According to Wide World Magazine, Ice Warrior Jim McNeil has canceled his planned expedition to the North Pole of Inaccessibility due to dangerous and unstable conditions out on the ice. You may recall that the initial plan was for Jim to make that long and arduous journey, along with 28 hand-picked explorers who were willing to join him for the trip’s specific legs.
The team had just completed four weeks of very intensive climbing training to prepare for the journey when the decision was made to pull the plug on the expedition. In a few weeks, Jim and his companions were preparing to travel to Resolute Bay, Canada, to start their trek.
Still, the meteorologists report that the ice is in terrible condition and doesn’t look to be improving in the weeks ahead, which could lead to hazardous conditions for those venturing out into the Arctic. Because of these reports, McNeil decided to postpone the expedition altogether and make another attempt next year, saying, “The risks of early failure, of cold injury and of needing to be rescued are too high to justify setting out,”
The North Pole of Inaccessibility remains one of the last great challenges in polar exploration. It is defined as the furthest point from land on the Arctic Ocean, and as of now, it has yet to be visited by man.
It would appear that that will remain the case, at least until next year. To visit the place on foot requires explorers to cross more than 800 miles of dangerous ice, with little support options to assist, and with the pack ice breaking up, the large areas of open water are hazardous to deal with.
This is obviously sad news for McNeil and his entire team, but it makes you wonder what it’s going to be like for the explorers heading to the geographic North Pole as well. Obviously, they’ll be dealing with similar conditions as well, and it sounds like it is going to be a very challenging year for anyone heading north.
Which begs the question. Is global climate change forcing us to consider a permanent ban on travel to the North Pole? Obviously, the ice pack at the very top remains solid, but other areas are not so lucky. Could it be that the only expeditions to the Pole will be from the last degree in a few years?
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