(By Correne Coetzer) The North Pole ski teams are at the mercy of the weather, as usual. Solo skier Yasu Ogita and the Irish team, Clare O’Leary and Mike O’Shea, are scheduled on a Kenn Borek Air flight to Cape Discovery today. While the US team, Eric Larsen and Ryan Waters, and the Norwegians, Kristoffer Glestad and Lars Flesland, are scheduled for the 7th. But the weather rules.
Trudy Wohlleben from Canadian Ice Service updated ExplorersWeb on the weather situation, “Due to coming snow/blizzard conditions in Resolute and lingering stratus cloud along northern Ellesmere, it looks as though flying to Cape Discovery or Ward Hunt Island is not feasible Wednesday (March 5) or much of Thursday. Later Thursday or Friday look to be the best for flying at this time (clearing in Resolute and along the north Ellesmere coast). Saturday looks bad again, new storm for northern Ellesmere.”
Geographic North Pole (90ºN) teams
Yasu Ogita has prepared food and fuel for 50 days, which he will pull in two sleds. His last food preparation was frying a heap of bacon. All is packed and he is ready to go.
Michele Pontrandolfo unfortunately had cancelled his attempt, because last week he learned that he has to make a cash deposit to the logistics provider in case a rescue is needed, and not only present a bank guarantee. This caught him off guard and negotiations with Kenn Borek to accept the bank guarantee failed. Michele had also made attempts in 2010 and 2011.
Upon arrival in the high Canadian Arctic veteran 8000m mountaineer, who also traversed Antarctica, Ryan Waters said to his mate Eric Larsen, "If we were heading to a mountain right now I would feel 100% confident," Ryan mentioned after taking off from Iqaluit. "But despite all my other experiences [multiple 8,000 meter peaks, the longest unsupported crossing of Antarctica] the North Pole trip is an unknown for me but having all of our gear here is a big boost.”
Among the preparations Eric and Ryan have been doing in Resolute Bay are a custom camera case made, half their dry suits seam sealed (again), the rest of Ryan's lunch butter cut into squares, additional grips (lower on the pole) added to their MSR poles, velocro sewn on Ryan's bivy bags, install new custom MSR snowshoe bindings with special cold tolerant straps, reattached tent fly to inner tent, test custom ‘chimney’, cut 'mouth hole' in neoprene face mask, bolt runner plastic to the back of the sled, to name a few.
Eric explained about the costs, "Just getting to the starting point on Ellesmere Island is a complicated, and very expensive affair. You see a flight to Cape Discovery or Ward Hunt Island (the traditional 'jumping off points for North Pole expeditions) costs $42,000. That's right you read correctly. Getting picked up at the Pole by the same remote logistics operator, costs over $100,000. It's an expensive endeavor to say the least and one that creates a substantial amount of stress. To make matters worse, the full bill must be paid prior to departure. In the past, it's been a slightly different arrangement and there has only been a requirement to pay a partial sum at the start.”
Kristoffer Glestad and Lars Flesland have been training and preparing in Iqaluit and will probably arrive in Resolute Bay today.
Clare O'Leary and Mike O’Shea has been packing and repacking in Resolute, they told Explorersweb. "It's a nice up here at the minute, about -30 to -40ºÇ, but windy, so its cold outside," said Mike.
1996 position of the Magnetic North Pole
RAF Expedition with Matt Stowers and Kev O’Brien have started their trek from Resolute on March 3. A blizzard is approaching their route, reported Canadian Ice Service.
About Day 2 Matt writes, "We awoke after a fitful sleep to a glorious day, and set off for another short 'get you in day'. The plan was to ski for 4hrs, we skied for 5.5hrs only stoping when the wind began blowing hard.”
Canada to Greenland (Kugaaruk and Qaanaaq)
Vincent Cochin has set off on March 3 and reported "almost a full white-out” on Day 2.
Geographic North Pole is at 90ºN
1996 position of the Magnetic North Pole:
78° 35'42.00"N, 104° 11’54.00”W
Resolute Bay: 74° 41.808N, 094° 49.402W
Follow the teams' blogs (with RSS feeds) in the live News Feed on Explorersweb.
Teams starting from Cape Discovery, Ellesmere Island to the Geographic North Pole (90ºN)
Yasu Ogita, Japan, solo
Michele Pontrandolfo, Italy, solo (cancelled)
Team Eric Larsen and Ryan Waters:
Eric Larsen, USA
Ryan Waters, USA
Team Kristoffer Glestad (24), Norway and
Lars Mangerud Flesland (25), Norway
Irish team Clare O'Leary and Mike O’Shea
Starting from Geographic North Pole (90N) to Canada
'Arctic March' team:
Eric Philips, Australia
Bernice Notenboom, The Netherlands / Canada
Martin Hartley, UK
1996 Magnetic North Pole
Matt Stowers and Kev O’Brien
Canada to Greenland (Kugaaruk and Qaanaaq)
Blog (Nanook expedition)
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