North Pole 2012: New Team Hits The Ice, Others Waiting To Begin


Despite my doom and gloom headline from last week, the North Polar season isn’t quite over yet. In fact, while several teams have already aborted their expeditions for the year, another hit the ice over the weekend and a few more hope to join them in the days ahead.

The Norwegian team of Mads Agerup and Rune Midtgaard have started their journey to the North Pole. They were dropped off at 83.5ºN on Cape Discovery and according to their first blog update, they found the conditions to be better than expected. The duo didn’t waste and time in getting started either, as they apparently started hauling their sledges immediately and managed to cover 8.3km (5.1 miles) in about 3 hours. No word on their progress today, but best of luck to the boys who hope to reach the Pole by April 22nd, which is when the last flight off the ice is tentatively scheduled.

Meanwhile, the same plane that dropped off Mads and Rune also picked up Japanese solo skier Yasunaga Ogita. You may recall that he pulled the plug on his expedition last week, although we weren’t entirely sure why at the time. Turns out Yas wasn’t all that happy with the ice conditions, which were apparently deteriorating at a rapid pace. Those conditions slowed his progress considerably and so he decided it was best to turn back rather than take the risk of continuing northward.

Three Frenchmen are preparing for their North Pole adventure, which is now set to get underway on Thursday of this week. The men plan on spending the next month at the North Pole where they’ll be conducting scientific research on the Arctic Ocean and the effects of climate change on that region.

Also setting out soon are the Six Ordinary Men who have set their sights on a last degree expedition to the North Pole. They’ll be raising funds for Sparks, an organization dedicated to children’s health issues, and will begin their journey north on the first of April.

Finally, Mark Wood is expected to begin the second leg of his North South Expedition later this week. You may recall that Mark had planned to ski back-to-back to both the North and South Pole. Having already completed the Antarctic portion of the journey he has been gearing up to take on the Arctic ever since. Due to timing and ice conditions however he had decided to begin his journey at 90ºN and head south instead. He tells ExWeb that most of the logistics are now in place for the expedition to get underway, but he is still working out funding for his extraction from the ice. He hints that a few big decisions will have to be made this week or the entire project could be jeopardized.

Good luck to everyone about to get underway. Enjoy the journey!

Kraig Becker