What a wonderful expedition it was! The last couple of days were busy and exciting. After the Air Berlin fly by and pick up from the Pole the team spent the night near the Barneo runway in their own tents. The next morning (April 24) they walked over the the Barneo Ice Camp where they met some Russian military personnel who were very welcoming.
While waiting for extraction, the team spent all day today enjoying their time at the Geographic North Pole. There are still several other teams en route to the pole that will be getting air-lifted out together. The guys took advantage of the extra time by having a second photo shoot (photos coming soon) and relaxing in their tents.
Great news! The team reached the North Pole today at 4:30 PM local time. Way to go team!!
They awoke to an overcast sky but the wind had died down from yesterday to around 5-10 kts. The temperature had also warmed to around 0 F. There was a light snow falling as they skied.
Again they passed through zones of pressure separated by a few decent sized pans. Traveling on pan ice is a wonderful break from the zig zagging of navigating pressure ridges. It allows you to travel must faster and it's a nice break for the mind as well.
The last two nautical miles to the pole were increasingly pressurized. They were doing lots of skiing to the east or west without much northwards progress. They reached one large pressure ridge and Keith paused to ask the team which way they thought would be best. Andrew immediately answered, "to the right of course!" (Andrew is an active member of the New Zealand National Party).
Finally they were in the home stretch and James led the final distance to the Geographic North Pole.
They celebrated their significant achievement before setting up camp where the party is continuing on. They are making calls home and drinking the Aurora Borealis cocktails (that's 1/2 champagne, 1/2 vodka and a handful of snow from the Geographic North Pole).
Everyone is doing great and all are having a good time.
Here's a shot of them celebrating with their Aurora Borealis cocktails
We are awaiting their audio update so check back again soon!
Congratulations to our entire team! Andrew, James, Mike and Keith, you all did a superb job and we are thrilled that you are now celebrating at the top of the world. Enjoy it!
Current Position N 89°49'41" E 135°27'10"
That puts our team at just over 10 nautical miles away from the North Pole!
Current position (N 89° 37' 16" E 123° 49' 32")
The Last Degree team made excellent progress again today as they navigated over and around an increasing number of pressure ridges and rubble zones, followed by a long flat pan of ice. Their tenacious pace, coupled with positive drift, (1.5 nautical miles overnight) has put them well ahead of schedule as they approach the 2/3 mark of the expedition.
Today the team reports another beautiful day. The temperature was slightly colder, around -6 F with a 3-5 kt wind coming from their backs. The sky was clear for most of the day and remains clear tonight. If you are thinking that this means a starry sky keep in mind that they have 24 hour sunlight. The sun rotates overhead but never dips at all.
It was a beautiful day on the pack ice. Sunny, slight wind from behind, a pleasant -3 F, and no open water.
It was a good day for a birthday. Though the day started with more waiting (their flight was postponed from 3 PM to 6 PM) the team finally go the call to quickly head to the airport.
The good news about today is that the runway at Barneo has been repaired and two flights were made which helped to clear up the backlog of flights.
Today our team spent the day in Longyearbyen. They were meant to fly to the ice today but because of a crack in the runway and a backlog of flights from an earlier crack they are still awaiting their flight.
Today the team spent time reviewing tents and stoves and doing all their final packing of sleds. They took some time to review polar bear safety and made a special trip to the firing range to test the shotgun and set off some flares.
Our North Pole Last Degree Ski Expedition officially kicked off tonight with a welcome reception. Everyone is in Longyearbyen and excited for the upcoming expedition.
Welcome to the 2016 North Pole Last Degree Ski Expedition blog!
We'd like to introduce our intrepid 2016 North Pole Last Degree Skiers: