While I was away last week the 2012 Arctic season all but came to an end. The Barneo Ice Station closed up shop for another season and most of the arctic explorers called it quits on a season that was already lacking any major expeditions. But just when you thought it was over for good, one team has started an epic journey that actually began at the North Pole.
Norwegian explorer Audun Tholfsen has joined forces with Estonian Timo Palo to launch their North Pole Expedition that will see them travel on skis and in kayaks from the 90ºN to Longyearbyen, the largest city on the island of Svalbard. The entire journey is expected to take upwards of two months to complete and will cover approximately 1400km (870 miles).
On their website, Audun and Timo talk about the biggest challenges that they will face along the way. They believe that the sea conditions will present the most difficulty, which is why they’re using kayaks to cover the large open areas of water. Their skis will serve them well early on in the expedition, but as they travel further south, they’ll be increasingly reliant on their boats as well. They also indicate that Arctic rubble fields and the ever present danger of polar bears will be of concern as well.
The two were airlifted to the North Pole on April 23 and started traveling shortly there after. Their blog doesn’t provide any updates since that point however, so it is hard to determine how they are faring thus far. Hopefully we’ll get some updates on progress soon however as this is one of the few big adventures to take place in the Arctic this year.
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