Kobalenko's Countdown of the Top Ten Expedition BS

Posted: Jun 04, 2008 06:30 pm EDT

(ThePoles.com) Last year Jerry Kobalenko finished his 15th sledding expedition and 30th self-propelled arctic journey. A devout photographer but die-hard luddite, early this spring the funny and outspoken polar veteran set up a homepage at last.

How to build a bear fence was one of the items kicking off the website. Then came a "Potato Gruel" dinner recipe ("serves 18, or one person 18 times") and insightful editorials:

"Every spring, the High Arctic sees a handful of expeditions. One or two are interesting; most are not very good; a few are hustles. Anything, for example, with the 'Geomagnetic Pole' as its goal is likely a hustle."

Fools games

Why? Jerry explains:

"This minor mathematical curiosity has been the only pole that's easy to reach since the North Magnetic Pole left the vicinity of Resolute Bay a few years ago and began amscraying across the Arctic Ocean toward Siberia."

"Before it left, the North Magnetic Pole was a good shakedown test for expeditions preparing to try the much harder Geographic Pole the following year. For others, the Magnetic Pole was an end in itself, and a sly few returned south boasting about having reached 'the Pole', rightly calculating that the media and general public didn't really know the difference."

Read the rest of the editorial here and get the recipe here.

Amateurs with questionable motives

Starting June 3, Jerry has been publishing his Top Ten Expedition BS Countdown.

"The less technical something is, and the more instantly famous you can get doing it, the more it attracts amateurs with questionable motives," Jerry introduces the series. "In arctic travel today, it's common for those with big egos and small experience to boast of undertaking 'the most greatest exploration of the Arctic ever' or trekking to 'the last important place on Earth no one has reached'."

Don't miss Jerry's Top Ten list of Expedition Bullshit -- the 10 most egregious ways outdoor types posture and/or try to fool the public here.

Number 10 is already out: "Erecting plaques in the wilderness in honor of your own expedition."

March 2007 Canadian Jerry Kobalenko and American Bob Cochran skied 600 km in 45 days from Canada to Pim Island, following Frederick Cook's 1909 route from his winter den on Devon Island. The original goal was to reach the abandoned hunting site of Annoatok in northwest Greenland but lack of ice forced the skiers to finish the trip at Pim Island, 50 km away from Greenland.

This was Jerry Kobalenko's 15th sledding expedition actually his 30th self-propelled arctic journey -- including kayaking, canoeing, and backpacking.

In a couple of weeks, Jerry will leave again to kayak 1000 km solo along the SE coast of Labrador.


A devout photographer, early this year the funny and outspoken polar veteran finally got a homepage - already promising to become a classic. Image of Jerry Kobalenko (click to enlarge).

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