Race Against Time team are now literally in a race against time. The three men had expected to arrive at the Barneo Ice Camp, located at roughly 89ºN latitude, this past weekend and then travel on to the North Pole where they would launch their expedition to ski from the top of the world to Canada. But delays have kept them from starting, which could ultimately have an impact on their success.
Arctic explorers Mark Wood, Paul Vicary, and Mark Langridge checked in a few days back from Svalbard in Norway, where they were awaiting a flight to Barneo. That flight was expected to take place this past Saturday, but as of now there has been no confirmation that they have reached the temporary ice base which will grant them access to the North Pole.
The team hopes to travel on foot from 90ºN to the Canadian coast at Ward Hunt Island, covering a total of 470 nautical miles (540 miles/870 km) in the process. They had estimated that it would take about 35 days to achieve that goal, but that was also with a projected start date of April 1. Now, three days after that deadline they're still waiting to get underway, which could prevent them from successfully completing the journey as their travel window begins to narrow, and eventually close.
According to the team's most recent update on Facebook, their flight out to Barneo has once again been delayed. The three men remain in Norway, packed and ready to go. But the longer they are delayed, the more difficult their expedition becomes. Once they reach Barneo, it is a relatively short flight by helicopter to their starting point. That means that they could potentially catch a lift to the North Pole as early as tomorrow, but further delays will only make the situation worse.
I have been following the Race Against Time team since their expedition was first announced last fall. During that time, the objectives have changed, but the resolve of the explorers has remained the steadfast. I'm sure they're all eager to get started, but their patience is definitely being tested at the moment. Hopefully there will be good news soon.
Stay tuned for more updates on this expedition in the days ahead.