The team encountered some adverse conditions during the first full day of skiing today. Several of the guys slept cold which makes a challenging day that much harder. The weather conditions were beautiful for skiing (clear skies and a little breezy) but the terrain presented a never-ending gentle uphill slope.
The Svalbard Ski Expedition has finally begun! After a delayed flight (due to a medical emergency on board) the team gathered in Longyearbyen and sorted out all of their equipment. When we heard from them, everyone had just had dinner together and went over the expedition itinerary.
The Last Degree Ski team is getting a well deserved day of rest after their epic push to The Pole yesterday. This morning, they were picked up from their camping spot near the North Pole, and taken to the Barneo Ice Camp which provides logistical support for all of the expedition teams. They will spend the night there and plan to fly back to Longyearbyen tomorrow. In the mean time, the team will rest, celebrate, and mingle with the staff and other visitors at Barneo. Places like this often attract some very interesting people from all over the globe and our team will only add to the exciting mix. Stay tuned for an update from the team tomorrow once they have their feet firmly planted back on solid ground.
Photo sent from Keith team camped at the Geographic North Pole.
A HUGE congratulations (!!) to our North Pole Last Degree Ski Expedition for reaching the North Pole today despite very challenging conditions. They reached the North Pole at 8:53 PM local time after spending 12 hours on the go and covering a total of 15-16 miles. The team (Abdullah Alsaeed, Peter Cardwell, Abdulla Al Alahbabi, Zdenek Chvoj, Harvey Oyer and Keith Heger) are thrilled to have reached their goal. Here's a quick update of their day:
The Last Degree Expedition (Peter Cardwell, Zdenek Chvoj, Abdulla Al Alahbabi, Harvey Oyer, Abdullah Alaeed and Keith Heger) had a great day. They gained 2 nautical miles overnight (we can't emphasize how nice that is!!!) and they made an additional 10 miles during the day. Their current position is N89.48.335, E127.46. Team Fioretti Mountaineers are back in Longyearbyen enjoying the civilized life! Here's a recap of each of their days:
A huge congratulations to Peter, Bob and Eric for arriving at the Pole yesterday after a long push on their last day. Because of their early arrival they were able to get a helicopter transfer back to the basecamp and fly back to Longyearbyen several days ahead of their scheduled return. The helicopter picked them up at 11 AM local time this morning and brought them back to the Barneo Basecamp. They spent 45 minutes in Barneo before flying back to Longyearbyen (ah, civilization!). Now they are the comfort of their hotels, with plans for a nice dinner this evening. Well done! Here are some pictures from the last day.
It was a whirlwind of a day, especially for our North Pole Fliers who made a mad dash to the North Pole (and back) all in one day - not much sleep for them! Our skiers, on the other hand, got a good night's rest and had the added bonus of waking up a little farther north than where they had fallen asleep. Here's an update from each team:
The top of the world is a dynamic place. Ice is drifting and shifting, temperatures fluctuate, visibility comes and goes, and logistics change. We had a little of each of these today with our three North Pole teams. Here's a recap of each team:
With blue skies and no wind today was a beautiful day on the pack ice at the top of the world. Cold, yes, (-25 F, -30 C) but not as cold as yesterday, and the temperatures seem to be warming. Here are updates from our teams:
Last Degree Update:
Our last degree ski expedition had their first full day of travel today. It's always nice to put that first day behind you. All things being equal (ice conditions, weather, mood...) everyday gets easier as the sled gets lighter and YOU get smarter and more experienced! The team covered 7 nautical miles from their drop off point last night, ending at N89.08.72, E 138. That's a good first day, especially considering they didn't get to bed until 2 AM last night! They had a cold day with temperatures remaining steady at -30F / -34 C. In temperatures like these it can be a struggle to keep your hands warm, especially right after breaks when your body is slightly chilled. The key is to stay well fed, well hydrated and to move, move, move! It's also critical to pay close attention to your body and take action to warm up those parts of your body that are cold. There was a slight headwind on their faces as they skied. No doubt they all had their face masks on, or layers pulled up and over their noses and cheeks.
They are all cozy in their tents, after a filling meal of appetizers, soups and a hearty dehydrated dinner. A few well placed hot water bottles will make their sleeping bags feel extra cozy tonight. Not that they need the help falling asleep, they are probably tired enough from all the hard work.
Click here to listen to Keith's audio dispatch and check back again tomorrow for another update from the team.
Half Degree Update:
We have another team heading to the ice soon! Team Fioretti Mountaineers with Peter and Bob Fioretti and guide Eric Lillstrom have been training in Longyearben and they will be departing for the Barneo Basecamp tomorrow (Monday) morning. So far on their journey they have explored Longyearbyen and the surrounding valleys during their overnight Shakedown training. They practiced camp routines, traveling with their sleds in tow, and many of the systems that they will use to stay safe and comfortable (at least as comfortable as possible!) during their expedition.
They are looking forward flying to Barneo and starting their journey! Click here to listen to Eric's audio dispatch and check back again tomorrow for another update from their team.
Below: Heading North!
Below: Peter, Bob and guide Eric Lillstrom (sorry... for some reason this blog software insists that this photo be sideways)