(By Correne Coetzer) "Some scientists say we could be headed for another 'Little Ice Age', given how eerily calm the sun has been in recent years," reports Huffington Post. Sound like good news for adventurers who are dreaming about skiing on the Arctic Ocean’s melting ice to the North Pole.
This year several skiers are back to make another attempt, while others are taking on the challenge for the first time. Veteran North Pole skiers, Eric Philips and Eric Larsen are also back.
Barneo Ice Camp, the temporary Russian camp in 89ºN, operating from Longyearbyen, Svalbard, and assisting Last Degree and partial route skiers, will be operating April 2 - 22, says Victor Boyarsky to ExplorersWeb (weather permitting).
Barneo's closing date is important for the full distant skiers travelling from Canada, as most will be picked up by a Barneo helicopter at the Geographic North Pole upon arrival. This full route season starts, weather permitting, March 5th from Cape Discovery, which gives the skiers a maximum of 49 days to complete the 780 km (this distance calculated in a straight line and without the walking-on-a-treadmill against the negative drift.) "A tight season for sure,” the skiers say.
Land to Geographic North Pole
Eric Larsen (2x NP) is teaming up with Ryan Waters, high altitude mountaineer who has also completed an unassisted, unsupported crossing of Antarctica. The men leave Boulder, Colorado, February 28th and have their flight booked to Cape Discovery on March 7th. The two Americans will be unassisted (no resupplies), and unsupported (no kites/dogs/vehicles). They have decided to charter a Kenn Borek plane from Canada to pick them up at the Pole, writes Eric in his blog. Therefore April 22 won’t be an issue.
Eric and Ryan are splitting their flight to the start with Norwegians, Kristoffer Glestad (24) and Lars Mangerud Flesland (25). Their goal is to reach the Geographic North Pole within 40 days, unassisted and unsupported, and to be the youngest team to reach the NP on a full route expedition.
Solo skiers who will be back for another attempt are, Japanese Yasu Ogita and Italian Michele Pontrandolfo.
Yasu Ogita is also leaving from Cape Discovery and will be unassisted and unsupported. He told ExWeb that he will take a pick-up charter at the North Pole with Kenn Borek, and won't rely on Barneo this time.
Michele Pontrandolfo told ExWeb he will be in Resolute Bay from February 17th and plan to depart from Cape Discovery on March 5th. He will also be unassisted and unsupported. Michele’s plan is to reach the North Pole on April 21, which gives him 45 days to complete the expedition, he says. “This is a very short time and I am going without external supplies… will be a challenge to the end in such a short time."
Yasu and Michele will share a flight to the start with Irish team, Clare O’Leary and Mike O’Shea. Mike told ExWeb they will be in Iqaluit from the 17th and added, "It will be a tight season for sure.”
Geographic North Pole to Land
Veteran polar explorer, Eric Philips, will be guiding Bernice Notenboom from the Pole to Cape Discovery, starting April 2nd, when Barneo opens to take them by Russian helicopter to their start at the Pole. They expect to make landfall on May 24th, Bernice told ExplorersWeb. Accomplished Polar photographer, Martin Hartley is the third member of the team. “The goal is a feature film about the Arctic history from 1850 until now and what the future of the Arctic might be,” says Bernice. Bernice has done the South Pole Messner route from the Ronne-Filchner Ice Shelf with Eric Philips in the 2007-08 season.
Postponed or suspended
Alex Hibbert and his team, James Weldon, Anastasia Kim and Anders Rasmussen, aborted their planned winter expedition from Qaanaaq, Greenland, to the Geographic North Pole, a day before their planned start.
Thomas Ulrich, Arnold Witzig and Noah Nochasak suspended their Pole to Land expedition.
The three Brits, Mark Wood, Louis Rudd and Paul (Vic) Vicary. postponed Canada to NP to next year, Mark told ExWeb.
French Arnaud Tortel, planned to do a ski crossing from Point Borrow, Alaska, 71ºN via the Geographic North Pole (90ºN) to Spitsbergen (78ºN), but postponed to 2016 due to an injury.
Planned future Geographic North Pole
Desnivel reported Catalan adventurer, Albert Bosch, is planning a full North Pole expedition. He has climbed Everest (2010) and skied to the South Pole in the 2011-12 season, and now wants to complete the third of the 'Three Poles’.
Canadian Richard Weber, who completed 6 NP full routes, shot over the following about his Arctic plans, "Our project is with True Patriot Love. TPL is a charity that raises money for Canadian veterans programs. This is an awareness / donor meet veterans event. We are skiing about 50 people 125 km through the 1996 Magnetic Pole position to Isachsen. Including 12 wounded Canadian veterans. It is a huge project!” Richard’s son, Tessum is assisting him. Tessum has become the youngest person to complete a full North Pole expedition in 2010 when he was 19.
HumanEdgeTech ran a Tech series and reported about some cool tech, which also can be useful on North Pole expeditions, for example a drone, for route finding and filming. Read more here.
Check in again for interviews with NP skiers.
Please contact ExplorersWeb for additions.
The past two years only two ski teams were on the ice, and they were traveling from the Geographic North Pole, 90ºN, to land (Svalbard and Cape Columbia respectively). See links below.
During the 2013 North Pole season we saw only the Russians on the ice; Fedor Konyukhov and Victor Simonov, left the Geographic North Pole (90°N) on April 6 with their dog team and reached the Canadian coast in the area of Cape Columbia on May 22, while Vasily Elagin and his team with their amphibious vehicles, crossed the Arctic Ocean from Russia to Canada in 61 days.
Follow the blogs with RSS feeds in the ExplorersWeb News Stream.
North Pole 2014 preview
Exweb Tech Week 2014: Best Sellers and Innovations
Vincent Cochin to sledge-haul 2300km Canada to Greenland
Heads up: Two all-female extreme snorkel relays in the Canadian Arctic
AdventureStats for Statistics and Adventure Rules and Definitions
North Pole by ski and canoe: Lonnie Dupre and Eric Larsen recall
Heads up: 4 People, 6 Legs to kite-ski Iceland’s Vatnajökull Glacier
Dixie Dansercoer and Eric McNair-Landry to kite-ski 5000+ km around Greenland
North Pole 2012 ExWeb interview (part 1 of 3): Timo Palo and Audun Tholfsen, “Conditions didn’t look promising and the risk too high”
North Pole 2012 ExWeb interview (Part 2 of 3): Timo Palo and Audun Tholfsen, “Mentally the most exhaustive was to walk on the rotten ice floes”
North Pole 2012 ExWeb interview (Part 3 of 3): Timo Palo and Audun Tholfsen: “We were hunted by a polar bear from the water”
Sun Scientists Debate Whether Solar Lull Could Trigger Another 'Little Ice Age'
Is our Sun falling silent? BBC Science
Arctic Sea Ice News and Analysis: Thicker on top. more down under February 5, 2014
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