(Press release Irish North Pole Expedition 2011, Northern Exposure 2011, Expedition Nord Pole Solo 2011) In an email sent to ExplorersWeb at 22h57 GMT Saturday March 5 by Pat Falvey on behalf of all the 2011 ski teams, they announced their decision to abort this years attempt.
Pat Falvey, Clare O Leary, Matthew Stowers, Jules Weekes and Michele Pontrandolfo have been in Resolute Bay for the past few weeks busy with their last preparations to attempt a ski/walk/swim/row expedition from land to the Geographic North Pole (90Â°N).
Here goes their press statement:
It's been pretty frustrating this end with delays. We were originally scheduled to fly out on February 25 and this date has been postponed and postponed for various reasons - mainly limited daylight hours and weather conditions that have been unsuitable for landing. We have had all our equipment out at the airport since February 27 and are just waiting here in Resolute Bay, paying a small fortune, and waiting.
The bigger problem is that we had allowed ourselves 60 days for the North Pole Expedition; and didn't think we'd have a whole lot of time to spare for bad weather/conditions on the ice. We're now 7 days later than we had anticipated, with no definite flight date - and the chances of a successful trip are becoming very slim.
If we don't make the NP by April 26 (the final day for pick up by the Russians who operate a temporary ice base on the Arctic Ocean), then we'll have to pay for a pick up from this side by the Canadians which will cost an extra 105k!! Their final date for pick up is April 30 and our expedition would be forced to finish, regardless of our proximity to the pole or otherwise.
We have been on standby for the past 2 mornings again, with all the anticipation and apprehension that that brings, but again got a stand-down call at 7am. Although the pilot is ready to fly, the conditions are impossible.
We have also managed to get an independent forecast from a meteorologist as opposed to a pilots interpretation of a weather chart which is all short term and she is expecting blizzard or near blizzard conditions at our start point on today, (Saturday March 5) followed by another low front on Sunday, concluding that there is a possibility we may fly on Monday, but the best conditions are on Wednesday/Thursday of next week i.e. March 9, 10 - which is 12-13 days later than we had planned for.
Low probability of making it
So, the issue now is becoming whether or not we will get going at all. If we start out with a very low probability of making it, it's throwing a lot of money away. There are 3 teams up here, the Irish (Pat Falvey and Clare O Leary), the RAF (Matthew Stowers and Jules Weekes) and the Italian, Michele Pontrandolfo. There have been lots of discussions as we are all due to share the same flight onto the ice.
With the above information and having reviewed several expedition logs from previous years, we have been forced to make a decision on whether or not it makes sense financially, from an adventure point of view and whether it is fair to sponsors to start on an expedition that is almost certainly doomed to be unsuccessful.
Very reluctantly we have decided no. These 3 expeditions to the Geographic North Pole are off for 2011. END
Jules Weekes and Matt Stowers (UK) RAF Northern Exposure 2011 team; daily updates and map
Michele Pontrandolfo (Italy, solo), blog
Michele Pontrandolfo (Italy, solo), homepage
Pat Falvey and Clare OLeary (Ireland)
Barneo Ice Camp
CONTACT 5 expedition technology
CONTACT Augmented route map
HumanEdgeTech expedition technology
Polar rules of Adventure
What is solo?
Visit our new website