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Irish North Pole team checking in at ExWeb from Resolute Bay

Posted: Mar 06, 2014 09:44 am EST


(By Correne Coetzer) Irish Mike O’Shea and Clare O’Leary are good to go. Packed and waiting for their weather delayed flight to Cape Discovery on Ellesmere Island, they checked in at ExplorersWeb. 


Their March 5th flight is delayed due to bad weather, as reported yesterday. Four teams are attempting a full route expedition from land to the Geographic North Pole this year. Among the 7 land to North Pole skiers, Clare is the only woman. 


The Irish team will be resupplied, “2-3 depending on conditions, mainly as we hope to make Barneo as it is so much cheaper for us to go home from there,” says Mike. Earlier fellow NP skier, Eric Larsen, explained that a flight to Cape Discovery or Ward Hunt Island costs $42,000, and getting picked up at the Pole (90ºN) by the same remote logistics operator, costs over $100,000. This particular logistics operator flies from Resolute Bay, nearly 6 degrees of latitude. While Barneo is about one degree of latitude from the Pole. 


Barneo is the Russian drifting Ice Camp, which opens on April 2nd (weather permitting) and closes on April 22nd. The Barneo MI-8 helicopters fly last degree (110km) and partial way skiers to their start points and pick them up at the 90 degrees North. Clare and Mike aim to fly out via Barneo and have to complete the 780km route from Cape Discovery by April 22.  


Mike says to ExWeb they have been in Resolute Bay February 24th. "So at this point we are chomping at the bit, we are excited to be honest, and feel very positive and strong."


The only item to tick off on their to-do list now is to get on the ice, he adds. "All the packing is done over and over to reduce weight and ensure enough of the essentials."


On their way from Ireland to the high Canadian Arctic, Clare and Mike visited Arctic-weather-and-ice-expert at Canadian Ice Service, Trudy Wohlleben. "We met with Trudy, she is a legend and so experienced at her forecasts,” the team tells. "The ice at the start is looking very tough, maybe the roughest in a decade, but there is more multiyear ice outside that, so overall the ice looks better but tough.”


What changes or additions did they make to their gear and strategy this year, Explorersweb wants to know. "Our main change is our sled, we have a design modification to a Hiking Hit Sled, which we used on Baikal, They modified a sled to our design”, which we hope will function better overall."


How do the duo keep motivating themselves not to give up after two attempts and try again this year? "I think we feed off each other,” Mike explains. "We have a specific goal that we share and have worked continually towards it for a number of years, the weather, the ice, logistics are the hardest up here and that's why this trip is so tough, and our resilience to complete it with so many variables provides for the ultimate challenge, so all we can do is call on our experience, and hope the Gods look favourably on us.”


And Clare and Mike's last word, “Barneo, here we come!!!!!!!!!"





2013 North Pole skiers thwarted by 2012 record minimum sea ice


2012 ExWeb interview with Mike O'Shea, “The nature of the NP trip will require us to deal with whatever is thrown”


2012 ExWeb interview with Clare O'Leary: flying the female flag among 15 men


2012 Arctic wrap-up: Skiers abandon attempt to NP


2011 All ski teams abort expeditions from Canada to Geographic North Pole (90°N)



The Cape Discovery route to the Geographic North Pole is 780 km in a straight line and without the negative drift.


Geographic North Pole is at 90ºN

1996 position of the Magnetic North Pole: 

78° 35'42.00"N, 104° 11’54.00”W 

Resolute Bay: 74° 41.808N, 094° 49.402W


Follow the teams' blogs (with RSS feeds) in the live News Feed on Explorersweb.





2014 North Pole start: the waiting game is on


The cost of Arctic travel: Jerry Kobalenko talks to ExWeb


Yasunaga Ogita talking to ExWeb from the high Canadian Arctic


North Pole 2014 full route ski expedition list


ExWeb interview with Ryan Waters, "an unwritten and unexplainable mental edge”


ExWeb interview with Eric Larsen, "a mix of poetry and hell to the North Pole”


ExWeb interview with Bernice Notenboom, the Arctic and the world’s climate




Ray Zahab and team Baffin Island run 2014


Vincent Cochin to sledge-haul 2300km Canada to Greenland



Teams starting from Cape Discovery, Ellesmere Island to the Geographic North Pole (90ºN)


Unassisted, Unsupported:


Yasu Ogita, Japan, solo




North Pole solo website

North Polo solo Facebook



Team Eric Larsen and Ryan Waters:


Eric Larsen, USA






Ryan Waters, USA



Mountain Professionals

Mountain Professionals Facebook


Team Kristoffer Glestad (24), Norway and 

Lars Mangerud Flesland (25), Norway




Assisted, Unsupported:


Irish team Clare O'Leary and Mike O’Shea







Starting from Geographic North Pole (90N) to Canada

Assisted, Unsupported


'Arctic March' team:

Eric Philips, Australia

Bernice Notenboom, The Netherlands / Canada

Martin Hartley, UK




1996 Magnetic North Pole

Matt Stowers and Kev O’Brien



Matt Stowers Twitter

Northern Exposure live tracker 



Canada to Greenland (Kugaaruk and Qaanaaq) 

Vincent Cochin

Blog (personal)

Blog (Nanook expedition)





Follow blog posts in the live News Stream on ExplorersWeb.


Weather links:


Canadian Ice Service


The Arctic Weather products link on the Canadian Ice Service IPY Legacy page


Two-day sea ice drifts for the whole Arctic Ocean on the Danish DMI website


ENVISAT ASAR images on the Polarview website


Canada Weather Office satellite image


NOAA Earth System Research Laboratory


University of Illinois cryosphere images


Wayne Davidson’s Extremely High Horizon Refraction


Wayne Davidson’s EH2R blog 



#polar #northpole2014  #MikeOShea #ClareOLeary #2014IrishNorthPoleteam








Comparing notes and having fun in Resolute over the weekend, Kevin O'Brien, Clare O'Leary, Yasu Ogita, Mike O'Shea, Matt Stowers and Michele Pontrandolfo (click to enlarge).
courtesy Yasunaga Ogita, SOURCE
Cape Discovery route to the Geographic North Pole.
courtesy Arctic Ice Drift Maps 2013 : Image from http://www.arctic.noaa.gov / Mike O Shea and Clare O Leary, SOURCE