Yesterday Ed Viesturs and John Stetson completed their two week arctic odyssey by returning to Pond Inlet, the starting point of their adventure on Baffin Island. You can read or listen to their final dispatch over at GreatOutdoors.com who have exclusively covered this expedition.
The two set off with two purposes in mind. First, the wanted to explore the effects of climate change on the Baffin Island region by taking measurements of key conditions while they traveled and by speaking directly to the Inuit people that inhabit the region to find out how their lives have changed already. The second objective was to test their equipment for a possible future trip to the South Pole, and judging from this final dispatch, it seems it was at least successful in doing that. Ed notes that their shakedown cruise allowed them to see what works, what doesn’t, and what needs to be changed before they would embark on any expedition at the South Pole.
The initial plan was for the guys to cover around 150 miles on their journey, but a couple of storm days made it difficult going, and they were forced to shorten things up some. In the end, their GPS told them they had traveled 107 miles before they returned to their starting point. Still no small feat when you’re dragging a heavy sledge behind you and battling snow and icy conditions over uneven and challenging terrain.
Ed is of course the first, and at this point only, American to have climbed all 14 of the 8000m peaks without oxygen. He is one of the premiere mountaineers in the world and has climbed and guided all over the globe. John Stetson is a renowned arctic explorer and dog musher who is also very respected. The two have yet to announce official plans for a South Pole expedition, but reading between the lines in these dispatches, and sounds like it could be a very distinct possibility. I guess we’ll just have to stay tuned to see if Ed and John have another big adventure planned together.
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