Monday, March 26, 2012

North Pole 2012: Norwegians Pick Up Speed

The 2012 North Polar season has been a quiet one so far, but after several teams abandoned their expeditions early on, it seems things are starting to heat up.The Norwegian team of Mads Agerup and Rune Midtgaard are starting to hit their stride and another explorer prepares to launch his expedition, albeit from a direction he hadn't originally intended.

Last week Mads and Rune were struggling out on the ice as their bodies adapted to the cold and physically demanding conditions. Now they seem to be getting into a rhythm and as a result they're covering respectable distance even at this early stage of their journey. The men are hoping to ski to the North Pole and over the weekend they were routinely hitting 20km (12.4 miles) per day. That is an outstanding pace for the start of their expedition which is currently passing through a region that typically has more rubble fields and open water to deal with. They are currently camped at 83.5ºN however, which means they still have a very long way to go before their done.

Explorer Mark Wood is finally on the move once again. After completing his solo ski to the South Pole back in January, he has been anxious to begin the second leg of his journey, which originally was suppose to be a solo trip to the North Pole. Some logistical and economic issues have since cropped up, which have forced Mark to actually begin his journey at 90ºN however and head south from there. An updated to his website late last week indicated that he is now packed and ready to get started and that we can expect more news on his plans this week. My guess is that he'll soon head to the Barneo Ice Station, which is set to open on April 2nd, then catch a lift to the North Pole from there. Stay tuned for more news on his travels soon.

Finally, the French North Pole team is busy preparing their gear for an extended stay at the top of the world as well. According to their latest updates they have arrived in Spisbergen where they are preparing their equipment. The three men intend to camp at the Pole where they'll conduct scientific research on climate change, the Arctic Ocean and more. Initially I believe they intended to stay there for six weeks, but I'm not sure if that is still part of their plan or not. They are likely waiting for Barneo to open as well and will probably be shuttled to the North Pole early next week.

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