British polar explorer Pen Hadow has announced an epic and ambitious expedition for 2013. Yesterday he announced that he’ll return to the North Pole as he attempts to traverse the Arctic solo and unsupported.
The journey will cover approximately 1600km (1000 miles) and will begin in Russia. The plan is for Pen to proceed north to the Geographic Pole and then continue south into Canada, ending the expedition on the opposite side of the planet. Hadow estimates that it will take about 100 days to cover the distance, which will do completely under his own power. That means he won’t use machines, dog sleds or even kites to cover the distance. He also plans to do it without resupply.
Pen is no stranger to the Arctic. In 2003 he became the first person to go solo and unsupported to the North Pole from the Canadian side. That experience will prove invaluable this time out as well, as he is likely to find conditions at the top of the world have changed dramatically since that trip. The past two seasons have seen no successful full-length journeys to the Pole and as the polar ice caps shrink due to global climate change, there are now larger leads of open water to circumnavigate or cross.
The expedition isn’t just about the adventure however as Pen has plans to take scientific readings along the way. It is estimated that he’ll take as many as 50,000 measurements of environmental and ice pack conditions along the way, and that data will help scientists to get an idea of how the Arctic is changing.
Hadow’s expedition will likely start next March and of course I’ll be following along.
Update: This story has been edited slightly after I was reminded that Norwegian polar explorer Borge Ousland made the same journey, Siberia to Canada via the North Pole, back in 2001.
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