The weather has apparently claimed another victim amongst the explorers who had hoped to go to the North Pole this season. Ben Saunders has called it quits before he could ever get out of the starting gate, making it official on Twitter a short time go.
Saunders, who hoped to make a solo and unassisted attempt on the North Pole speed record, post the following to his Twitter account:
“Ongoing blizzard at N coast of Ellesmere Island = no flights this year. Time to go home and have a cup of tea. Will update the site tonight"So there you have it. Ben never had the chance to even get out of Resolute Bay and go to Cape Discovery, where he hoped to begin his expedition. Instead, all he could do was sit, and wait, and watch the weather. In the end though, the weather never gave him a break, and too many days have slipped by for him to safely attempt any kind of journey to the Pole.
Look for updates to his blog tonight passing on more information, but really there are few surprises here. The last report we had said that he hoped to fly out on Wednesday, but when that day came and went without an update, and then two more followed, I assumed that the expedition was probably off. Hopefully Ben can go home and regroup for next year. Perhaps 2012 will offer a bit more luck.
This surely has been an odd year for North Pole expeditions. There will be no true journeys to the Pole this year, and only a few last degree trips as well. This is likely a sign of things to come however, as the Arctic Ocean is getting more and more unstable and the weather conditions are becoming more difficult as well. I've said it before, and I'll say it again. The days of going to the North Pole on foot, may becoming to an end very quickly. Maybe even more quickly than I had originally thought.