North Pole Expedition

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In 2002 myself and two others decided to ski to the Magnetic North Pole. It was a three week journey and ski back to our staging base in Resolute Bay

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North Pole Expedition

  1. 1. Mike’s 2002 North Pole Expedition
  2. 2. Inspired by Tim Jellard, I joined the “Alpine Club of Canada”. In addition to many fun adventures I saw an ad in a 2001 news letter looking for explorers willing to join a 3 man arctic expedition to the North Pole. Well, who can say no to that!?
  3. 3. This expedition was not a paidfor “adventure tour” with a guide. It was just us three guys planning the route and logistics – all from different cities in Canada. Our 2001 plans fell through but our 2nd try in 2002 proceeded.
  4. 4. But which “north pole”? There are 2 to chose from. We sought the magnetic north pole (the one a compass points to).
  5. 5. Magnetic North Pole Geographic North Pole
  6. 6. Did you know ? The MNP is a moving target, randomly drifting as much as 100 km in a year!
  7. 7. MNP drift over past 400 years 1600 2000 1700 1800 1900
  8. 8. MNP drift over past 105 years
  9. 9. I was training for this expedition at +40°C while I was working in the middle east in 2001(for BAPCO) and then at +35°C while I was in South America in 2002 (for Sonacol). Not exactly simulating arctic conditions!
  10. 10. The Plan: 3 guys skiing 8 dogs pulling supply sled Begin at “Resolute Bay" ski 700 km to MNP 3 week food budget = 37 km per day radio in for return flight
  11. 11. MNP Resolute Bay
  12. 12. Did it the plan work? Did we make it? Well first, how about some pics
  13. 13. Packing up the gear
  14. 14. Summer in downtown Resolute Bay
  15. 15. Komatik (supply sled)
  16. 16. Typical landscape – or should I say “icescape”
  17. 17. On a sunny day
  18. 18. Home sweet home…
  19. 19. Satellite phone (for pizza delivery)
  20. 20. Our gun that couldn’t fire
  21. 21. Every day would we spent 4 hours to break camp in the morning, ski for 8 hours and then spend 4 hours to make camp in the evening.
  22. 22. Breaking camp
  23. 23. The dog food. Really!
  24. 24. Making water for cooking
  25. 25. For our athletic output and fighting the constant cold we needed to consume more than10,000 calories per day
  26. 26. Spent a rest day at a northern mine Steak!
  27. 27. Snow blindness
  28. 28. Tough dogs
  29. 29. So how cold was it? Temperature in a fridge: +4 Temperature in a freezer: -4 Temperature in a deep freeze: -18 Warmest temp we had: -25 Coldest temp we had: -45
  30. 30. So - did we make it?
  31. 31. Well, we had a few problems: snow blindness thin ice stray dog frozen gun polar bears group dynamics
  32. 32. But mostly due to uncommonly rough ice our daily progress was often less than 10 km, but we still needed to eat > 10,000 calories each day.
  33. 33. After coming some 400 km we exceeded our food budget. We had no choice and called in for our plane and what took 21 days to accomplish was undone in 2 hours.
  34. 34. Our ride home
  35. 35. 21 days out, 2 hours back
  36. 36. But at least we made it back alive: The solo skier who went after us fell through thin ice and died. It’s a dangerous and wild place out there. Proceed with caution!

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