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The Hunger Game: Yasu Ogita recaps his North Pole expedition

Posted: May 01, 2014 05:32 am EDT


(By Correne Coetzer) Last men standing traveling Land-to-Pole, Ryan Waters and Eric Larsen, are in 88 degrees and skiing 12 hours per day with only getting four and a half hours sleep per day. They are really tired, sore, punchy, delirious and worn out, reports Ryan over the past few days, while chasing their tight 55-day target. This is very far removed from Ryan's involvement in paragliding above Everest as in a recent article on ExplorersWeb.


Back in Japan, Yasu Ogita sent over some news about his attempt to the NP and how he stayed without food during blizzard days, to stretch his rations to be able to spend more days on the ice, but the hunger game took its toll. 


Solo, unassisted, unsupported Bengt Rotmo is still going well from Pole to Land.


Eric Philips, Bernice Notenboom and Martin Hartley relocated to N85.53 W79.23 by air on April 28 and being resupplied with food, fuel and clean clothes.



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


Unassisted, Unsupported:

Yasu Ogita, Japan, solo 

(start March 7, aborted April 19 at 86º 16’43.8”N, 63º 38’43.8”W)


"I am fine, no injury no frostbite, everything OK.,” says Yasu to ExWeb. "This year's ice condition is really bad I guess, as a result we took too much times and my physical strength spent for those. The weather was also bad, I had 7 storm days."


"But I felt that I could have gotten to the North Pole solo, unassisted, unsupported if I had ready another 5-7days' foods. This time was just time limit coming for my plan I think. I prepared 50 days supplies before the expedition." 


"I didn't touch my daily food what was on my plan when just waiting out a storm and I tried to manage my food in such a way to make an extra 5 days after 20 days going. That means making extra 5 days food from the remaining 30 days food. I saved 15% foods every day and stocked those separately." 


"When I decided to cut out my expedition, actual date was 42 but at that time was 38 days on my food plan. I had expected that I can reach the Pole in 17 another days from that point. Still I had a possibility for reaching the Pole just on my calculation when I decided, but my body had already lost a lot of weight and mentally was so hard I felt. I need 5-7days extra time for food. My plan was an overly optimistic one.”


"I didn't use a Kayak after all. I had the Kayak ready for the big open leads that we sometimes have at 84-85 degrees. I threw it away after crossing 85.”


"My physical condition is everything OK. This year's Arctic Ocean is really warm I felt.

I want to try next year again. I can go on the Ice at Arctic Ocean totally but just I need much more time to spare for reaching the North Pole."


Unassisted, Unsupported: 

Ryan Waters and Eric Larsen (USA) 

(Start March 15 at 83.043627N, 077.374263W)


Weather and ice conditions are relatively a bit better. They still experience negative drift and the usual obstacles of ice blocks and open water, and ridges to cross, although “lighter”.  


The sun is shining more and Eric says that helps them preserve fuel to dry their stuff and they don’t worry anymore about running out of fuel.


Best distance: 17.9 nm / 33.15 km on April 30.


Tracker: 30 Apr 2014 05:55 GMT

Latitude: 88.526 | Longitude: 049.581

Dist To Pole: 88.5 Nautical Miles / 102 Miles / 163.9 Kilometers



Starting from Geographic North Pole (90ºN) to Canada


Unassisted, Unsupported

Bengt Rotmo

(started April 21 at 90N)


On April 25 Bengt reported "great days” on the ice. By then he had done half a degree. His position on April 28 was 89.15N, 64.09W. April 30 the home team reported Bengt is doing well on his way to Canada.



Assisted, Unsupported

Expedition Hope:

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

(Start April 4)


Eric reported their sleds are heavier than they should be after the resupply. He explained, "Bernice prepared the food for the resupply and, bless her merino socks, made the snack and lunch bags chockablock full of goodies. Sure it’s nice to be able to eat more but the consequences are heavier sleds and slower pace. The preferred solution is the appropriate number of calories – around 6000 per person per day for this kind of trip – condensed into around 1100g maximum. We are carrying around 1700g per day with the same calorific intake, making each sled around 15kg heavier than it should be.


About the relocation Bernice reported, "At W077 we saw the biggest lead, scattered like a broken dinner plate, it looked frightening to have to go through and the pilot [Wallace] decided to drop us at W079. The landing took 4 attempts but on the 5th he touched down and was successful.”


Position on April 24 when decided to relocate: 

87º 8’16.15”N, 54º 27’6.59”W



1996 position of the Magnetic North Pole Last Degree


The 50+ Richard Weber group reached their destination on April 29.





North Pole update: Team awaits relocation by air


ExWeb Wing Glide Current: Everest Birdmen Recap (see Ryan Waters’ involvement)



AdventureStats successful expeditions:


Land to Geographic North Pole 

2013: 1x car team from Russia (did a crossing)

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

(started April 21)





Starting from Geographic North Pole (90ºN) to Canada

Assisted, Unsupported

(Start April 4)

Eric Philips, Australia

Bernice Notenboom, The Netherlands / Canada

Martin Hartley, UK





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 #yasuogita





Martin Hartley: "Eric Philips trying to raft into the wind, on thin ice. We soon gave that up & skied to another crossing further west!"
courtesy Martin Hartley, SOURCE
Yasu Ogita didn't touch his daily food while waiting out blizzards. The hunger game took its toll.
courtesy Yasunaga Ogita, SOURCE
Ryan Waters jumping over a narrow lead. They rafted across bigger leads.
courtesy Eric Larsen, SOURCE
Ryan Waters and Eric Larsen's position on April 30. Less eastward drift. Click to enlarge.
Bernice Notenboom, Martin Hartley and Eric Philips while resupplied and relocated (west end south). Click to enlarge.
courtesy Kenn Borek Air pilot, SOURCE
The skiers route (broken ice) as seen by by Philip's team from the air while relocated. Click to enlarge.
courtesy Martin Hartley, SOURCE
Eric Philips' team in pressure ice / rubble. Click to enlarge.
courtesy Martin Hartley, SOURCE
Eric Philips, Bernice Notenboom and Martin Hartley position on April 30 after the relocation on April 28.