North Pole 2009: Christina Off The Ice!

Disappointing news from the ice this morning, as Christina Franco’s website has been updated with the news that she has been retrieved from the ice following what is being described as equipment failure just two days into her attempt at a solo journey to the North Pole. Apparently, Christina’s stove suffered a “double failure” and the time and parts needed to repair it would require her to fall far behind the schedule she needed. Unable to heat the tent or cook food, she has made the choice to return home. For now.

But, Christina does say she isn’t quite done with the North Pole just yet. She will regroup and head to the Russian station at Borneo where, she’ll ski from 88º to the Pole. She sees this as good practice for next year, when she fully intends to go after that solo expedition once again.

The Catlin Arctic Survey Team, has already fallen into a routine out on the ice, with long days of pulling their heavy sleds, just to set up camp in time to drill for core samples. The team is also finding newly formed ice as they go, and Ann Daniels reports in yesterday’s blog post that she gets the unenviable task of having to “go first” out on this ice to test it’s stability. A nerve racking task to be sure. The team’s twitter feed this morning reports that they are navigating an ice field with 2-3 meter blocks of ice, and temperatures hovering around -40ºC. Sounds like a lovely day!

The Peary Centennial Expedition got underway on Wednesday, but departed from Cape Discovery, rather than Ward Hunt Island, due to the better weather conditions. The starting location is actually a bit further south, but with improved conditions they hoped to make up the difference in no time. The plan seems to be working, as they managed 3.5 nautical miles yesterday, which is a solid pace for this early into the expedition. Weather and spirits are reportedly good, although the temps are about -45ºF as well.

Finally, The Baffin Babes are off! The team left Norway on the 1st of March, and there has been no update from them since, so we can only assume that they are on Baffin Island at this point, and preparing to set out on their journey. In typical Babe fashion, they arrived at the airport with too much luggage and had to pare down a few things before they could board their plane. Hopefully we’ll be getting updates from the team soon.

That’s all for now!

Kraig Becker

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