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North Pole: Irish team injured and evacuated - update: Norwegians also off

Posted: Mar 18, 2014 07:51 am EDT

(By Correne Coetzer, updated Mar 18, 16:30 EDT) Update: The Norwegians, Lars Flesland and Kristoffer Glestad, also aborted their expedition. They have been evacuated on the same plane as the Irish team, March 17, reported Lars Ebbesen from their home team to ExWeb. The two men started on March 15. 


Mar 18, 2014 07:51 am EDT:


Mike O'Shea and Clare O’Leary flew off the ice yesterday and are now back in Resolute Bay, reported Cian from the Irish home team to ExplorersWeb. They both sustained injuries on Sunday, March 16, when lowering their sled over a large ice block. "The block slipped causing the sled to fall on them and Mike injured his back, Clare her knee. Kenn Borek were scheduled for a resupply flight yesterday and were able to land and pick up the team." 


The Eric Larsen, Ryan Waters, Lars Flesland and Kristoffer Glestad have been thrown into the deep side of the Arctic Ocean, so to speak, with the start for their ski expedition to the North Pole. Waiting for them were the up-to-two-meter-high ice blocks and pressure ridges, and the extreme cold. 


Solo Yasu Ogita measured -40ºC. 



Canada to Geographic North Pole

Unsupported, Unassisted:


Yasu Ogita, Japan solo


The Japanese home team sent over the following reports to ExplorersWeb:


March 15th 

location: N83º 22.717, W077º44.176

Distance covered: 5.1km

Weather: Clear

Temperature: -35ºC

His physical condition is very good says Yasu. "My soar molar is getting better. I am still struggling with accumulated snow and rough ice but my mental condition is getting more stable and feeling better." 


March 16th:

Location: N83º26.005, W077º48.881

Distance: 6.2km

Weather: Clear

Temperature: -40ºC


Yasu reported, his "soar molar is gone" and physical condition is very good. "Found a big water sky on the West of current position. A big lead should be opened expect SW – NE direction.”


Lars Flesland and Kristoffer Glestad, Norway 


The guys were struggling with the cold, and in the tent their feet were giving them problems, reported Lars Ebbesen from their home team on their website. "It is very difficult to balance this in the beginning as you acclimatize, gain experience and have to move on to get over the very crushed areas of rubble ice."


Distances reported: 6 km, 9 km.


Eric Larsen and Ryan Waters, USA


Eric, who has done this route successfully twice before, writes he always forgets how brutal of a transition it is from normal life to being on an expedition.



Day 2, March 16, they spent the day "quagmired in older pack ice. Huge chunks of various shapes and sizes all drifted in. I was skeptical when I heard about two meter high rafted ice and pressure ridges. The reports were accurate. This is bad ice. So bad that we had to relay the sleds all day - Ryan and I together each pulling one sled then going back for the second.


Day 3 started with grey, overcast, snowy weather. The men managed to work their way through "a huge mess of slabs, rubble, ridges and who knows what else for most of the morning. It was difficult to say the least,” said Eric. They were wearing snow shoes on this terrain. 


Distances covered:

Day 2: 1.18 nautical miles / 2.19 km

Day 3: 1.6 nm / 2.96 km



Canada to Geographic North Pole

Unsupported, Unassisted:


Clare O’Leary and Mike O’Shea (Ierland)


Their last available position was March 16th (the day they were injured):     

N83.669066, W077.012133  

Distance covered: 7.77Km

The team had already covered a total distance of 60 km. This was Clare’s forth attempt and Mike’s third.



A note on the distances: They are calculated in a straight line from where the skiers start in the mornings and end in the evenings. What is not added, are all the detours around high ridges, ice blocks, rubble or leads (open water). Also not added are the negative drift and relaying sleds.


A North Pole expedition covers the full distance between land and the Pole (90ºN).

The Cape Discovery route (Canada) to the Geographic North Pole is 780 km. 

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.





North Pole Norwegians and Americans flying to Cape Discovery - updated landed and skiing


NASA: Warm Rivers Play Role in Arctic Sea Ice Melt


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


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 

(start March 7)




North Pole Solo website

North Polo solo Facebook





Team Eric Larsen and Ryan Waters

Last North Expedition:

(start March 15)


Eric Larsen, USA







Ryan Waters, USA



Mountain Professionals

Mountain Professionals Facebook


Team Kristoffer Glestad (24), Norway and 

Lars Mangerud Flesland (25), Norway

(start March 15)




Assisted, Unsupported:


Irish team Clare O'Leary and Mike O’Shea
The Ice Project Expedition

(start March 7)





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 

(start March 3, aborted March 12)

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  







A cold start for the North Pole skiers. Temperatures down to minus 40. Image: Ryan Waters covered in frost.
courtesy Eric Larsen, SOURCE
Eric Larsen on March 16: "Huge chunks of various shapes and sizes all drifted in. I was skeptical when I heard about two meter high rafted ice and pressure ridges. The reports were accurate. This is bad ice." Image: Ryan on Day 1, March 15.
courtesy Eric Larsen, SOURCE
Lars Flesland and Kristoffer Glestad are also challenged by the cold and rubble ice at the start near the Canadian coast.
courtesy Lars Flesland and Kristoffer Glestad, 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