North Pole 2009: Teams Underway!

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The 2009 Arctic Season is now officially underway with teams already underway or departing very soon. Looks like it’s going to be a very busy season at the top of the world.

The Catlin Arctic Survey team set off on Saturday, and after a short haul of just a few miles, promptly set up camp to take their first measurements of the ice. According to the Ice Team’s dispatch, the weather is very cold, -40ºC during the day, which at this stage is a good thing, as it means more solid, stable ice. The three person crew will be using ground penetrating radar to measure the health of that ice all the way to the North Pole. It should also be noted that the team is currently not navigating by compass, thanks to their close proximity to the Magnetic North Pole. Instead, they are finding their way through the use of more traditional methods, such as the positioning of the sun and the stars. It just goes to show you, on these expeditions, the more things change… 🙂

Meanwhile, Christina Franco sends word that she’ll be setting off at 6 AM tomorrow. Her gear is packed and loaded on one of the Twin Otter planes that operate out of Resolute Bay, and her course has been plotted. She’s eager to get started and ready to go, and tomorrow her solo journey to the Pole will begin. Good luck Christina.

Joining them out on the ice is John Huston and Tyler Fish who begin the Victorinox North Pole 09 expedition. They were hoping to get underway yesterday, but delayed the start until today, when they’ll begin his quest to become the first American team to go unsupported to the North Pole. They’re hoping to promote the lofty ideals of “Optimism, Humility and Responsible Action” along the way. We could all use a little of those things right about now.

The Peary Centennial Expedition also planned to get underway today. The three man team of Lonnie Dupre, Max Chaya, and Stuart Smith are celebrating the 100 years since Robert Peary and his team reached the Pole. The boys were expected to depart Resolute Bay today, en route to Eureka Weather Station, before heading on to Ward Hunt Island, where the journey will begin in earnest.

That’s all for now. Expect more updates soon as the Baffin Babes get underway on Baffin Island and several other high profile teams begin their expeditions as well.

Kraig Becker

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