North Pole Flight:
Congratulations to our North Pole Flight team who left Longyearbyen around 4 AM, tired but excited, and touched down a couple hours later at the Barneo Basecamp. This floating camp is one of the more unusual places in the world. It might seem like a regular camp with a handful of tents on a snowy landscape, but it is incredible when you think of where it is (today only 15 miles from the North Pole) and what went into building it and getting everyone there (if you're interested here is a very cool video about how Barneo is built). The team spent a couple of hours at the camp before boarding the MI-8 helicopter for the relatively short flight to the North Pole. With fog settling it over the Pole the helicopter landed some distance away, where a party was made before touching down again at the top of the world. Many toasts, photos and calls home were made and the mood was very celebratory. Back at the basecamp they had wine and cheese fondue. It was anyone's guess what time it was (at least that's how it felt!) but the 24 hour sunlight has a way of making time irrelevant. What time is it? Time to stand at the top of the world! Now everyone is back in Longyeabyen, no doubt looking forward to a good night's sleep! Again, congratulations to the team! Make sure to listen to day's audio dispatch from Rick, Rodolfo and Bill by clicking here.
Half Degree Ski Expedition:
We just got the message - Team Fioretti Mountaineers has reached the North Pole!!! After a long day of skiing (12 hours!) and an amazing push (15.3 nautical miles "all in"!) they reached the North Pole at approximately 9:30 PM local time. We are SO proud of them forging ahead to reach their goal. Their day started with a rough section of rubble, but after a while of plugging away they were rewarded with 7 miles of big, beautiful pan ice that allowed them to make a B-line towards the Pole. This was just what they needed. Conditions were on their side with no leads and only a few cracks that they could easily get over. They are no doubt tired but on an incredible high of excitement, satisfaction and sheer joy. We will post their audio dispatch as soon as it is received.
North Pole Last Degree:
A good day for our team of six skiing the last degree. They picked up 1.8 nautical miles of northward drift over the night (wohooo!!!) and earned another 9 during the day, ending at N89.36.536, E134.04. The miles didn't come easy. Right off the bat they had rubble fields that took a lot of time to navigate. They often had to take off their skis and scramble through on foot. The temperature was around -10°F / -24°C in the morning but the wind picked up over the course of the day, which led to a chilly afternoon. Off in the distance they can see the same icebergs that they have been skiing towards for the last few days. They wish they could see them up close! After dinner Zdenek shared a special dessert with the team - a waffle spa pastry called Kolonada, which was a chocolate delight which they loved. The big question of the day was "how does a dial thermometer work?" Peter said he knows, but challenged everyone else to come up with their own answers. All is well with the team and they are looking forward to closing in on the Pole in the coming days. Listen to Harvey's audio dispatch here, followed by a second shout out to his daughter here. Don't forget to check back again tomorrow for another update from the team.
(More pictures coming soon... check back!)
Below: The MI-8 helicopter in advance of the North Pole Flight
Below: Rololfo and Mila at the North Pole
Below: Rick and Umang at the North Pole
Below: The beauty of skiing on a big pan of ice
Below: The hard work of navigating a "rubble zone" (skis off in this case)