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North Pole: RAF aborted; Japanese and Irish on the ice - updated

Posted: Mar 11, 2014 02:59 am EDT

(By Correne Coetzer, updated Mar 11, 08:31 am EST) Yasu Ogita reported a big zone of rough ice conditions.


The Royal Air Force team, Matt Stowers and Kev O’Brien, quitted their expedition to the 1996 position of the Magnetic North Pole because a communications breakage has left them with a communications situation which they are unhappy to continue with, they reported on their blog and Twitter. They started on March 3 from Resolute Bay and are now skiing back. 


Last year the two men also aborted their attempt to the 1996 MNP,  because of bad weather after the start. In 2011 Matt and Jules Weekes attempted this route, but were evacuated with cold injuries early in their expedition.


Canada to Geographic North Pole:


Solo Japanese and Irish team


The first group of skiers departed with a Kenn Borek Air Twin Otter from Resolute Bay on March 7. They were dropped off just north of Cape Discovery late in the day when it was already getting dark, ExWeb was told, at a surface temperature of -48º. 


Yasu Ogita has skied 2.4 km on Day 1 and camped at N83° 03.829, W77° 26.116. The “turbulent ice conditions” ahead look similar as two years before, he reported, and he is glad to be back. His latest position reported on a voice dispatch, is N83° 09.366 W077° 49.047.


[Updated Mar 11, 08:31 am EST, word arrived at Exweb] March 9 from Yasu: he reported struggling in rough ice, trying to find a path by walking west then north. He covered 4.2km, but was hoping for 5 km. Camped at N83°05.457 W077°39.261. He covered 3.3km on March 10 and the weather is fine and temperature is -32 degree. He still kept walking in the rough ice zone and said he has never experienced this wide rough ice zone before.


Clare O'Leary and Mike O’Shea had covered 2.6 km the first day and 4.6 km the second day. On March 9 they reported snowfall the previous night and blizzard conditions that night.  


Norwegian and American teams


Meanwhile, the two teams in Resolute Bay, Lars Flesland and Kristoffer Glestad and Ryan Waters and Eric Larsen are still delayed because of bad flying weather and their patience and perseverance are tested. Their original departure date to Cape Discovery was March 7. There is a possibility that they could get in the air today, but the weather has to be good at the departure and drop-off points.


Ryan and Eric have packed 55 days of food in their 144 kg / 317 pound sledges. Lars told ExWeb that they have packed food for 45 days. Each sled weights 110 kg, distributed between a main sled (Acapulka MAC 160), a paris-pulk and backpack.



A North Pole expedition covers the full distance between land and the Pole.

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

Ward Hunt Island (Canada) start point calculates at 775 km.


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 (those with RSS feeds) in the live News Stream on Explorersweb.





Norwegian North Pole team talking to ExWeb from the high Canadian Arctic


North Pole 2014: first skiers flying to their start point


Dmitry Shparo's Top 5 North Pole Tips


Irish North Pole team checking in at ExWeb from Resolute Bay


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





Mike O’Shea Twitter

Clare O’Leary Twitter



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  





Clare O'Leary and Mike O'Shea with the Twin Otter that dropped them off at their start point.
courtesy Lifeproof Irish North Pole Expedition, SOURCE
Teams comparing notes in Resolute before getting onto the ice; Kevin O'Brien, Clare O'Leary, Yasu Ogita, Mike O'Shea, Matt Stowers and Michele Pontrandolfo (click to enlarge).
courtesy Yasunaga Ogita, SOURCE
Clare and Mike's latest available position
courtesy Lifeproof Irish North Pole Expedition, SOURCE
Matt Stowers and Kev O'Brien map from Resolute Bay in the direction of the 1996 position of the Magnetic North Pole.
courtesy RAF Northern Exposure 2014, 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