Our North Pole 2 Degree Dogsled Expedition is getting ready to depart! Duncan, Dan, Nick, Ben, CP and Maher are excited and ready to rock and roll. They will be kicking off this expedition blog on April 2. Check back soon to join in the fun! Meet the team here.
Current position: 90° North!!
Mission accomplished! The team reached the North Pole around 6:00 AM local. It was a very challenging day (or night) with a lot of open water, strong winds and cold temperatures (-14°C, 7°F). They traveled for 13 hours with very poor visibility (30', 9m). They persevered and achieved their goal. They promise to call in an audio update once everyone is awake and has had their coffee and bacon. CONGRATULATIONS!!
The 2° Dogsled Team is on the move. Weather cleared sufficiently for them to begin travel. They are hoping to reach the North Pole sometime after midnight. We will keep you posted as we learn more. Go team!
The team called in early today, reporting that they are hunkered down safely in their tents as a major blizzard rages around them. Winds 30 knots gusting to 45 (35-50 mph), temperature -5°F (-20°C) with major wind chills. Visibility less than 20' (6m). Conditions are not safe for traveling so they will wait it out staying warm in their tents. Hoping for better conditions to come.
Current position: N 89°49.723, E 059°13.979
The team made good progress today with overall better ice conditions and much better visibility. The first few hours were challenging- some "creative route finding" through "funky" ice- slushy, sketchy enough for fun, but toward the end of the day they found some nice pans and were able to make solid tracks north. The dogs pulled well and the team did awesome as always. Ben, CP and Maher were a bit creaky in the morning, having skied 15 miles (24 km) yesterday. Temperatures were colder -20°C (-4°F). All are in good spirits as they plan to gun for the North Pole tomorrow- feeling feisty! Go team!
Current position N 89°36.531, E 056°05.279
The team traveled 9 hours today in "heinous" conditions- 20-30 knot (23-34 mph) winds, blowing snow, flat light, poor visibility- able to see 15-24 meters (50'-80') ahead. But as Maher says, they've had nothing but heinous conditions since day 1... They found some good pan ice, then lots of old pressure ridges, some one story high, several open leads and lots of wet snow. But they were able to make good progress despite the obstacles. And the dogs behaved themselves well- no dog fights today! Duncan (the "Durban Water Buffalo"), Dan (the "Bullet") and Nick (the "Jersey Bull") were mushing as Ben, CP and Maher skied. The team celebrated Duncan's 60th birthday drinking Amarula (a South African cream liquor) and toasting their accomplishments. Duncan's birthday wishes were to do some hard work and make miles- seems he got his wishes! Major congrats to the team and happy birthday, Duncan!!
Current position: N 89° 20.272, E 054° 12.278
The team woke to a welcome gift of having drifted about 2.5 miles north (4 km). Conditions were still quite challenging in the morning with lots of rubble, pressure ridges and open water. They finally improved about 2:00 PM and the team found some nice pan ice. They were on the trail for 8.5 hours and were able to make good progress overall. The team's spirits are great as they are hunkered in their tents with very strong winds blowing. At least the winds are still southeast so hopefully bringing more northerly gifts overnight. We congratulate the team for keeping up their spirits in the face of very frustrating conditions the past couple of days. All are looking forward to celebrating Duncan's birthday tomorrow!
Current position N 89°07.749, E 047°22.407
The team received their resupply today so hit the trail around 12:30 PM. Unfortunately, they continue to be challenged by massive open leads making it very difficult to find a route north. They also had heavy east drift. The skies were overcast though visibility was not bad, just not what they wanted to be seeing (the sight of some nice open pans heading north would have been most welcome!) The guides did some major recon, trying to find a good route and eventually found a "mish-mosh" way through though the ice was very active with new leads forming all around them. Maher reports that with each new obstacle thrown at the team (and there have been many!) the team members continue to grow more and more awesome. Spirits continue to be positive and all are hoping to find more solid ice tomorrow. The good news is that the wind has been southerly so hopefully they will get some northerly drift overnight.
Current position N 89°05.287, E 042°36.937
The day started well with good weather, calm and sunny, able to travel about 3.5 miles smoothly. Then they hit a huge lead- fresh black water running northwest. They followed the edge of the lead for about 3.5 hours, then conditions deteriorated further with more broken and jumbled ice. They decided to set up camp around 4:30 PM local time, hoping to get up tomorrow to better conditions. The good news is they have drifted about 1/2 mile North since setting up camp! Their resupply has been rescheduled for tomorrow. All continue to be in good spirits, gorging on Dan Dahlgren's chocolate covered peanut butter balls!
Current position: N 88° 59.541 E 041°54.000
The team encountered challenging ice conditions today, having to create a "road" through pressure ridges about one story high, forward progress then having to create another road, more forward progress then another road... Definitely team building exercises! They also learned how to make ice bridges across some open leads, then zig-zagged through a maze of "old growth" ice. They did have a few sweet stretches of pan ice in between where they could really cover some distance. Fortunately, the day ended with a nice pan so spirits are high. And the sun was out so they could actually see where they were going, something one does not take for granted on a Polar expedition! They are due for their resupply tomorrow which is always exciting.
Stay tuned for further updates as they cross over 89° N tomorrow!
Today the team woke to better weather and better ice conditions. They had only drifted 1/3 mile south overnight (much better than 2 miles previously!) The day started with some "road building" (that means making a path through the rubble or pressure ridges), followed by some faster travel on flat pan ice. They alternated between rubble, pan ice, pressure ridges, open water and ended when they hit a "show stopping" big, fat lead. The temperature was relatively warm (no ice on beards which is huge!). Nick and Ben skied while Duncan and Dan ran the dogs. The dogs are getting along better as they are getting used to their current team (though one is in heat which always makes life more challenging!)
They had some sun in the morning but then turned to flat light for the rest of the day. Maher says he is so very grateful for his Jublo goggles- without them, he would not have been able to find their route through the ice in the flat light. They are camped near the "show stopping" lead and hope to cross it tomorrow morning. Their current position is N 88° 52.288, E 040° 50.579.
Listen to Maher's audio update and check back again tomorrow for another update from the team.
The team continues to battle the southerly drift of the Polar treadmill- waking up 2 km or so south from where they set camp last night, challenging N-NE winds all day, working hard to gain mileage. Current coordinates are N 88°45.296, E 042°43.492. The morning brought decent weather with good light and decent ice. Then the afternoon brought challenges of lots of rubble, pressure ridges, open leads and minimal visibility, then snow storms and strong winds. But the team's spirits remain positive and they are ready to seize the day tomorrow!
Today the team had a difficult day with flat light, poor visibility with the wind coming from the north east. This brought along a southwest drift that is difficult on any day, but especially a first day. They put in a full day of travel and in the end they can only count a handful of miles under their belt. This is because the ice beneath them was drifting south as they traveled north. They also had some difficult ice conditions with lots of rubble. This likely made for some graduate level dogsledding.
The good news is that the team is strong and they are in good spirits. They are on the fast track to becoming pros! They are camped tonight at N 88°43.207, E 045°17.620.
Listen to today's audio update from Duncan and check back again tomorrow for another update from the ice.
They are on their way! The dogsled team flew from Longyearbyen at 10:00 AM local time today. After days of waiting, being as patient as possible, readying their kit, exploring Longyearbyen and the surroundings, they were very excited to finally be heading to the ice.
They spent a few hours in Barneo going through the debrief and readying themselves for the helicopter ride. They were dropped at 88°39'35" N, 45°12'61" E. It was around 5:30 PM local time so they decided to make camp (which went very efficiently), have dinner and get ready for an early start tomorrow. The weather is relatively warm, around -15° C with no wind. The day has been quite clear and sunny though it is starting to get a bit overcast. We wish the team a good night's rest on the ice so they can hit the trail running in the morning.
Today the team made use of their time in Longyearbyen. They went out shooting at the gun range in Longyearbyen and they spent some time with their dog teams. Everyone is doing well and though they would rather be on the ice, they are handling the unexpected delay remarkably well. We will keep you posted as we learn more about their intended arrival on the ice.