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

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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  • 1. Mike’s 2002 North Pole Expedition
  • 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. 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. But which “north pole”? There are 2 to chose from. We sought the magnetic north pole (the one a compass points to).
  • 5. Magnetic North Pole Geographic North Pole
  • 6. Did you know ? The MNP is a moving target, randomly drifting as much as 100 km in a year!
  • 7. MNP drift over past 400 years 1600 2000 1700 1800 1900
  • 8. MNP drift over past 105 years
  • 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. 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. MNP Resolute Bay
  • 12. Did it the plan work? Did we make it? Well first, how about some pics
  • 13. Packing up the gear
  • 14. Summer in downtown Resolute Bay
  • 15. Komatik (supply sled)
  • 16. Typical landscape – or should I say “icescape”
  • 17. On a sunny day
  • 18. Home sweet home…
  • 19. Satellite phone (for pizza delivery)
  • 20. Our gun that couldn’t fire
  • 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. Breaking camp
  • 23. The dog food. Really!
  • 24. Making water for cooking
  • 25. For our athletic output and fighting the constant cold we needed to consume more than10,000 calories per day
  • 26. Spent a rest day at a northern mine Steak!
  • 27. Snow blindness
  • 28. Tough dogs
  • 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. So - did we make it?
  • 31. Well, we had a few problems: snow blindness thin ice stray dog frozen gun polar bears group dynamics
  • 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. 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. Our ride home
  • 35. 21 days out, 2 hours back
  • 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!