North Pole 2010: Barneo Opens and Other Expeditions

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For the past month or so we’ve been following the polar explorers who have been slowly making their way toward the North Pole from the Canadian side of the ice. For those intrepid few it has been a challenging slog as they battle huge ice fields, open water, and frustrating bouts with negative drift. Those warriors continue towards their goal, but there are others who are hitting the ice and will be making a similar, albeit shorter, journey to 90ºN.

Explorers Web is reporting that the Barneo Ice Station is now open on the Russian side of the Pole. This temporary base is built each spring when a team parachutes onto the ice and helps construct a runway that allows for well heeled adventure travelers to be shuttled to the Arctic. The base is often used for “last degree” expeditions to the Pole, and many explorers get airlifted off the ice from Barneo once they’ve completed their long distance treks. The station, which opened on March 30th, will likely stay open for about a month or so, providing support for a number of teams.

With the opening of the Ice Station, there are others making their way out onto the ice now that haven’t been out there for weeks already, but still hope to visit the top of the world. Take for example 15-year-old Parker Liautaud, who was interviewed for the Outside Blog yesterday. Parker is attempting to create a network of similarly minded, adventurous teens, who want to share ideas on how to protect the environment, and he is inviting everyone to follow him on his Last Degree adventure on his Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube accounts.

In the Outside interview, Parker discusses his preparation and training for the journey, what inspired his expedition, and the gear that he is taking along with him. Something he discusses in the video below.

Another young adventurer heading out on a challenging journey. Going to the North Pole is a struggle, and I envy his opportunity to visit that place, although it is an altogether different experience from going to Everest.

Kraig Becker

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