North Pole 2011: Ben Saunders Prepares To Go, Others Evacuated From The Ice

IMG 1012It certainly has been an interesting season in the Arctic. Typically by now, there are usually several teams out on the ice and making their way north, but with the weather has made that impossible, and forced a number of teams to pull the plug altogether. But that hasn’t stopped Ben Saunders, who is preparing to begin his speed-run to 90ºN as early as tomorrow.

Ben has been in Resolute Bay for a few days now, where he has been finalizing his preparations for the journey and getting his gear together. According to his latest blog post, he could begin his trek north as early as tomorrow, provided the current weather window stays open. On this expedition, Ben hopes to reach the North Pole in record time, which means he’s aiming to do it, on foot, in about 35 days. That’s a tall order to say the least, and the conditions are not working in his favor this year. But he’s ready to give it a go none the less, and after two failed previous attempts due to equipment problems, Ben is eager to reach his goal. Check out his video “Living On The Ice” below to get a sense of what he’s up against.

Meanwhile, Matthew Stowers and Jules Weekes, who were headed to the North Pole as well, have been evacuated from the ice. The two men made the decision on Sunday af

ter Weekes suffered frostbite to his hand. The injury was described as not being serious at this point, but had the continued on, it would have most certainly continued to deteriorate and would most likely would have resulted in a loss of digits. The two RAF officers will now head home to the U.K. where they’ll begin planning another expedition in 2012 or 2013.

With the two Brits off the ice, Saunders will likely be the only person out on the frozen Arctic Ocean. If he reaches the North Pole this season, it’ll be a truly remarkable feat.

Ben Saunders – Living on Ice from Ben Saunders on Vimeo.

Kraig Becker