Update: Colliard Cancels North Pole

Citing continued uncertainty about whether the Barneo Ice Station will open, Vincent Colliard has canceled his solo North Pole expedition.

“I had a meeting yesterday…and they unfortunately cannot confirm the opening of [Barneo] yet,” Colliard told ExplorersWeb. “The Norwegian aviation authorities are asking for more papers. Also, 35 of the Russians who operate Barneo still don’t have their visas to Norway, although they submitted their passports two months ago.”

Despite widespread European sanctions because of the Ukraine invasion, Russians are permitted to enter Norway, as long as they have a visa. But fearing an influx of Russians trying to flee their country’s military draft, Norway has tightened its requirements since last summer.

Staging operations for building the ice station take place out of the Norwegian islands of Svalbard. So the Barneo workers need this Norwegian visa.

“I told myself I would wait for a confirmation until mid-March,” said a disappointed Colliard. “I can’t wait any longer.”

Barneo is built on the ice of the Arctic Ocean at about 89˚N — 100km from the Pole. It is also crucial for the North Pole tourist season. Several outfitters use Barneo for last-degree ski trips, a North Pole marathon, and champagne flights to the Pole.

Jerry Kobalenko

Jerry Kobalenko is the editor of ExplorersWeb. One of Canada’s premier arctic travelers, he is the author of The Horizontal Everest and Arctic Eden, and has just finished a book about adventures in Labrador. In 2018, he was awarded the Polar Medal by the Governor General of Canada and in 2022, he received the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee Medal for services to exploration.