The purpose is to lay and prepare depots for a subsequent phase with the ultimate goal of being first to reach the North Pole unsupported in winter – that is before March 21, the vernal equinox, Hibbert and Miles say.
courtesy Alex Hibbert
Alex Hibbert (left) during a previous press interview. (Ed note correction Jul 26, 2012: Not with Justin Miles as previously reported, but with another team mate.)
SOURCE
Winter 2012-13 route from Qaanaaq.
SOURCE
Alex Hibbert and Justin Miles announce Arctic winter expedition

Posted: Jul 12, 2012 07:22 pm EDT
(Newsdesk) Alex Hibbert (26) is heading back to Greenland. This time he is teaming up with fellow Brit, Justin Miles (39). Their aim is to do a two-phase expedition during the polar night and to open a new route, unsupported, to the North Pole in winter.

Phase One, mid-December 2012 to mid-March 2013, will be to sledge-haul from Qaanaaq in north-west Greenland, covering the length of the Nares Strait and then return unsupported. They will start off with sleds weighing 250+ kg.

The route for the first phase will cover up to 900 miles over fractured and mobile sea ice between the cliffs and glaciers of Ellesmere Island and North-West Greenland.

The purpose is to lay and prepare depots for a subsequent phase with the ultimate goal of being first to reach the North Pole unsupported in winter – that is before March 21, the vernal equinox, Hibbert and Miles say.

During the winter of 2013-14 Phase Two follows. Alex and Justin will track their steps to collect the essential supplies left behind on the first expedition. From the top of the Nares Strait, facing the vast Arctic Ocean, there is only darkness and ice ahead, as they make their bid for the North Pole.

Previous NP winter expeditions:

On March 14, 2008 Russian explorers Matvey Shparo and Boris Smolin reached the North Pole after one resupply. They started from the Russian side (Cape Arktichesky).

The skiers used rockets to illuminate large sections of slushy ice; and survival suits for reconnaissance swims. They soon dumped their boat though; "If you can't see where the lead ends you shouldn't get into it anyway," they reckoned.

Approaching the 85-th parallel in total darkness, Russian Feds made a spectacular airdrop of food and fuel to the two explorers: the AN-26 aircraft crew dropped two cargo parachute containers within 70 meters from the team’s tent. Well ahead of March 21, the vernal equinox, the duo reached the North Pole eager to meet the first sunrise of the year.

Norwegian Borge Ousland and South African Mike Horn reached the North Pole on March 23, 2006 - unsupported after two months on the ice. The two skiers departed from Cape Arktichesky on January 22 and missed a full Arctic winter expedition by only a few days.

Read more about Alex Hibbert here and about Justin Miles here.


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