Tuesday, 17 April 2018 20:03

Warmer Temps & Dynamic Ice For Skiers; Fliers Have Fingers Crossed

The top of the world is a dynamic place. Ice is drifting and shifting, temperatures fluctuate, visibility comes and goes, and logistics change. We had a little of each of these today with our three North Pole teams. Here's a recap of each team:

North Pole Last Degree Ski:

An exciting and challenging day awaited our last degree team. They awoke to discover that they had drifted 1.3 miles north while they slept, which is a GREAT way to start the day! It was much warmer, nearly 0°F / -17°C with a dusting of snow on the tents and clouds covered the sky. Once they started skiing they navigated several rubble fields before encountering a 25 foot pressure ridge that they had to "bust through". This might sound like it takes brute force, but it actually requires a lot of planning, teamwork and finesse. The team took off their skis for better maneuverability and worked together to pass the sleds over the ridge. Once on the other side they were rewarded with nice large and relatively flat pans of ice for the rest of the day. At one point they found a freshly frozen lead that was heading north and they hopped on it for a very smooth and easy half mile of skiing before it petered out. As the day progressed the sky cleared up and the temperature fell to -10°F / -24°C. Like our half degree team they are seeing large icebergs in the distance, wishing that one were in their path so they could check it out. Everyone is doing great. They are enjoying each day and look forward to the next. Click here to listen to Keith and Abdullah Alsaeed's audio dispatch and check back again tomorrow for another update!

North Pole Half Degree Ski

Team Fioretti Mountaineers is making great progress. They had a challenging but rewarding day, which is the best kind on this type of expedition. Like our last degree team they experienced warmer temperatures in the morning that dropped over the course of the day as the weather cleared. They skied over rubble and dynamic ice and past sections of open water. At one point they got on a north-bound freshly frozen lead and enjoyed some fast skiing for nearly a mile before it started to move (and they quickly hopped off). They made 9 nautical miles of northward progress, but overall skied 10 or 11 miles. They had a couple "quotes of the day" to share... the first is "It's COLD!" The second was "Don't fall and don't dawdle..." (this was mentioned frequently as they crossed thinner sections of ice). They are doing great (enjoying salmon with avacados for dinner) and are looking forward to reaching the Pole in a couple days. Click here to listen to Bob's audio dispatch, and click here to listen to an additional dispatch from guide Eric Lillstrom. Check back again tomorrow for another update from Team Fioretti Mountaineers!

North Pole Flight

Our North Pole Fliers were hoping to sleep at Barneo tonight but alas their departure was delayed. This is not uncommon, but it is frustrating nonetheless, as your waves of anticipation goes through crests and troughs. They have a new estimated time of departure at 04:00 local (Norwegian) time. Our fingers are crossed that they will get out on their "plan C" schedule. The good news is that there is 24 hour sunlight so even an very early morning departure can feel like the middle of the day. We will keep you posted of course!

Below: Skiing in a freshly frozen lead can be fast and easy, until it ends.

Below: A birds-eye view of camp taken from a camera on a kite