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Russian amphibious Arctic cars on the move from Canada

Posted: Mar 27, 2014 08:33 am EDT


(By Correne Coetzer) The previous North Pole season, Vasily Elagin and his team did a 61 day, 2000 km drive across the sea ice from Russia to Ward Hunt Island, Canada, via the Geographic North Pole, in their Yemelya-3 and Yemelya-4 amphibious vehicles designed by Elagin. The team then drove to Resolute Bay where they left the vehicles to continue this season, heading west to Russia. They plan to cross the Bering Strait on their 6810 km route. 


The Russians started driving on March 12 from Resolute Bay and arrived in Cambridge Bay on March 24. Vasily says they are following the recommended route of Canadian Ice Service, which is longer than the one they planned, but with safer ice. Their vehicles are heavy loaded. Each vehicle tows 1000 liters fuel (at the start) plus spare parts and other supplies. 


The cars continue driving in 69 degrees North. Rough ice in certain areas made progress slow and they could drive only in second gear. They came across polar bears and many tracks in the areas with thin ice and seals.


Distances reported on odometer:


March 12: 50 km (March 12)

March 13: 47 km (by the evening they could drive in forth gear on smooth ice, but at the end of the day only in second)

March 14: 87 km (lost 2.5 hours to repair the hitch on the rear trailer of the green caravan)

March 16: 140 km (10 hours, smooth ice with hummocks in the evening)

March 17: 95 km in white-out

March 18: 100 km ( first 30 km at walking pace in white out)

March 20: 40 km

March 21: hummocks all day, used ladders on car for route finding and flattened ridges manually

March 22: 78 km (of this 1.9 km across ridges from 8 am until 13h30; second half of the day the rest, 76.1 km; -30ºC)

March 24: Cambridge Bay 

March 25: 113 km (stopped due to a fault piston rod.



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




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Unassisted, Unsupported:


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Follow blog posts (with RSS feeds) 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 Russiancars #amphibiouscars #russianarcticcars #MLAE2014






Route finding on top of a vehicle.
courtesy MLAE 2014, SOURCE
Preparations in Resolute Bay, where Elagin mentioned the high costs of supplies.
courtesy MLAE 2014, SOURCE
1.9 km across ridges from 8 am until 13h30.
courtesy MLAE 2014, SOURCE
The red and the green caravan.
courtesy MLAE 2014, SOURCE
"[The polar bear] showed no excessive intrusiveness, found a trench 80 meters and lay down there."
courtesy MLAE 2014, SOURCE
Even inside the vehicles the team feels the cold.
courtesy MLAE 2014, SOURCE
Sundogs (click to enlarge).
courtesy MLAE 2014, SOURCE
Trudy Wohlleben of Canadian Ice Service is providing MLAE with sea ice and weather advice.
courtesy MLAE 2014, SOURCE
High Canadian Arctic route covered from March 12 to March 27 (click to enlarge).
courtesy MLAE 2014, SOURCE