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2013: the 3000 km route from Tuktoyaktuk to Pond Inlet to be rowed in 75 days.
courtesy The Last First, SOURCE

Polar skiers to row Northwest Passage

Posted: Aug 07, 2012 11:06 am EDT
(Newsdesk, Updated: May 12, 2013 02:55 pm EDT ) While a team currently rowing a part of the NWP reported backtracking to take cover against a storm and large sheets of ice, two polar skiers announced their plans to row a part of the NWP [Ed note correction: the crew will be rowing a part of the NWP, not as previously reported "the NWP".]

We got to know Kevin Vallely and Ray Zahab for their speed travels to the South Pole and across Lake Baikal in Siberia, and for their ultra running across deserts and more. This time they are taking up the oars to row [a part of] the Northwest Passage, says Kevin to ExplorersWeb.

In 2013 The Last First crew, Kevin and Ray, together with Paul Gleeson, Frank Wolf and Denis Barnett, plans to cross the Northwest Passage in one season under human power, something that has never been done. They plan to start their attempt on July 1st and hope to complete the 3000 km route from Tuktoyaktuk to Pond Inlet in 75 days.

This route will take them across the route that Roald Amundsen and his men did on Gjøa between 1903 and 1906. To learn more about historical expeditions through the Northwest Passage, read here what the team says on their website.

Current NWP rowing facing large sheets of ice

Currently on the ice is the Arctic Row team who is rowing a part of the Northwest Passage and a crossing of the Bering Strait to Russia. This team started at Inuvik and rows in a western direction while The Last First team will row in an eastern direction in 2013.

The Arctic Row crew reported no forward movement in their August 7th dispatch.

Their home team reported Aug. 6th: “Last night the team reluctantly rowed 12 miles north, backtracking over ground [read: water] they’d previously fought hard to cover. It was tough to do emotionally, but bought them crucial protection from the elements.”

“Let me explain — 10 miles north of the town of Barrow (although still south of Point Barrow, I’m told) is a lagoon that’s protected somewhat from the open water of the Arctic. They pulled in there, and are currently anchored about 300 feet from shore, in 5 or 6 feet of water, where they intend to ride out the remainder of the storm that is currently wreaking havoc on the area.”

“This provides them protection from the ice that’s being blown toward shore, and also some shelter from the high seas that follow from super strong winds.”

“The storm is predicted to bring wind gusts of up to 45 miles per hour. To put that in some perspective, 50 mph winds are considered strong enough to blow over a grown man, so the team isn’t expecting to enjoy what’s coming.”

“That said, the threats they’ve been facing are largely neutralized by being in the lagoon, which is also allowing them to preserve their non-stop status. So we’re no longer concerned that they could be forced out of the water.”

“Now the biggest problem is the delay they’re facing. But they’ve begun to ration their food a bit, and will worry about the delay another day. For now, they’ll sit (in 2 cabins the size of airplane bathrooms) and wait it out.”

The team could be iced in for up to 10 days before ice retreats, added the home team.

Below a video of The Last First team:



Read the biographies of The Last First crew here.
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