Scottish adventurer Jock Wishart is planning an expedition that will take place next summer, in which he and a small, hand picked team, will set out from Resolute Bay in Canada, and attempt to row to the Magnetic North Pole. Along the way, they’ll cover a distance of 450 miles through some of the harshest conditions on the planet.
According to this story, a specially designed boat is currently being constructed that will allow the team to easily drag it across the ice if necessary, as even in the summer there could be considerable ice flows to contend with. Additionally, a great deal of care is being put into reinforcing the hull and making sure that it is durable, yet light, so that it can stand up to the challenges of the ice while remaining easy to row through the water.
Wishart says that he first became aware of the idea of rowing to the Magnetic North Pole in 2007, when he realized just how much the polar ice was breaking up during the summer months. Global climate change has caused waterways to open in the arctic that didn’t exist a decade ago, and adventurers are now exploring them in a variety of ways.
The Magnetic North Pole should not be confused with the Geographic North Pole, which is the one that most explorers visit during the spring North Pole season. The Magnetic Pole is where our compasses point, and it actually sits further south in the Arctic Ocean and even shifts location a bit over time. At this point, it is still impossible to sail or row to the Geographic North Pole, but if pack ice continues to melt, that may not be out of the question in the future.