Friday, May 02, 2014

North Pole 2014: Across The 89th Degree!

We had another update from Eric Larsen and Ryan Waters yesterday, keeping us posted on their progress as they make their way toward the North Pole. It seems more and more likely that they will indeed succeed in their expedition, as the finish line is now in sight. They still have some miles to cross before they are through, but it appears as if they will become the first team in four years to actually reach the Pole, traveling the full distance on foot. 

The boys passed another important milestone yesterday be reaching the 89th degree. As I write this, they are just 67.3 miles (108.2 km) from the Pole. That should put them at roughly 4 days away from reaching the top of the world, which matches my previous prediction of them wrapping up their journey on Monday. It is important to note that they aren't quite finished yet however, and there is still a lot of tough ground to cover. But barring any unforeseen accidents, they should wrap things up early next week. I will, of course, keep you posted as they near the end of the expedition.

Meanwhile, ExWeb has heard from Yasu Ogita, who is now back in Japan and sharing his experiences from the ice. You may recall that the solo-skier was out on the ice for 42 days before he called for an evacuation. Yasu says that he is in fine condition. No issues with fatigue or frostbite, he simply ran out of time and didn't have enough supplies to keep pushing forward. He even indicated that he rationed his food when he encountered a storm day, during which he stayed tent-bound, not moving as intense blizzards raged around him. He had seven such days out of his 42 on the ice, and during those days he didn't eat any of his food in order to ensure he had plenty for the days he was on the move. Even still, that wasn't enough to allow him to reach the Pole. He simply encountered way to much rough ice, and was moving far slower than he had originally anticipated. 

The Expedition Hope team is back on track after receiving a resupply a few days back. Their sleds are heavy with food and fresh supplies once again, and they were successfully relocated to a new location on the ice in order to continue their journey south. This team began their adventure at the North Pole, and are on their way to Cape Discovery now, which is the exact opposite direction that Eric and Ryan took. As of this morning, the team is closing in on the 85th parallel, so they are making excellent progress towards their finish line as well. 

ExWeb reports that solo-skier Bengt Rotmo is making solid progress on his North Pole to Cape Discovery journey as well. After leading two separate clients across the last degree to the North Pole, he is now taking the time to enjoy a little adventure of his own. He is closing in on 89ÂșN, and by all accounts is feeling good and moving well. 

Over in Greenland, Dixie Dansercoer and Eric McNair-Landry are trying to remain upbeat, even though they continue to be battered by storms. They have once again spent the better part of the last three days in their tent, while they wait out the 4th or 5th (they say they've lost track!) storm to hit their area. The forecast says conditions should improve in the next few days, so they are hopeful that they can finally start to cover some decent mileage. So far, their progress has been greatly hampered by the conditions, and after 23 days on the ice, they have yet to find their groove. Originally, this 5000 km (3106 mile) expedition to circumnavigate Greenland was expected to take rough 80 days to complete. Whether or not they can still mange to finish in that timeframe remains to be seen.

More news from the Arctic as it becomes available. 

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