Gavin Bate Completes Race To The Pole

With all of the news coming out of the Himalaya the past few days a few other stories didn’t get the attention they deserved. For instance, while we were all embroiled in the soap opera taking place on Everest, British adventurer Gavin Bate completed his expedition to the Magnetic North Pole. You may recall, Gavin was skiing to that point in an effort to raise funds for his Moving Mountains Trust, an organization focused on sustainable development projects in Kenya, Nepal and Borneo.

When he set out from Resolute Bay on April 4, Gavin began skiing toward 78° 35’N, 104°11’W, the site of the Magnetic North Pole as it was recorded back in 1996, when the first Polar Race was held. The journey would cover 550km (341 miles) through one of the coldest and most inhospitable environments on the planet. Along the way, the British adventurer faced temperatures that dropped to -40ºC/F, high winds that made it feel even colder and blizzards that lasted for days. Just this week, a few days from the finish line, Gavin and a few traveling companions even had a close encounter with a large polar bear who decided to pay them a visit in the middle of the night.

On Tuesday, at 9:30 PM local time, Bate and his companions completed a long 35km (22 mile) final push to reach the Pole. They covered that distance over a period of 13 hours, arriving at their destination exhausted, yet happy and satisfied. The journey wasn’t quite over yet however, as the team had to ski an additional 28km (17 miles) yesterday to reach an airfield at Isachsen, a remote weather research station in extreme northern Canada. It was the closest point to the Pole where a plane could land to retrieve them.

The expedition was called Race Me To The Pole as Gavin invited us to follow along at home and match his distances traveled with pledges. For every £1 (approximately $1.50) that was donated to the Moving Mountains Trust, 25 meters was added to the virtual race total. The plan was to have the donations total enough cash to reach all the way to the Pole ahead of Gavin. That didn’t happen, he won the race, but donations have totaled more than  £14,278 ($22.191) anyway. That represents a distance of 354km, which is an impressive number to say the least. The organization is still accepting donations even though the race has come to and end. Click here to jump to the donation page.

Congratulations to Gavin for a job well done.

Kraig Becker