Bill Hanlon’s Northwest Passage Expedition Postponed

Arctic Poles
Bill Hanlon skiing to the South Pole in 2009

A back injury has forced Canadian Bill Hanlon to abort this year’s leg of his Northwest Passage expedition after just four days.

Hanlon, an experienced traveller in some of the most far-flung places on earth, was ‘Hauling for Health’ in an attempt to highlight the medical challenges facing remote communities in the sparsely populated Canadian territory of Nunavut.

He set off on April 8 with a slightly altered route. For logistical reasons, he chose to ski 600km from Cambridge Bay to Taloyoak rather than a slightly longer trek beginning in Kugluktuk. This was to be the first part of a multi-year solo expedition to traverse the full length of the Northwest Passage.

At first, Hanlon made good progress, covering 13 km on a short first day and at least 40 km on day 2. He reported cold and brisk winds up to 70 kph but he seemed to be progressing well.

But day 4 brought news that Hanlon was calling off the expedition. In a recording on his NGO’s website, Basic Health International, Hanlon explained that he tweaked his back while lifting his sled from the carousel at the Cambridge Bay airport. Hauling the 90 kg load seems to have made his back progressively worse. On April 11, he decided to return to Cambridge Bay. He arrived back in town on April 13.

More to come.

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Interview: Bill Hanlon on Skiing the Northwest Passage

Basic Health International

About the Author

Martin Walsh

Martin Walsh

Martin Walsh is a freelance writer and wildlife photographer based in Da Lat, Vietnam.

A history graduate from the University of Nottingham, Martin's career arc is something of a smörgåsbord. A largely unsuccessful basketball coach in Zimbabwe and the Indian Himalaya, a reluctant business lobbyist in London, and an interior design project manager in Saigon.

He has been fortunate enough to see some of the world. Highlights include tracking tigers on foot in Nepal, white-water rafting the Nile, bumbling his way from London to Istanbul on a bicycle, feeding wild hyenas with his face in Ethiopia, and accidentally interviewing Hezbollah in Lebanon.

His areas of expertise include adventure travel, hiking, wildlife, and half-forgotten early 2000s indie-rock bands.

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