I mentioned yesterday that explorer Mark Wood was expected to announce the specifics of his plan to ski to the North Pole today and true to form, Mark has posted a video with details on the next stage of his expedition. The original plan was for him to follow-up his successful journey to the South Pole by skiing to the North Pole as well, making him the first person to do both journeys back-to-back. But unstable ice conditions and shifting logistics caused Mark to change his plans to actually start at 90ºN and travel southward instead. Those plans were then put in jeopardy because of funding and the need for cash to cover a possible emergency evacuation from the ice. Now, the final plans are in place and Mark knows what he’ll be doing over the coming weeks.
Instead of starting on the Canadian side of the Pole, as originally planned, or even starting at the Pole itself, Mark will now launch the next phase of his expedition from the Barneo Ice Station which is set to open next week. Barneo is a temporary base that is set-up each year by the Russians to allow access to the North Pole from their side of the planet. It is usually open for a month or so and serves as a logistical command center for Arctic expeditions. The actual location of the base changes slightly each season based on the movement of the ice caps and where a large, flat surface can be found to land the supply planes. Generally it is built at or around 88ºN however, which means that Mark will now be making a 2º journey to the Pole.
While the expedition was of utmost concern for Wood, he also wanted to ensure that his educational outreach program to classrooms stayed intact and his message of protecting the environment continued as well. When he begins the journey north next week he will continue to focus on those objectives as well. The video below shares his thoughts on the project.
With Mark dramatically shortening his expedition the Norwegian skiers of Mads Agerup and Rune Midtgaard are now the only team attempting a full North Pole ski expedition this season. We’ll keep our fingers crossed for their success.
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