This was my second expedition, but the main issue here is coping with the cold. Both on an immediate basis to avoid physical harm but the also the mental strength to survive the wear and tear over prolonged exposure. Having skied quite a bit and lived in Mongolia where I walked to work in -40c I was reasonably confident that I would be able to cope.
There is no land at the North Pole, just floating ice that is continually moved around by the wind and currents which has two main consequences.
The main decision is over where you get dropped off by the team at Barneo. Take their advice. Getting stuck on ice travelling away from the pole makes the journey much harder than it need be and combined with bad weather or team problems can endanger the possibility of skiing all the way to the pole!
The expedition consists of an initial training trip for a couple of days near Longyearbyen, a couple of days making final adjustments and preparations before flying up to Barneo which is the temporary camp in the Arctic Circle from which expeditions to the Pole set out. Barneo is situated at roughly 89’ North but it shifts about as the ice moves at the Pole.
From Barneo, we take a helicopter to get to 89’and start our ski to the pole. Given the large number of pressure ridges and leads that we will come across, we will very rarely be able to ski very far in a straight line and so will be zig zagging at best and when things get bad going sideways or even backwards. In addition the wind will be moving the ice that we are on – if we are lucky towards the pole and if not away from it – real mental strength is needed when after a very tough day, you wake up the next morning to find that overnight you have been blown back towards or even past where you started the day before!
There are three trips running concurrently. Us as the lead ski / manhaul team, another going on dogsleds and a Chinese ski team.
Accounts and photos of completing the Explorers Grand Slam - 2 Poles and 7 Summits. By Sebastian Merriman. Aconcagua, Ama Dablam, Carstenz Pyramid, Denali, McKinley, Elbrus, Everest, Kosciusko, Kilimanjaro, North Pole, Arctic, South Pole, Antarctic, Antarctica, Vinson, vertigo, climbing, mountaineering, skiing to the pole, skiing to the poles, seb2poles7summits, seb27, Seb Merriman, seb2poles, mountains, poles