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North Pole update: Team awaits relocation by air

Posted: Apr 25, 2014 01:03 am EDT


(By Correne Coetzer) After the evacuation of Yasu Ogita, only one team skiing Land-to-North Pole is still on the ice, Ryan Waters and Eric Larsen. Since 2010 there has been no successful ski expedition starting from land. See Stats below.


This week, veteran Norwegian Polar explorer, Borge Ousland, celebrated his 20th anniversary of reaching the Geographic North Pole solo, unassisted, unsupported from Russia (land), a distance of nearly a thousand kilometers. This was the first ever solo North Pole expedition and no one has repeated this feat (solo) from Russian ever since. 


Eric Philips' team (Pole-to-Land) is waiting for a resupply today or tomorrow. Situating at longitude 54ºW, they have lost the battle against the strong and continues eastward drift. ExWeb has received word that they have asked to be relocated by air to 80ºW when they receive their resupply. 


Trudy Wohlleben of Canadian Ice Service explained to ExplorersWeb that this team is starting to get into danger of being pulled into Fram Strait. She forecasts about the wind situation, “Winds should finally change from the persistent and problematic westerlies of the past couple of weeks to first northerly (Apr 28), then southeasterly (Apr 29-30) and then easterly (May 01) next week, giving teams on the ice a respite from the eastward ice drift.”



Ski Cape Discovery, Ellesmere Island, to the Geographic North Pole (90ºN)


Unassisted, Unsupported:

Yasu Ogita, Japan, solo 

(start March 7, aborted April 20)


Yasu is back in Resolute Bay after being evacuated by Kenn Borek Air on April 23 after 48 days on the ice. 


He started off with two sled, weighing 120 kg, as he had no intention to get resupplies. The "intense turbulent ice zones”, merciless blizzards with eastward drifts, leads (open water), and "uncertainties of the sea ice" slowed him down and made reaching the North Pole impossible with the amount of food he had, Yasu says. Although fatigue and frustration are overwhelming now, he says he takes advantage of the experience to see what he has learned. 



Unassisted, Unsupported: 

Ryan Waters and Eric Larsen (USA) 

(Start March 15 at 83.043627N, 077.374263W)


Ryan Waters and Eric Larsen, completed their forth degree this week and crossed into 87ºN on Day 40, a mentally tough point, says Eric.


We are tired, that’s for sure, says Ryan. He emphasises that they have to concentrate every step to be safe as it is easy to make mistakes when tired; for example slipping on the ice or falling through without checking the condition of the ice first. Eric says he is so tired now that he messed up something every morning. 


Ice conditions the past few days ranged from better ice to crazy, frustrating ice, "sparkling" pressured slabs and frozen leads, although the lead-ice still bowed under their weight. The wind calmed down, which stopped the backwards/south drift for a few days.


They guys added two and a half hours of actual skiing to their day which adds up, with breaks and camp take down and set up, to being outside for 14 hours.



13.3nm/24.6km, 13.6nm/25.2km, 17nm/31.5km 


Tracker: 25 Apr 2014 11:57 GMT

Latitude: 87.296 | Longitude: -56.004

Dist To Pole: 162.4 Nautical Miles / 187.1 Miles / 300.7 Kilometers



Starting from Geographic North Pole (90ºN) to Canada


Unassisted, Unsupported

Bengt Rotmo


The solo Norwegian started off in beautiful but slow conditions with a sidewards drift, Bengt’s home team manager, Lars Ebbesen, told ExWeb. He even had a bit of a back-drift/northwards during the night. 



Assisted, Unsupported

Expedition Hope:

Eric Philips, AU, Bernice Notenboom, NL/CA, Martin Hartley, UK

(Start April 4)


Eric reported an old pressure ridge of 30 meters high, the highest he has ever seen. They filmed a lot, which takes a lot of time he says. "Martin is weighed down with camera gear, 2 x Nikon bodies, a bunch of lenses, a Sony video camera and lenses and a bunch of microphones."


They came across two wide leads, with many seals and polar bear tracks, but were able to cross them. A third one widened even more and they decided to camp and hope it would freeze over. 


Position April 24:

87º 8’16.15”N, 54º 27’6.59"W



1996 position of the Magnetic North Pole Last Degree


Richard Weber and his 50+ team were airlifted from Resolute Bay to King Christian Island from where they started on April 24th.





North Pole update: "Safe here is a relative term”



AdventureStats successful expeditions:


Land to Geographic North ’ole 

2013: 1x car team from Russia

2010: 1x unassisted ski team from Canada

         3x assisted ski teams from CA

2009: 1x unassisted ski team from CA

         1x assisted ski team from CA

2008: 1x assisted ski team from Russia (winter exped)

2007: 1x assisted ski team from CA


Geographic North Pole to Land

2013: 1x assisted dog team to CA

2012: 1x unassisted ski and kayak team to Svalbard

2011: 2x assisted ski teams to CA

2009: 1x unassisted ski team to Greenland

2007: 1x unassisted ski and kayak team to Franz 

         Josef Land

         1x assisted ski team to Greenland


assisted = resupplied



A note on the North Pole daily ski 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 dr”ft 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.

A Degree of Latitude is 60 nm / 110 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



Ski 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)


Ryan Waters, USA



Mountain Professionals

Mountain Professionals Facebook


Eric Larsen, USA








Starting from Geographic North Pole (90ºN) to Canada

Unassisted, Unsupported

Bengt Rotmo

(still to start)





Starting from Geographic North Pole (90ºN) to Canada

Assisted, Unsupported

(Start April 4)

Eric Philips, Australia

Bernice Notenboom, The Netherlands / Canada

Martin Hartley, UK





MLAE 2014 

(cars driving from Resolute Bay, Canada, to Russia)





Barneo Ice Camp /

Russian Geographical Society Expeditionary Center

situated in last degree North

(Open April 3-22)



Facebook Russian Geographical Society Expeditionary Center



Last Degree to 1996 Magnetic North Pole 

Richard and Tessum Weber and team

(Start April 24)






Kite ski circumnavigation:


Eric McNair-Landry (CA) and Dix”e Dansercoer (BE)

Blog Greenland Ice Expedition


Facebook (Polar Circles) 

Twitter (Polar Circles)

Facebook (Pittarak Expeditions)


Michael Chavarin (FR) and Cornelius Strohm (DE)



Yuri Klaver (USA to Greenland via CA)

Website 1

Website 2


Spot Location




Follow blog posts (with RSS feeds) in the live News Stream on ExplorersWeb.





Russian amphibious Arctic cars on the move from Canada


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


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


Dixie Dansercoer and Eric McNair-Landry to kite-ski 5000+ km around Greenland




Ray Zahab and team Baffin Island run 2014



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 #bengtrotmo






Another obstacle - pressure ridge - on route to the North Pole. Yasu photographed by the pilot who picked him up from the ice.
courtesy Yasunaga Ogita, SOURCE
Yasu, frustrated and fatigued, but happy to be safe.
courtesy Yasunaga Ogita, SOURCE
Weather beaten.
courtesy Yasunaga Ogita, SOURCE
Ryan Waters and Eric Larsen tent in a white-out.
courtesy Eric Larsen, SOURCE
Ryan and Eric's location, April 25. Click to enlarge.
courtesy Eric Larsen, SOURCE
"It's hard living on the Arctic, near impossible. Felt I was in an oil painting today. Easy to forget the hardship," says Martin Harley.
courtesy Martin Hartley, SOURCE
Bernice Notenboom: "We run into a fresh set of polar bear tracks heading the same direction as we are, south. We just about to enter 86 degree of latitude and the icescape has changed significantly. Giant leads of dark water appear, the size of lakes, many km long and wide."
courtesy Bernice Notenboom, 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