The weather delays are starting to get very serious for Ben Saunders, who is Resolute Bay and hoping to catch a flight to Cape Discovery soon so he can begin his attempt at a speed record to the North Pole. He had been hoping to get out on the ice yesterday, but a blog post last night indicates that the weather woes continue. Ben says that he talked to his pilot yesterday to get an update and the pilot indicated that the Arctic Weather Centre, located in Edmonton, is now saying that the current conditions might not clear until Monday or Tuesday of next week.
This news puts a serious crimp in Ben’s plans to say the least. He says that if he is dropped on Tuesday, which is still very much in question, he’ll have just 36 days to reach the Pole before the last plane of the season departs. That’s not giving him much room for error, and considering the speed record is just a shade over 36 days, he’ll have to be at the top of his game.
The weather reports indicate that conditions are absolutely horrible at the moment. Fresh snow is being dumped on the area by the foot, and blizzard conditions permeate the area. So even if the weather window opens for Tuesday, it is likely that conditions over the coming weeks could continue to be extremely bad, which could slow progress even further. But I think at this point, Ben would be willing to take his chances just to get on the move and at least try to go the Pole.
Any further delays will likely put an end to the expedition for this year. Saunders is an amazing athlete and has plenty of experience in the Arctic, but he also knows when to play it safe and when to press on. This could be another case of factors beyond his control causing him to scrub an expedition. Lets hope not though. I’d like to see him get a crack at that record as well.
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