North Pole 2012: Explorers Ready To Go!Posted on the 01 March 2012 by Kungfujedi
Traveling to the North Pole presents some very unique and difficult challenges over a journey to the South. For starters, Antarctica actually has solid land underneath the polar icecap, while the Arctic is actually one giant slab of ice floating above the Arctic Ocean. That means that the ice is far less stable, and Arctic explores often have to deal with large open areas of water, called leads, that they must somehow find a way around, or cross. In recent years, those open leads have become larger and more frequent, particularly at the start of the journey, with global climate change usually being blamed.
Arctic explorers also have to deal with a frustrating phenomenon known as negative drift as well. Negative drift is caused when the large slab of ice they are traveling across actually floats further south, carrying them away from their intended destination at 90ºN. It is not uncommon for someone traveling in the Arctic to spend a full day covering ten miles of distance, only to stop for the night and have negative drift carry them in the opposite direction. More than one Arctic explorer has found that they are significantly further away from the North Pole when they wake up the next morning than they were when they went to sleep.
Those aren't the only challenges to Arctic travel either. For instance, the unstable nature of the ice can cause large areas of it to collide with one another, causing it to crack and break. This can create large debris fields filled with massive boulders of ice which can be extremely difficult to cross, particularly when you're dragging a sled filled with equipment and gear behind you. Additionally, when traveling through the Arctic, explorers need to carry a shotgun with them to help dissuade the polar bears from getting a little too close. In the Antarctic, explorers never encounter anything more vicious than a penguin.
As I write this, two expeditions are preparing to get underway. The Irish North Pole team, consisting of Clair O'Leary and Mike O'Shea, are waiting for word on whether or not their flight to Cape Discovery will fly today. Joining them on that flight will be Japanese solo skier Yasunaga Ogita, who hopes to complete an unsupported journey of his own to the North Pole.
In the days ahead, more teams, including a large contingent from the Indian Army, will head out on the ice. Lets just hope they have better luck than last year, when bad storms at the start of the season delayed flights long enough that most of the explorers simply gave up and went home. The window for skiing to the North Pole is a very narrow one, and the journey has only gotten tougher in the past few years. I hope that everyone at least gets a fair shot at achieving their goals in 2012.
These articles might interest you :
Despite my doom and gloom headline from last week, the North Polar season isn't quite over yet. In fact, while several teams have already aborted their... Read moreThe 19 March 2012 by Kungfujedi
It has been a challenging week for the Norwegian team of Mads Agerup and Rune Midtgaard, who are currently skiing to the North Pole from the Canadian side. Read moreThe 22 March 2012 by Kungfujedi
The 2012 North Polar season has been a quiet one so far, but after several teams abandoned their expeditions early on, it seems things are starting to heat up. Read moreThe 26 March 2012 by Kungfujedi
There may be only one team scheduled for the full journey to the North Pole on skis this year but a host of others are now gearing up to hit the ice. Read moreThe 29 March 2012 by Kungfujedi
With the opening of the Barneo Ice Station last week, there has been a lot of traffic coming and going from the North Pole and the arctic in general. Read moreThe 11 April 2012 by Kungfujedi
Have you ever read this blog one of the many other great outdoor websites and wondered how you could undertake some of those adventures yourself? If so, I have... Read moreThe 19 July 2012 by Kungfujedi
BOOKS, CULTURE, OUTDOORS
It looks like there won't be any full-length expeditions to the North Pole after all this year. Earlier today the Norwegian team of Mads Agerup and Rune... Read moreThe 30 March 2012 by Kungfujedi
MOST POPULAR FROM OUTDOORS
- Gray Day in Yellowstone by Hollis
- Mountain Bike Dolomiti by Stodge
- The Château-Going Begins by Everywhereonce
China Mitt Romney Samsung True Blood Apple Economy Russia Egypt Lady Gaga Lance Armstrong Christmas Mardi Gras Kony Rupert Murdoch Turkey Apps Rick Perry Father's Day Michelle Rodriguez Harry Potter Thanksgiving Mali North Korea The Box Office X-Factor Barack Obama Halloween Climate Change European Union World Cup 2014
ON THE OUTDOORS FORUM
- NASA Creates "Impossible Engine" That Could ... Reviewed by Dixie