Welcome to the 2015 North Pole Last Degree Ski Expedition blog. Everyone is busy with last minute preparations for the upcoming expedition. There is a lot of great energy going around, and we can't wait to direct it into skiing to the North Pole! Meet the team here.
This blog will officially kick off on April 12. Check back again then to join in the adventure!
The Last Degree Ski Expedition Team were picked up at the North Pole around 10:00 PM on Tuesday, 21 April and flown to Barneo. They celebrated their accomplishments and enjoyed sleeping in heated tents. They flew from Barneo back to Longyearbyen on Weds 22 April, arriving around 3:00 PM. They enjoyed well deserved showers and had their celebratory dinner at Kroa. Ken and Rob flew out from Longyearbyen today to points south, other team members continue to glow with their accomplishments and enjoy the ambience of Longyearbyen. Again, major congratulations to an awesome team on a job superbly well done!
The team spent the day resting, relaxing, playing cards and eating- well deserved R & R! The sun has finally come out and they were able to take some great pictures of the spectacular scenery. They are awaiting their helicopter pick up back to Barneo which should be coming in an hour or so.
The team is enjoying some well deserved rest time at the North Pole (or as close as they can be in light of the continual drift). The wind his died down significantly- now just 10 knot gusts. The temperatures are the coldest they have experienced yet, estimated at -30°C (-22°F). But the team is comfortable in their tents, visiting between tents, playing cards and imbibing in just a wee bit of well deserved liquor. They are thoroughly enjoying the natural ice sculptures all around them and grateful for some time to just enjoy their hard earned destination. Often teams are picked up by helicopter shortly after they reach the North Pole and don't have a chance to fully relish the experience. You deserve this one, team!!
Current position: 90° North!!
Mission accomplished! The team reached the North Pole at 3:00 AM local. A challenging 8 hours of travel with lots of open water, poor visibility and strong winds. The team persevered and traveled the 10 miles to the North Pole. CONGRATULATIONS!!!
Current position as of 11:30 PM local: N 89°56.5, E 136°52
Earlier this evening the team encountered quite a bit of open water- mostly small leads but some significantly larger. They have now found some nice pan ice and are looking forward to making their final dash to the North Pole. A special Happy Birthday to Eric Lillstrom's wonderful mother!
The Last Degree Ski Team waited out the blizzard during the day, then hit the trail around 6 PM. They are hoping to reach the North Pole around midnight. We will keep you posted as we learn more. Good luck to the team!
Current position: N 89°44.25, E 111°16.56
The team had a great day with beautiful conditions. They encountered one small lead but otherwise, had a fairly easy day of travel. They were on the trail for 8.5 hours. They are hoping to reach the North Pole on Monday. All are in very good spirits.
Current position N 89°31, E 104°20
The team made about 10 nautical miles today in very challenging conditions. Winds were around 30 knots (34 mph), they had poor visibility and many whiteouts. They ran into some big leads which were challenging to navigate around. They also had some very large pressure ridges 20' (6 m) high and 32' (10 m) thick. The only way to get through was to set up a fireman's line, passing the sledges from one team member to another to another- definitely great teamwork! They're feeling very good about their progress despite the conditions and spirits are very high.
Current Location: N 89° 19.31', E 96° 44.35
Our Last Degree Ski team made some good progress today. They were given a head start overnight as the ice drifted 1 nm to the north. The weather was quite warm at -4 degrees C and there was a strong 20 knot wind from the southeast. They had fantastic ice with no open water and with the ice drifting in their favor they were able to make more than 10 nm of progress toward the North Pole.
The team is looking forward to another great day tomorrow!
The team hasn't phoned in to the office yet today but the audio update from Danny Lubert reports a great first day. They skied about 7 hours and made 8 nautical miles north. Temperatures were comfortable around -15° C. We will add more when/if the team phones us directly.
Our Last Degree Ski team is very excited that they have arrived at the Barneo Ice Camp. Their flight departed from Longyearbyen four hours late, but that did not dampen anyone's spirits. This flight had one very special feature - a polar bear sighting! Everyone was very excited to see four polar bears from the air. The weather is warm with a breeze out of the southeast and the group is gathering for dinner. The plan is to head out to 89 degrees tomorrow morning.
Today the team had a busy day with final preparations and packing for the expedition. Our sleds are packed, loaded and at the airport in advance of our flight tomorrow. Everyone is eager, excited, a little nervous and more than ready to go.
The plan is to fly to Barneo at 4 PM tomorrow. Weather conditions look promising and we hope that everything stays on schedule.
Listen to Keith's audio update and check back again tomorrow for another update from the team.
With the entire team now in Longyearbyen we are very excited to kick off this expedition. Today everyone had their gear checked and several people went for a ski outing. It was a beautiful day with temperatures around freezing. We had dinner together and the chatter around the table sounded like old friends catching up. Tomorrow we will review our kit, pack our sleds and deliver them to the airport for our flight on April 14. Everyone is excited and looking forward to the coming adventure. Check back again tomorrow for another update!