Welcome to the 2015 Polar Inspiration Expedition blog! We are so excited for the coming expedition and we look forward to having you be a part of the adventure. This blog will officially kick off on April 12. Check back then to join in the fun!
The Polar Inspiration Team called in from the Antonov (charter flight) from Barneo back to Longyearbyen. Their estimated arrival time in Longyearbyen is 11:30 PM. They recapped their last couple of days- arriving at the North Pole 7 AM on Monday April 20. Had some dinner/breakfast, then went to bed. They rotated days and nights, sleeping, eating, relaxing. When they woke up this morning and the clouds parted, they could see they were only 1/3 mile (.53 km) from the 2° dogsledding team. They skied to the other team, partied with them then got picked up by helicopter back to Barneo around noon. More partying at Barneo with Aurora Borealis, cheese fondue and a legendary PolarExplorers Poetry Slam. Then on to their flight to Longyearbyen. Showers and beds are almost in sight! Congratulations again to an amazing team on a job exceedingly well done!!
Current position: 90° North!!
Mission accomplished! The team reached the North Pole around 7:00 AM local. They hit the trail around 1 AM and skied through the night. They encountered very challenging conditions with a lot of open water, very strong winds, cold temperatures and poor visibility. But nothing would stop this inspirational team. Spirits are super high as you can hear in the audio update. CONGRATULATIONS!!
Current position: N 89°51.959 E 128°40.5
The team spent the day in the tent as strong winds and low visibility made travel uncomfortable and potentially dangerous. They packed up ready to leave and then decided to wait out the storm. They spend the day playing cards, swapping stories and eating. Their plan is to get an "Alpine start", up at midnight to begin traveling to the North Pole. With 24 hour sunlight (when the sun is shining) a midnight start is no problem.
The team had a great day with better conditions, less wind and better visibility though some flat light in the afternoon. They crossed some open leads which was quite interesting to see how the guides scout out the best and safest spots to cross. Feasting on bacon and cheese quesadillas...
Current position: N 89°36.840, E 110°35.5
The Polar Inspiration team had a good day of progress despite challenging conditions. They had very low visibility with flat light making it difficult to navigate- sometimes skiing into 2' walls and falling on their faces- though laughing throughout! The winds were very high 20-30 knots (23-34 mph) and temperatures quite warm. They hope that it cools down, clears up and winds get calmer. They were enjoying fried baguettes with cheese dipped in marinara sauce, debating what to have as their entrée tonight when they called in. As they said, life is rough!
Current Position: N 89° 27.6', E 98° 10.9' drifting east
Team Polar Inspiration woke this morning to warm weather with mixed skies and 15-17 mph winds. The light was flat most of the day and they were in and out of rubble fields. They crossed their first lead today, but it gave them no problem since they discovered the perfect little ice bridge.
They are getting into an efficient travel routine and making good progress. Tonight's dinner menu consists of sweet and sour pork and rice with a bit of wine to wash it down. The team is looking forward to another good day tomorrow.
Many thanks to all for visiting Shannon's FaceBook page "Polar Inspiration" and her fundraising efforts for Alzheimers at www.polarinspiration.com.
Current Position: N 89° 20.1', E 90° 57.9'
Around 1:00 this afternoon the team was dropped off to officially begin their expedition. They traversed through a good sized rubble field and the flat light presented some challenges. By 4:00 the sun came out and the weather improved so they were able to increase their pace. They skied for 4 1/2 hours today and travelled 3 nm.
Everyone is warm and happy as they settle in for the night and prepare their dinner of soup and quesadillas. They are looking forward to a full day of skiing tomorrow.
This afternoon the group departed Longyearbyen for the Barneo Ice Camp. Barneo is a Russian camp and runway that is set up on the Arctic ice for only 3 weeks of the year. The delay turned out to be worthwhile as they spotted four polar bears during their flight. This was an amazing way to begin their expedition!
Today the weather at Barneo is relatively warm. It is overcast with a wind out of the southeast. The team is getting ready for dinner and is very excited to start heading north tomorrow.
Today the Polar Inspiration team made final preparations for the expedition. It was a busy day of checking the tents, stoves, reviewing the food, packing sleds and delivering them to the airport. The current plan is to fly to the Barneo base camp tomorrow at 4 PM. There is a lot of excitement and a few nerves in advance of this awesome adventure.
Check back again tomorrow for another update from the team.
Welcome to the Polar Inspiration Expedition!
Today was the first official day of the expedition. We checked gear and went for a quick ski to work out any last minute kinks with boots, skis and bindings. While we were out we saw several competitors racing toward the finish line of the annual local dogsled competition.
We had dinner and caught up with old friends who we met on the training. Tomorrow we will check review our kit one more time, pack our sleds and deliver them to the airport in advance of our flight to the ice on April 14.
Stay tuned for another update tomorrow!