North Pole update: “Phenomenal power, and we chose to dice with it"

Posted: May 07, 2014 05:47 pm EDT

 

(By Correne Coetzer) They swam a snow-filled lead, island-hopped over another and crossed a huge fractured and lead-ridden zone by clambering over a giant pressure ridge as it was being born, reported Eric Philips. "Two thick plates were grinding into each other and we watched as boulders the size of caravans were calved, uplifted, submerged, overturned and stacked. Phenomenal power, and we chose to dice with it."

 

Philips also reported that they heard a plane crossing, fetching Ryan Waters and Eric Larsen, who were resting their tired and sore bodies in their tent while drifting from the Pole to Russia. Larsen tweeted a few minutes ago that they are on the Twin Otter "flying south from the Pole while eating sandwiches and cookies!!! We are overjoyed!"

 

Larsen says in a voice dispatch from the North Pole it was a "crazy, crazy" last push to the Pole. It took them 8-9 hours to do just 3.5 miles (6.5 km). Everything that the Arctic Ocean has, was thrown to them and it felt unending, he says. Getting to 90 degrees, they were wondered around in circles to find the Pole with their GPS, a game the Pole plays with the achievers. Read below Ryan Waters’ account of the last three days.

 

 

Ski Cape Discovery, Ellesmere Island, to the Geographic North Pole (90ºN)

Unassisted, Unsupported: 

Ryan Waters and Eric Larsen (USA) 

Start March 15 at 83.043627N, 077.374263W

End at 90ºN May 6, 2014

 

Ryan describes their last three days on his website:

 

"We had a final pick-up date of May 7th and a lot of distance to go so we had no choice but to make the best of it. I will focus on the last three days in which we faced constantly changing difficult conditions and variables. Very bad visibility, snow, cold wind and seemingly endless amount of open water leads were a few, not mention our physical state.” 

 

"We kept at it and chipped away at the distance until finally we had just 3.5 nautical miles left and took a food/tent break for that final push which we naively hoped could take just a few hours. Well not the case... We battled a complete whiteout and shifting pressure in strong winds and had to swim several open leads in our dry suits." 

 

"We also crossed several smaller leads by crazy methods straddling the sleds, pushing one person across on top and hoping they could reach the other side and pull the other across. We pulled out all the tricks." 

 

"Problem was we were losing ground any time we stopped to drift. At one point just .8 miles from the Pole we came again to a wide open lead that stretched forever in both directions. Eric swam the lead and had a hard time getting out on the other side up the vertical ice edge, struggling to get out, once he finally did he realized the tow rope had come off him and was in the water. He jumped back in to get the rope so he could pull me across while laying on top of our two catamaran sleds. It just would not let up!”

 

"Finally the last three quarters of a mile were smooth ice to the North Pole into a strong cold headwind that was pushing us back literally when we stopped to check the GPS you would see”- distance to pole .35 miles, now .36 etc. When we reached 90 degrees and the literal top of the world we both just broke down with overwhelming relief after a difficult and amazing journey."

 

 

Teams Starting from Geographic North Pole (90ºN) to Canada

Unassisted, Unsupported

Bengt Rotmo, Norway (solo)

(started April 21 at 90ºN)

 

Bengt continues putting one foot in front of the other on the treadmill. His home team manager, Lars Ebbesen told ExplorersWeb that there is no way to sit out bad weather in the tent as Bengt is drifting "10-14km the wrong way every 24hr so it is not easy. But we keep being positive, the drift surely have to change at some point."

 

Assisted, Unsupported

Eric Philips, AU, Bernice Notenboom, NL/CA, Martin Hartley, UK

(Start April 4 at 90ºN)

 

Yesterday Martin spotted tracks of Arctic foxes, "and got nervous about polar bears because foxes travel with bears and eat leftover seal,” reported Bernice while they skied the shoreline of a 400 meter wide lead. "There was only one option to cross and this part of the lead was moving, as there is pressure moving the mobile ice. When you watch it, you don’t know which part is moving, you or the shore. Eric swam through shuga, blender ice, tough slushy ice to get through and hard to pull himself to shore. Martin and I connected the sleds to be rafted with our bodies and skis."

 

Bernice says that they were forewarned by Canadian Ice Service that there would be many leads developing due to "this relentless storm we are having. Day 8 now of no visibility, extreme winds, and snow. It is rare to snow this much in the Arctic as well as these incredible length of storm cycles." 

 

Latest report reads at the end of the day they got stopped once again by a lead. "To our north we saw a dark cloud hanging over the horizon, indicating open water and to our south, one big lake."

 

ExWeb received Interpretations from satellite images today by Trudy Wohlleben at Canadian Ice Service saying that the team can expect more medium leads for another 10 km. Then a mixed zone of small leads and rough ice for 10km, which turns onto a very rough ice zone. This can change with the drift pattern.  

 

 

Previous:

 

North Pole success: Ryan Waters and Eric Larsen arrived at the 90ºN!

 

ExWeb interview with Ryan Waters, "an unwritten and unexplainable mental edge” (pre-expedition)

 

ExWeb interview with Eric Larsen, "a mix of poetry and hell to the North Pole” (pre-expedition)

 

 

AdventureStats successful expeditions:

 

Land to Geographic North Pole 

2014: 1x unassisted ski team from Canada

2013: 1x car team from Russia (did a crossing)

2010: 1x unassisted ski team from Canada

         3x assisted ski teams from CA

2009: 1x unassisted ski team from CA

         1x assisted ski team from CA

2008: 1x assisted ski team from Russia (winter exped)

2007: 1x assisted ski team from CA

 

Geographic North Pole to Land

2013: 1x assisted dog team to CA

2012: 1x unassisted ski and kayak team to Svalbard

2011: 2x assisted ski teams to CA

2009: 1x unassisted ski team to Greenland

2007: 1x unassisted ski and kayak team to Franz 

         Josef Land

         1x assisted ski team to Greenland

 

assisted = resupplied

 

 

A note on the North Pole daily ski distances: They are calculated in a straight line from where the skiers start in the mornings and end in the evenings. What is not added, are all the detours around high ridges, ice blocks, rubble or leads (open water). Also not added are the negative drift and relaying sleds.

 

A North Pole expedition covers the full dist”nce between land and the Pole (90ºN).

The Cape Discovery route (Canada) to the Geographic North Pole is 780 km. 

Ward Hunt Island (Canada) start point calculates at 775 km.

A Degree of Latitude is 60 nm / 110 km. 

 

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

 

 

Ski Teams starting from Cape Discovery, Ellesmere Island, to the Geographic North Pole (90ºN)

 

Unassisted, Unsupported:

Team Eric Larsen and Ryan Waters

Last North Expedition:

(Start March 15 at 83.043627N, 077.374263W)

 

Ryan Waters, USA

Website

Facebook

Mountain Professionals

Mountain Professionals Facebook

 

Eric Larsen, USA

Website

Facebook

Twitter

YouTube

Tracker

 

 

Starting from Geographic North Pole (90ºN) to Canada

Unassisted, Unsupported

Bengt Rotmo

(started April 21)

Website

Twitter

 

 

Starting from Geographic North Pole (90ºN) to Canada

Assisted, Unsupported

(Start April 4)

Eric Philips, Australia

Bernice Notenboom, The Netherlands / Canada

Martin Hartley, UK

Website

Bernice Notenboom Twitter

Icetrek Expeditions Facebook

Expedition Twitter

Icetrek Twitter

 

Greenland

 

Kite ski circumnavigation:

 

Eric McNair-Landry (CA) and Dix”e Dansercoer (BE)

Blog Greenland Ice Expedition

Tracker

Facebook (Polar Circles) 

Twitter (Polar Circles)

Facebook (Pittarak Expeditions)

 

Michael Chavarin (FR) and Cornelius Strohm (DE)

Website

 

Yuri Klaver (USA to Greenland via CA)

Website 1

Website 2

Facebook

Spot Location

Twitter

 

 

Follow blog posts (with RSS feeds) in the live News Stream on ExplorersWeb.

 

 

Previous/Related

 

 

Sean Chapple's insights: Laying the Foundations for Success

 

North Pole: Irish team injured and evacuated - update: Norwegians also off

 

North Pole Norwegians and Americans flying to Cape Discovery - updated landed and skiing

 

NASA: Warm Rivers Play Role in Arctic Sea Ice Melt

 

Norwegian North Pole team talking to ExWeb from the high Canadian Arctic

 

North Pole 2014: first skiers flying to their start point

 

Dmitry Shparo's Top 5 North Pole Tips

 

Irish North Pole team checking in at ExWeb from Resolute Bay

 

The cost of Arctic travel: Jerry Kobalenko talks to ExWeb

 

Yasunaga Ogita talking to ExWeb from the high Canadian Arctic

 

North Pole 2014 full route ski expedition list

 

ExWeb interview with Ryan Waters, "an unwritten and unexplainable mental edge”

 

ExWeb interview with Eric Larsen, "a mix of poetry and hell to the North Pole”

 

ExWeb interview with Bernice Notenboom, the Arctic and the world’s climate

 

Dixie Dansercoer and Eric McNair-Landry to kite-ski 5000+ km around Greenland

 

AdventureStats

 

Ray Zahab and team Baffin Island run 2014

 

 

Weather links:

 

Canadian Ice Service

 

The Arctic Weather products link on the Canadian Ice Service IPY Legacy page

 

Two-day sea ice drifts for the whole Arctic Ocean on the Danish DMI website

 

ENVISAT ASAR images on the Polarview website

 

Canada Weather Office satellite image

 

NOAA Earth System Research Laboratory

 

University of Illinois cryosphere images

 

Wayne Davidson’s Extremely High Horizon Refraction

 

Wayne Davidson’s EH2R blog 

 

 

#polar #northpole2014  #ryanwaters #ericlarsen #northpolesuccess

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ryan Waters: "We had just 3.5 nautical miles left and took a food/tent break for that final push which we naively hoped could take just a few hours. Well not the case... We battled a complete whiteout and shifting pressure in strong winds and had to swim several open leads in our dry suits." It took them 8-9 hours to complete. Image: Eric Larsen swimming.
courtesy Ryan Waters, SOURCE
Martin Hartley: "Eric [Philips] does a spot of 'gardening' to make our access to a point of 'absolutely no return' slightly safer. A committing & interesting moment in the day."
courtesy Martin Hartley, SOURCE
Bernice: "We have to be very quick to operate on moving ice."
SOURCE
Eric Philips, Bernice Notenboom and Martin Hartley's position.
SOURCE
Cape Discovery route to the Geographic North Pole.
courtesy Arctic Ice Drift Maps 2013 : Image from http://www.arctic.noaa.gov / Mike O Shea and Clare O Leary, SOURCE