North Pole wrap-up: Eric Larsen, Antony Jinman and Darcy St Laurent at the Pole; Two teams race against the clock

Posted: Apr 23, 2010 03:05 pm EDT

Eric, Antony and Darcy arrived at the Geographic North Pole after 51 days on the Arctic ice. The two remaining teams are putting in 18-24 hours skiing per day to beat the clock on April 26. They experienced a negative drift again last night.

The diving team describes the three-dimensional world under the ice.

Unassisted (No resupplies), Unsupported teams:

Amelia Russell and Dan Darley - Cape Discovery Start (McClintock Inlet)

Dan reported they drifted back over 3nm last night so they realized they needed to change something if they are to get to the pole still. We did a tough 18hrs today, with no extra food, and aim to do 24+tomorrow and the next day which fits in nicely with our pick-up schedule.

He said the ice was decent enough at the start yesterday but by halfway they had some real rubbish to slowly work through.

They had their moments on the ice. While sitting on their sleds on a frozen lead to take a quick rest and drink the whole lead shook, it did this a few times so we beat a hasty retreat.

Dan said the next update will be in 36 hours or so, then again after we have finished. A lot of walking in the next days for us, we will be shattered but then rest!

Position April 22: 89.6186N, 043.9917W

Tom Smitheringale

A Canadian ExplorersWeb reader, Ingrid Hein, shot over some news about Tom arriving at Thule Air Force Base in Greenland on his way from Alert to Ottawa and then Perth, Australia. For an article in Eye on the Arctic click here and photographs by Levon Sevunts, click here.

Assisted (Resupplied), Unsupported teams:

Michele Pontrandolfo Ward Hunt Island Start

Micheles evacuation was scheduled for April 19, but he is still on the ice. Barbara from his home team told ExplorersWeb that bad weather is preventing the plane from picking him up. In the mean time he remains in the same place and drifting a lot.

He found a place for the plane to land and spent time preparing a big enough runway. Barbara said his food is running out and he has only enough food until Sunday (April 25). Yesterday the weather was still cloudy.

Sarah McNair-Landry (guide), Linda Beilharz and Rob Rigato - Ward Hunt Island

The team skied 18 hours yesterday, mostly in good travel conditions; sunny, with some hazy cloud. The temperature was -21°C, with a fresh northerly wind, they reported. Again the northerly wind blew them backwards during the night.

They say they are changing their schedule to get more travel time alternating with a bit of sleep.

Have a look at their website for some fun facts about the expedition in the Frosty Bytes dispatch.

Position April 22: 89.15N, 050.38W

Eric Larsen, Antony Jinman an Darcy St Laurent - Cape Discovery Start

The lead they camped next to the last night closed overnight and could only be a good omen, the team thought. But the Arctic Ocean had other ideas, said Eric. For starters, we drifted two and a half miles south while we slept. The first shift found us floundering through drifts, pressure ridges and small fractured pans.

Eric was leading the last few miles and said after some thin ice, open water and moving ice, he skied out onto a massive vast stretch of flat ice. Before me, about a half mile farther was the North Pole.

The team left on March 3 and has received two resupplies. During November January 2009-10 Eric was the guide for an assisted expedition to the South Pole. His next aim is Everest in October this year.

Partial expeditions:
Assisted (Resupplied), Unsupported
Deepsea under the Ice

The ski and dive team considers getting off the ice earlier than planned because of logistical reasons. The aircrafts may soon not be able to land on the ice to pick them up and reaching the shore is not doable anymore this year, they reported.

Emmanuelle wrote in a dispatch about their diving, What struck us all at our first immersion here is that we went into a three-dimensional world: ice cliffs and ice ridges fall down of more than twenty meters below the surface on each side of us.

She also described some of the important tasks of the surface team supporting the divers, Pascal and ClĂŠment regularly are in charge of the surface security during dives, they take it with great seriousness and in a good mood. It is very important because the diver before getting into the water is not autonomous.

He needs help for everything, putting on the instruments and masks, and defrosting the equipment before and after the dive. Underwater, they keep us connected by holding the security rope "not too tight but not too loose" ... They have all our confidence for this serious job. They also record the scientific report for the weather records and the snow thickness.

A blizzard is forecasted for the area where the team is located, reported the home team. (Friday, April 23): in the morning, wind: south/south east 10-20 knots with warmer air. In the afternoon and evening: Wind south/south east 20-30 knots. A low-pressure system is coming from the west and heading east very quickly creating this phenomenon. Saturday: they will be in the center of another low-pressure system and so no wind or very light one. The good weather is supposed to come back on Sunday.

Read an article written by Wayne Davidson, their Meteorological Observer based in Resolute Bay, on the Arctic sea ice conditions in 2010. Click here.

Stats April 22: 88°1947N, 048°32 06W
Temperature: -24°C, wind chill -35°C

Barneo Ice Camp

April 22, 2010
Coordinates: 89° 04N, 068° 43'E.
Temperature -23°C. Wind: West, 7-8 m/sec.
Atmospheric pressure 766 mm Hg.

Links to:
Polar Rules and Definitions
Polar Statistics
What is solo?

Links: Canada to Geographic North Pole (90°N)

Unassisted (no resupplies), Unsupported:
Amelia Russell and Dan Darley - UK
Tom Smitheringale - solo, Australia (Evacuated)

Assisted (Resupplied), Unsupported:
Michele Pontrandolfo - Italy
Eric Larsen, Antony Jinman and Darcy St Laurent - (Erics website) USA, UK, Canada
Antony Jinmans website, UK
Richard Weber (guide, Canada), Tessum Weber (Canada), David Pierce Jones (Switzerland) and Howard Fairbank (South Africa) Finished
Howard Fairbanks blog, South Africa
Sarah McNair-Landry (guide), Linda Beilharz and Rob Rigato - Canada, Australia

Near North Pole to Ellesmere Island (Resupplies)
Deepsee Under the Pole by Rolex - Ghislain Bardout (leader), Emmanuelle PĂŠriĂŠ, Alban Michon, Samuel Audrain, Benoit Poyelle ClĂŠment Infante, Vincent Berthet, Pascal Rey, Kayak, the Siberian husky and Valentine Ribadeau Dumas at base camp in Resolute Bay - France, Canada

Other Arctic expeditions:
Ann Daniels (leader), Martin Hartley, Charlie Paton - Catlin Arctic Survey team, 85°N to 90°N, UK, Assisted (Resupplied), Unsupported
Russian Ice Station Barneo


Antony Jinman (UK), Eric Larsen (USA) and Darcy St Laurent (Canada) at 90°N (click to enlarge)
courtesy Eric Larsen, SOURCE
Rob Rigato during a break. He Sarah and his wife Linda have been rolling the clock for the past two weeks. Image over Contact5 (click to enlarge)
courtesy Icecap Journeys, SOURCE
2007-08 North Pole winter skiers, Matvey Shparo and Boris Smolin, lead a group of Russian youth on a Last Degree North Pole expedition (click to enlarge)
courtesy Barneo Ice Camp, SOURCE
A French diver gets support from a teammate defrosting his equipment with hot water (click to enlarge)
courtesy (c)Benoit Poyelle / Deepsea Under The Pole by Rolex, SOURCE