North Pole ski wrap-up: Battle against the clock has started

North Pole ski wrap-up: Battle against the clock has started

Posted: Mar 02, 2011 12:08 pm EST

(By Correne Coetzer) Weather cyclones, high winds and ice breakups in the Canadian Arctic have postponed the drop off of the skiers at Cape Discovery till March 5. This decreases the days on the ice to 51. The skiers now battle with new decisions; to be resupplied, or not, to postpone the pickup date and return to Canada instead of Svalbard, to postpone the expedition to next year.

Canada to Geographic North Pole (90°N)

Unassisted, Unsupported

Matthew Stowers and Jules Weekes (UK, RAF)

The latest weather predictions have a possible break in the weather on Saturday 5 March. So until then its hurry up and wait, reports the team from Resolute Bay.

Michele Pontrandolfo (Italy, solo)

This situation is not very uncomfortable at all since the days to reach the North Pole decreased from 60 to 51, reported a concerned Michele.

Hard to say anything. Only hope to have some luck with the polar ice; if the conditions are decent, perhaps we could recover some days while traveling.

Michele says they will have a meeting today where everyone will decide if they want to make use of a halfway air resupply, and if they want to return from the North Pole to Canada by postponing the date with 4 days from 26 to 30 April. They will evaluate every option and then have to repack their sledges.

Yesterday was very cold and the wind chill has touched 50 degrees below zero; that is what the body endures.

Assisted, Unsupported

Pat Falvey and Clare OLeary (Ireland)

Pat and Clare reported that two weather cyclones came in from northern Greenland westerly across Cape Discovery and northern Ellesmere Island. Pilots will not fly due to high winds. Ice conditions are looking bad with lots of breakup.

Every day that passes by, our planning and decisions change, says Pat in a voice report. Resolute is a nice place, but all we want to do at this stage is get going. He says they are frustrated, disappointed and fearful of the consequences what these delays could have on their expedition upon arrival at the North Pole for an evacuation by the Russians on April 26. Our decision over the next few days will be under severe pressure on our time management to succeed.

They are on a knife edge, he added, as they now battle against the clock. The Arctic is throwing us a threatening challenge to achieve our goal. He says they could put their expedition on hold for next year; therefore the next few days decision to go or not to go will haunt their minds. If we get it wrong it will haunt our pockets for the years to come.

Not a time for the faint hearted and not a time to be afraid to make a wrong decision, Pat stated.

Upon arrival at the Geographic North Pole (90°N), the skiers are to be picked up by a Russian helicopter based at the drifting Ice Station, Barneo, and flown out to Longyearbyen on Svalbard. Barneo is more or less located at 89°N. The station closes down at the end of April and the last pick-up day at the North Pole is April 26, 2011.

LINKS

Jules Weekes and Matt Stowers (UK) RAF Northern Exposure 2011 team; daily updates and map
Michele Pontrandolfo (Italy, solo), blog
Michele Pontrandolfo (Italy, solo), homepage
Ben Saunders (UK, solo)

Assisted, Unsupported

Pat Falvey and Clare OLeary (Ireland)

Other links:

Barneo Ice Camp

CONTACT 5 expedition technology
CONTACT Augmented route map
HumanEdgeTech expedition technology

Polar rules of Adventure
What is solo?

#Polar #topstory









Pat Falvey: Not a time for the faint hearted and not a time to be afraid to make a wrong decision. In the image, packed sleds in Kenn Borek Airs hanger.
Image by Michele Pontrandolfo, SOURCE
Pat: Every day that passes by, our planning and decisions change. In the image, the weather station at Resolute Bay.
courtesy Pat Falvey and Clair OLeary, SOURCE
Pat: The Arctic is throwing us a threatening challenge to achieve our goal. In the image, Rick, meteorological staff, inside the weather station.
courtesy Pat Falvey and Clair OLeary, SOURCE
Pat Falvey; Two weather cyclones pouring in from northern Greenland westerly across Cape Discovery and northern Ellesmere Island.
SOURCE
Matt Stowers and Jules Weekes: The weather we want to have.
courtesy Jules Weekes and Matt Stowers (sent over Contact 5), SOURCE
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