THE temperature will drop to minus 50 and the initial days of the trek will hold half an hour of daylight, yet Linda Beilharz is undaunted. Her expedition to the North Pole is set early next year and if successful, it will make her the first Australian woman to conquer the North and South poles.The trek is expected to cover 870km in 60 days and if all goes to plan, Ms Beilharz will celebrate her 50th birthday on the ice.“The conditions will be amazing,” she said.“The Arctic is dark that far north over winter.“Some sunshine will be coming through, but it will be quite cold.”Ms Beilharz said the freezing conditions changed how everything behaved.“That’s including us,” she said.“The equipment and the materials get quite brittle.“The snow becomes much harder to drag our 80kg sleds through.”Ms Beilharz has trekked to the South Pole, Greenland and Patagonia, but she sees this adventure as her most challenging.“I’ll be expecting harder conditions,” she said.“When I’ve trekked before, the ice has been thick and on land. “In this case the ice is moving and it’s humid.“The cold is much easier when it’s dry.“We’ll be walking on sea ice, but when it’s closer to the land it is tidal so there’s rocks under it.“You’re essentially trying to drag your sled around that. “The ice pans break up and shatter and create lumps and ridges. There’s all sorts of obstacles in the route.“As we get further along there’ll be less of the ridges and bumps, but more stretches of water that you have to get around or swim through.“The bit that is harder is when you get to thin ice and you’re not really sure how thin it is.“You can look at the colour of the ice and that helps.“But sometimes in between the ice pans there’s chunks of ice and when the pans push up together they can form a solid basis.“But if the pans are coming apart, what looks solid can be loose bits of ice in the water.“That’s the kind of scenario when people fall in.”Another challenge facing Ms Beilharz is simply getting wet.“It’s really hard to get dry,” she said.“You need to keep the wet clothing on and then just move to make the heat evaporate (the water).“That’s the best option, but it’s not a nice option.”Ms Beilharz and her team need to be at the North Pole to ensure they are then picked up from a Russian ice base nearby.“They pack up their base and go home by the end of April,” she said.“If we’re running late we’ll be picked up, but we’ll be very unhappy.”Despite hoping to take an Australian team to the North Pole, Ms Beilharz said she had decided to join another expedition.“It’s about being pragmatic,” she said.“I had tried to organise an expedition myself, but raising the funds has proven to be too difficult.“I’m getting older and the ice is getting thinner.”Ms Beilharz will join trek guide Sarah McNair-Landry and British trekker Antony Jinman.The primary purpose of the exhibition is to collect Arctic data for Plymouth University, which involves looking at the algae growing under the ice.“The algae grows in certain conditions and is being used as a marker for climate change,” she said.“The challenge will be to not contaminate it, which can be difficult when you’re in a tent and you’ve got feathers from your down parka floating around.”To get to the North Pole, Ms Beilharz needs to raise $100,000 and she is hoping people will get behind her.“It’s tricky because it can be seen to be self-indulgent,” she said.“But the funding makes it possible to use the experience for the broader good.”Through her Dear Sam event, Ms Beilharz is encouraging people to think about the legacy they are leaving for their grandchildren.“Sam is the grandchild that lives in 2040,” she said.“It’s what we would like to say to that child about what we’ve done about climate change.“We need to say that we’re taking it seriously.“If you believe it’s occurring, then what are you doing? “It’s a lot about courage by local government and our leaders.“We need to be brave enough to say we will look into solar energy or investing in jobs.“It’s happening in bits and pieces, but our leaders are very cautious. “We actually don’t have the time to be cautious.”When the arduous training is behind her and she is on the expedition, Ms Beilharz said she was looking forward to connecting to the earth and the natural world.“It raises the vulnerability that we have in our hands,” she said.“Any environment can be extreme and humans are pretty fragile in a lot of ways.“It helps to know how vulnerable we are.”Anyone wanting to follow Ms Beilharz’s journey can visit www.icecapjourneys.com.auThe Dear Sam event will include an auction on Thursday at South Bendigo Bowling Club from 6.30pm.Tickets are available from Market News at Bendigo Marketplace.