North Pole Season Cancelled

Arctic Poles
A clown from happier seasons at Barneo. For the tourists who paid big bucks for a Last Degree trip, the last several days have been no joke.

After 10 days of delays, the political wranglings between Ukraine and Russia have ended the 2019 North Pole season before it could begin.

Latest word from Galya Morrell, a veteran of the floating ice camp Barneo, is that the  test flights for the small plane from the Canadian company Kenn Borek can’t proceed because of the weather conditions in Longyearbyen. With time running out to prepare the camp and ensure that the runway is safe, a decision was made this afternoon to cancel the season entirely.

The scheduled Ukrainian AN-74 could have brought passengers to the floating ice station days ago, but of course, the flight license was revoked under circumstances which, much like typical conditions at Barneo, remain shrouded in fog.

The cancellation means that guides, Last Degree skiers, champagne tourists, and marathon runners are now seriously out of pocket and must either head home or find alternative fun in Longyearbyen, which is already packed with seasonal guests.

Recently, Barneo has faced both unstable ice and political issues with Norway. Last year’s season lasted only 12 days, the shortest yet. This latest disaster might make prospective clients think twice about booking North Pole jaunts in future.

“Till the last moment, we were hoping for a magical solution, but it did not arrive,” says Morrell. She added: “Each time, as you fly from Svalbard to Ice Camp Barneo, you see the shattered sea ice underneath. It looks like a puzzle. The puzzle is breathtaking, it is beautiful and even majestic. The political puzzle which we failed to resolve in these last days is just ugly.”


About the Author

Ash Routen

Ash Routen

Ash is an outdoor and adventure writer from the UK. He juggles a day job as a public health scientist with a second career in outdoor writing.

His words have featured in newspapers, magazines, and on various brand websites. Major bylines include Financial Times, Daily Telegraph, Porsche, Outside Magazine, Rock and Ice, and Red Bull.

He holds two degrees in Exercise and Health Sciences, and a PhD in Public Health.

His areas of expertise are polar expeditions, mountaineering, hiking, and adventure travel. In his spare time Ash enjoys going on small independent sledding expeditions, outdoor photography, and reading adventure literature.

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Richard Spencer
Richard Spencer
2 years ago

Stop breaking up the protective ice cover…