North Pole 2010: And So It Begins…

The 2010 Arctic Season is preparing to get underway within a matter of a few days, as adventurous souls begin the long, cold, and dangerous march to the top of the world. The explorers are all gathering in Canada at the moment, putting the finishing touches on their preparation, and eager to hit the ice.

Eric Larsen, fresh off his recent journey to the South Pole, is in Ottawa, and trying to reach Resolute Bay, where he’ll start his march to the North Pole. A winter storm in Resolute has prevented travel to that remote town for the better part of today, but Eric hopes to arrive there soon, and being the process of organizing his gear and getting putting the finishing touches on his preparations. This will be the second leg of Eric’s Save The Poles Expedition, and if successful here, he’ll head on to Everest in the fall, to claim all three “Poles” in one year. Joining Eric on the journey is Darcy St Laurent and Antony Jinman.

Meanwhile, Christina Franco is back in Canada and preparing for her attempt to become the first woman to go solo and unassisted to the North Pole. She’s currently in Resolute Bay and up to her eyeballs in prep work. Her latest blog post even has photos of her getting her gear and supplies ready for the first 60 days out o the ice. She is expected to be resupplied en route. She does note that the storm is on going, but that hasn’t kept a bear from wandering into town.

Polar explorer John Dowd has completed his prep work in Yelllowknife, located in the Yukon Territory. He notes that he now feels much better on his skies, and isn’t falling nearly as much, which I’m sure comes quite a relief considering he’s about to undertake a 500 mile journey through the arctic. No word yet on when he’ll begin his journey.

Finally, Australian Tom Smitheringale is putting the final preparation together as well, and the countdown clock on his website now reads less than 18 hours to go until he sets out for the Pole. That indicates they’ll be leaving Iqaluit, Canada tomorrow, although his most recent blog update says that he is also stranded due to a blizzard. It is beginning to look like the expedition may not set off tomorrow as scheduled after all. His home team says they feel there is a 50/50 chance he’ll get to go. How ironic is it that a trek to the North Pole is delayed by a blizzard?

Good luck to everyone. The blizzard will pass soon, and the skies will clear, letting you move forward before you know it. Stay safe out on the ice.

For those of at home following, perhaps we should start a pool on how long it’ll be before someone spots their first polar bear. 😉

Kraig Becker

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