Will Steger: The dog-sledging master

Posted: Nov 01, 2005 08:15 pm EST

The fourth person ever to reach both poles, Will Steger, is one of the most important personalities in American polar exploration. He is also a world-class authority in dog-sledging.

Will's skills leading dog packs across frozen polar planes have led him to several remarkable achievements, including an expedition to the North Pole in 1986, as well as a 1,600-mile south-north traverse across Greenland in 1988, starting from near Narsarsuaq to the Humboldt Glacier, just north of Quaanaaq.

One year later, Will jointly led an international team alongside Jean-Louis Etienne, across Antarctica. This amazing expedition covered 3,471 miles from Larsen Ice-shelf to Mirnyj and took place over an 8-month period 1989-90. The team included a Russian, Victor Boyarski, a Brit, Geoff Somers, a Chinese, Qin Dahe, and a Japanese, Keizo Funatsu. They all set off by mid-August, reaching the Pole in December and then traversing through the area of inaccessibility.

Across the miles and years

But the longest trip Will has taken part in was in fact the first dog-sledging traverse of the Arctic Ocean from Russia to Ellesmere Island in Canada. Accomplished in 1995, the adventure led them 2,500 miles by dogsled and canoe-sled from Russia to Canada via the North Pole.

Will's latest polar expedition took place just last year. Steger led the Arctic Transect 2004 expedition, a 5-month dog-sledging journey through the Northwest Territories in Canada.

Will, the environmentalist

Steger has also become a recognized authority on polar environmental issues. He has been invited twice to testify before Congress on the subject, and is also involved in several academic groups focused on the environment and adventure. Will is currently engaged in starting a foundation of his own.

For over 40 years Will has made his home in northern Minnesota on the edge of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. Oh yeah - and he has a new website, which started this story to begin with! Make sure to check it out.

Will Steger has led some significant feats in dogsled exploration such as a dogsled journey to the North Pole without re-supply (1986), the 1,600-mile south-north traverse of Greenland (1988), the historic International Trans-Antarctica Expedition (1989-90), and the longest dogsled traverse of the Arctic Ocean from Russia to Ellesmere Island in Canada (1995).

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The fourth person to reach both poles, Will Steger is one of the most important personalities in American polar exploration.
In 1989-90 Will led the International Trans-Antarctic Expedition, which covered 3,471-miles, from Larsen Ice-shelf to Mirnyj. The team of six men and thirty-six specially bred (part wolf) and trained huskies took 220 days to cross the seventh continent (Click to enlarge).
Steger's skills leading dog packs across frozen polar planes have led him to several remarkable achievements, including an expedition to the North Pole in 1986 as well as a 1,600-mile south-north traverse across Greenland in 1988 (All images courtesy of Will Steger's website).

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