North Pole 2012: Blizzard Conditions for Early Explorers

It has not been a great week for the first teams of skiers out on the ice and heading towards the North Pole. While the Irish team of Clair O’Leary and Mike O’Shea, as well as solo Japanese skier Yasunaga Ogita, were fortunate enough to get their respective expeditions underway early, the weather has been far from accommodating since they left Resolute Bay and it doesn’t look like its going to improve over the next few days either.

The second day that the explorers were in the Arctic the weather services issued blizzard warnings for the area. That meant high winds and the potential for heavy snow. While we haven’t had much word on Yas’ progress, we do know that Clair and Mike struggled for 7.5 hours through deep snow throughout the day. They also encountered several large open leads of water as well, which they were forced to swim across in their dry suits.

Over the past few days there has been little word about the progress of either of the teams nor is there an indication of their current positions on either website. My guess is that they are struggling to make much progress at the moment and that there isn’t much to report. Hopefully the weather will improve soon and they can start to get into their daily rhythm at last.

In the meantime, this bad weather is keeping other explorers stranded back in Resolute. It is impossible to fly through these blizzards and so a large squad from the Indian army is currently waiting for a flight out to Cape Discovery so they can begin their own expedition. At the moment it appears as if they won’t get that opportunity until this weekend at the earliest, so for now the two expeditions that have launched will continued to be the only ones heading north.

Lets hope they stay safe and sound inside of their tents rather than risk travel in a blizzard.

Kraig Becker