North Pole 2016: News from VICAAR

plus, British ski team’s last two days in the UK and news about Ogita

(Correne Coetzer) Victor Boyarsky from VICAAR sent over news about the opening of the temporary Ice Station, Barneo, near 89ºN. This camp serves as Base Camp for Last Degree skiers (110km), other adventurers, scientists and tourists. It also serves as a base for the skiers skiing the full reverse distance from the Geographical North Pole (90ºN) to Land (775km), to get their helicopter ride to their start point.

Every year the MI-8 helicopters and Ilyushin-76 make their way from Russia to find a suitable ice floe in the last degree to build Barneo. When the camp is liveable, the Antonov-74 flies in from Svalbard with more camp gear, followed by passengers.

Boyarsky told Pythom/Explorersweb, “so far everything is going in accordance with usual routine in terms of logistic for launching Barneo!”

Barneo website reported on March 18 that two helicopters have started flying North to Krasnoyarsk. One of the helicopters was grounded on route due to bad weather. They also added that a lorry with landing equipment has arrived at the airport of Murmansk and wait for unloading.

Victor added he and his crew are expecting to be able to start the first commercial flight from Longyearbyen, Svalbard, to Barneo as scheduled on April 4th. “I myself will fly to Longyearbyen on March 30 and will take second technical flight, hopefully around April 1-2, to bring Mark Wood, Mark Langridge and Paul Vicary to the Pole, from where they will ski towards Canada.”

News Sources reported that Russia may be left without a North Pole research station for the first time since 2003. We wanted to make sure from Victor they were not talking about Barneo here.

“As for North Pole research station – yes, they meant not Barneo, but regular scientific drifting stations Russia launched nearly every year since 2003. The last one was in 2014 – “North Pole-40”, which was urgently evacuated due to worsening ice conditions at the location of the station!”

“Last year Russia had a temporary seasonal Scientific station, “North Pole 2015”, which was in fact, Barneo base, and remained on the ice after season was over, being provided with scientific equipment and scientists. This station was evacuated at the end of August.”

Mark Wood, Mark Langridge and Paul Vicary

In two days, the British trio, all with military background, will be on their way to Longyearbyen, Svalbard, for the last preparations before they go on the ice. They will attempt to ski, walk, swim, from the North Pole to Ward Hunt Island, Canada.

Follow their blog updates in the Dispatch Stream

Yasu Ogita

The Japanese Arctic explorer plans a 1000 km expedition in the high Canadian Arctic. He has spent several days in Iqaluit preparing, acclimatizing and talking to veteran polar explorer and Iqaluit resident, Matty McNair. Yasu is now on this way to the next stop on route to get to his start point, Resolute Bay.

His route stretches from Grise Fjord, Canada, to Siorapaluk in the Qaanaaq area on Greenland. Planned start date, March 24.