svalbard.  It is now being used world-wide for the protection of explorers.  Chris is a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society and Member of the Arctic Club.

Mike Haynes

Mike has been a member of two previous expeditions in 1979 & 1983 carrying out ice cap topographic survey and geological studies respectively and then he was involved in the founding of the Arctic Research Group.  Mike was a member of the Groups’ 1990 expedition to the Rindersbukta area of Van Mijenfjord as Base Camp Manager where he also operated a Meteorological Station and assisted in the field with the other scientific projects. He has a BSc in Mining Geology. Mike was also a member of the Group expeditions to Svalbard in 1993 and 1996 in similar roles, also completing a Human Geography study in Longyearbyen.  Mike’s other passion is racing sailing and he is a qualified National Race Officer and includes the 2012 Olympics & Paralympics as well as Cowes Week 2017 among events where he has been an official.  He is a Member of the Arctic Club.

Mike flying DJI Mavic PRO drone

Henry Staley

Henry is in his fourth year of dentistry at Leeds University. Henry has enjoyed several years of experiencing the outdoors as well as sailing.  He has successfully achieved his DoE Gold Award and has undertaken many long treks in both the UK and Austria Henry is well travelled and has more than a passing interest in Geology and the Arctic regions. During the expedition Henry will be assisting with each of the projects and will also be responsible for his own research project connected with his dentistry studies.  Quite what he will subject the members to is not yet known…

Daniel Clarke

Dan is a highly competent mountaineer and outdoor sports enthusiast.  Dan’s impressive qualifications include BMC Mountain Leader Certificate; BCA Caving level two; SPA Climbing; MIA Trained; Wilderness First Aid & Mountain Bikers Leader qualified.  Whilst in water sports Dan is a level 3 powerboat driver and a four star canoeist and back on land, Dan has also competed at national level in motorbike trials riding.  With significant experience throughout the European Alps as an alpine ski mountaineering leader, Dan will be leading on safety for the 2019 expedition.  In the UK Dan’s day job is supervising outdoor sports  activities for special needs youngsters in the Peak District of Derbyshire.  Dan was Joint Expedition Leader to Bellsund Svalbard in 1996.  During the 2019 expedition, Dan will again be assisting with the research work.


William Shaw

William is studying Computer science at University of Sheffield having excelled in this field since he was a young teenager.  He is competent and experienced in photography both with traditional and digital formats.  William is a fully qualified lifeguard since 2016 and has travelled extensively in the Scottish Highlands as well as visiting Namibia.  William is a keen mathematician and physicist and his main role will be supporting the team undertaking the logging of the expedition using both photography and with the drone, which will be used throughout.

“Being invited on this expedition is a chance that maybe only occurs once in a lifetime and it is a dream come true for me.  Growing up seeing all the photos and maps from my Dads’ various expeditions with the Arctic Research Group during 30 years, I’ve always wanted to go and explore this rare place.

This expedition will not only give me experience with research and exploration, while also looking outstanding on any application for jobs or post-grads.  But it is also a fleeting chance to see the high arctic in its undisturbed state before factors like climate change, pollution and increased shipping traffic begin to damage this rare place even more”.

Base camp 90

Base Camp on the shores of Rindersbukta 1990.   The Group’s own flag depicting a Polar Fox under the Norwegian flag under the Union flag may be seen.