With the opening of the Barneo Ice Station last week, there has been a lot of traffic coming and going from the North Pole and the arctic in general. The temporary base is only scheduled to remain open for another two weeks, so travelers to the top of the world are taking advantage of the window while they can. To get a sampling of what is happening at Barneo, along with lots of great photos, check out the Live Journal, translated from Russian, by clicking here.
One of the explorers who is currently out on the ice and rapidly making his way to 90ºN is Mark Wood who is looking to cap his solo expedition to the South Pole with a similar journey to the North. According to his most recent update, which was posted yesterday, Mark was sitting at 89º49’32″N. That means he should arrive at the North Pole today provided everything goes as expected. He’ll then immediately get airlifted back to Barneo before heading home. Wood has noted that temperatures have been hovering around -30ºC/-22ºF, which is colder than anything he had experienced while in the Antarctic. He also says that even though he is approaching the finish line, he is still quite wary of the challenges, which include open leads of water and polar bears.
The 6 Ordinary Men have completed their last degree journey to the North Pole, arriving at that point earlier today. You may recall this is the team of Brits who were skiing from 89ºN to the Pole to raise funds for the Sparks Charity, an organization dedicated to improving the health of children. While their journey was a relatively short one, it was still challenging. Conditions out on the ice haven’t been easy and the temperatures have been bitingly cold.
Finally, the team of French researchers at the North Pole have been diligently going about their work in varying conditions as well. They have taken advantage of the mid-night sun to collect more samples and take various environmental and atmospheric readings, but that sun hasn’t provided much in the way of warmth. Their most recent dispatch indicates that temperatures at the top of the world have been around -35ºC/-31ºF.
In addition to these hardy explorers, there are a number of tourists traveling to the North Pole at the moment as well. Most are going by aircraft and not staying long, but a few are taking part in last degree ski journeys too. It is one of the top adventure travel destinations on the planet and few ever get a chance to visit that remote place. Considering joining such an expedition on your own? Expect to devote about 15-20 days and pay around $40,000. Ouch!
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