Pen Hadow Cancels North Pole Expedition, Hanging Up His Skis


British polar explorer Pen Hadow has pulled the plug on his North Pole expedition, citing a lack of funds and sponsor support. Hadow told the Daily Beast that the general economic climate isn’t very conducive to ambitious expeditions at the moment and he was planning a big one. In the same article, he also announced his retirement for exploration, leaving a legacy that is nearly unmatched in recent history.

Last year, Pen announced that he was planning a solo traverse of the Arctic that was to take place later this year. The expedition was scheduled to get underway in March, with Hadow setting out from Russia, traveling on foot to the North Pole then proceeding south into Canada. His route would have covered approximately 1000 miles (1600 km) and was expected to take about three months to complete.

But the costs for undertaking such a journey ballooned quickly and the expedition’s price tag rose to a staggering $1.3 million. It became a daunting task just to find sponsors and cash to help fund Pen’s adventure, which he had already decided would be his last. With the cancellation of the expedition, the polar legend simply went ahead and announced his retirement early.

Hadow’s resume is certainly an impressive one. He was the first person to travels solo and unsupported to the North Pole from the Canadian side of the globe. A year later, he traveled to the South Pole as well and would eventually become an arctic guide. He has also played an instrumental role in the Catlin Arctic Survey, serving as the Project Director.

It is a shame that Pen has had to cancel this ambitious expedition. I would have really liked to have seen him attempt his crossing of the Arctic. Economic conditions remain tough right now however and any North Pole expeditions remain dicey right now. I think the season ahead is going to be another tough one and I’m afraid it’s only going to continue to get more difficult in the years ahead. Pen’s adventure may have capped the age of exploration in the Arctic, as it really is the last great challenge at the top of the world.

Kraig Becker