All of the last degree teams made great progress today, especially considering their late night arrival in camp and their first full day on the ice. They reported good ice conditions with some small leads, a few pressure ridges but also some nice big pans of ice where they were able to make some distance. And a very happy birthday to Lucy Carton! Your brother and dad are thinking of you.
The 10 km ski team of Stuart and Alan Clark, Karen (Clark) Ashton, David McGrain (Chimu) and Jim Chaffin called in this morning. They flew from Barneo to around 10 km from the Pole late Fri/early Saturday, skied for a bit then made camp and went to bed around 4 AM.
Here is the audio update from Karen:
The last degree ski teams called in updates tonight. All teams arrived at Barneo base camp eager to go. They worked out their kit, fuel, etc. and then got a helicopter ride to their respective starting points for their official start. Listen (or read) the updates from Keith Heger, Dexter Salna (team Cool Running) and Annie Aggens (team Polaris) below.
A day of comings and goings... the North Pole flight team return to Longyearbyen from Barneo today and reflect on the experience of standing at the top of the world. The ski teams have taken off from Longyearbyen, heading to Barneo.
Boarding the Antonov in Longyearbyen, next stop Barneo.
The North Pole flight team flew this morning from Longyearbyen to Barneo, then on to the North Pole! They had a great celebration and spent quite a long time at the Pole, taking photos, drinking champagne and Aurora Borealis and soaking in the stark beauty of being at the top of the world. They returned to Barneo for the overnight and were treated to special performances by a rock band of locals from Longyearbyen.
The ski teams spent the day packing up all their gear and sleds, taking them to the airport for the weigh in to get them loaded on the Antonov to head to Barneo on the morning flight tomorrow. The teams will fly on the afternoon flight around 5 PM.
Driving the sleds to the airport, the teams saw this seal on an ice floe
After months of preparation, training, accumulating gear and clothing, anticipation, apprehension, excitement- the 2017 PolarExplorers North Pole Expeditions have officially begun! The team members all met in Longyearbyen, Norway. We have a busy season with 3 different last degree ski teams, one 10 km ski team and 2 North Pole flight with overnight at Barneo teams.