Ice Log I - Live dispatches from Canada

Saturday 3 March: Still In Resolute

After the panic, were still here... We only had 50/50 chance of getting off on 3rd and sure enough, the Twin Otter supposed to be carrying us up is still in Calgary until tomorrow. As the plane can only make one trip a day, we pre-arranged dates with Rosie, Ann and Liv who have Sunday 4th booked. We are thus down for Monday 5th and will alternate until both parties are gone.

So, 2 more days here at least. Packed up all our sleds and equipment yesterday, but tomorrow going training/acclimatising in the -42C conditions with our spare sleds.

Only good news about the delay is it gives us another 2 days to bulk up even more on the rich food were eating. Weighed ourselves at Iqaluiy airport on way up and delighted that have ballooned to fat ladened 81kgs! It will all come off...

Saturday PM - Went for 4 hours trek to try to our equipment in extreme cold... -46C and with a wind which would take the wind chill to -55C or whatever!!! Even two local Inuits jumped off their skidoos to come in our tent and said "It was damn cold out there" Doing anything in these temperatures is painful, and painfully slow...

Iain, Richard & Adrian

Weather conditions in Numavut - showing Resolute; Eureka (fuel stop on way to Ward Hunt Island); and Alert (150kms off Ward Hunt) can be seen on the following link: http://www.weatheroffice.ec.gc.ca/.../.../....html?id=NU

Friday 2 March 2007: Arrival at Resolute Bay, Cornwallis Island 

Final few days packing at Iqalauit Tues & Wed, and flew up to Resolute, Thursday. Small ATR holding 20 people and tons of cargo, full with inuit, a few miners, and us three polar idiots!

Flight was late leaving and got to the town at 11pm. -35C on arrival, bleaker than bleak, but surprisingly warm and busy little hotel.

Resolute is the second most northerly Canadian community (Grise Ford on Ellesmere is the most Northern) and is a town that was artifically settled with Inuit hunters in the days of Canadan's strive to re-inforce sovereighnty in its frozen North. See link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/...%2C_Nunavut

As we may be off to Ward Hunt tomorrow, we may only have today to pack up our sleds, final check of equipment, and some last minute e-mails...
a busy day ahead!

cross-country training

Got to say, am feeling pretty apprehensive. In layman's terms two words, the second of which is "myself", probably sums it up more accurately. The enormity of what faces us ahead is really sinking in, and the fact that there will be just 6 of us (us 3 plus Ann Bancroft/Liv Arneson and Rosie Stancer, all of whom hardened Polar adventures) on the Arctic Ocean attempting the pole this year comapred to hundreds on Everest, sums it up worryingly.

-45C here we come...

Monday 26 February:  Rest, preparation of equipment

To view an interactive map of Baffin Island (where we have been for the last few weeks), and Ellesmere Island (where we are going).  click on: http://www.discoverychannel.ca/.../.../swf/inter_map.swf

Fri 23 & Sat 24 February 2007: 2 Days Camping & Testing Out Equipment

Back from 2 days out on the ice, where we camped the night, trying out the tent, the all important routine, even more important equipment and so on. Invaluable exercise, with a number of critical kit improvements learned. At -26C with 70km per hour wind taking the chill down to -37C or -39C, it was pretty brutal it must be said...

Richard & Iain during the 2 day camping trip
 

Thursday 22 February 2007: Rest and Training

"Had a much needed rest day Wednesday, spent primarily on the never ending cycle of sorting/amending/repairing and packing of equipment.

We also went up to the swimming pool to test our immersion suits - much to the amusement of the kids in the pool! Very pleasant test in a warm pool in a heated complex, however the next time they are used will be slightly less

Will write a separate section on our diet in due course, but, for now, suffice to say we are eating absolutely anything and everything to bulk up. It is so against everything I normally eat, but hilarious in its extravagance, calorific value and fat content. Cheese and nuts by the caseful; Liberte Mediterranean Cream Yoghurt - 550 calories and 30gms of fat per tub; and Truffles, 2" in diameter - containing butter, chocolate, cream and nuts.... giving a whopping 650 calories and 60gms of fat are just some examples!! Its criminal, but a welcome change..and we'll need every inch of extra fat in a week's time.

Today it was back on the ice again for a 7 hour hike - more hauling of sleds up and over ice rubble, which is going to be the name of the game on the Arctic Ocean...there being very little flat ice, and hundreds of kilometres of ridges to cross."

Richard changing into his emersion suit
Iain, Richard & Adrian at the local swimming pool

Tuesday, 20 February 2007: Wind Chill at its Best

"Out again training with the sleds today for a six hour march. Moisture control better than yesterday, partly because the temperature was still -20C but with a bitter wind chill factor down to -30C or however it is calculated.

Any thoughts, which there definitely weren't, that this will be a walk in the park totally dispelled from today's training. Even at these temps, hauling a 100kg sled over small ice rubble is damn hard work. No respite from the cold, and within 5 minutes of stopping for a break your freezing solid. Ward Hunt Island is likely to be -45C. Some strains to both heel tendons from the efforts of pulling the sled giving some slight worries.

Iqaluit, being the launch base for many Arctic adventures, is the temporary home for a number of expeditions at this moment, and this evening we went round to the base camp house of veteran Polar Explorer Will Steger, who is doing a 3 month expedition called 'Global Warming 101' around and across Baffin Island with dogs to gauge rising temperatures on the huge island - which has been a barometer of climate change over many years.

Had dinner sat on piles of boxes, equipment and materials with Will's team of ten. The high numbers due to it being made into an "Al Gore" type follow up documentary, and, in which Richard Branson will be joining for 2 weeks."

In the suburbs

The main town on Baffin Island

The Expedition can be checked on www.globalwarming101.com

Monday, 19 February 2007: Heavy Sleds

Spent all of Sunday sorting out more equipment, including off-loading our sleds from the Airport and filling them with 100kgs of sand. Today, (Monday) we went out for a 5/6 hour training march on the ice, pulling these very heavy bathtubs behide us - it was pretty hard work! Its one thing dragging a sled behide you on flat ice but hauling one up, down and over ice rubble is infinatley harder, and what we will have to do for a majority of the expedition. Even at -20C or whatever, Iain and myself were sweating profusely - something we will have to guard against on the Arctic Ocean.

The sleds may look like a bathtub, but they are specially designed for ease of access over the Arctic Ocean, and carry up to 120kgs or so of food and equipment. And they float!"

Pulling the heavy 'bathtubs'

Saturday, 17 February 2007: Training on Frobisher Bay & the Northern Lights

More sorting out equipment for most of the day plus meeting other Polar adventurers who live here. From 4 - 7pm, went for our second training run on Frobisher Bay. On the way back, in darkness and at -25C, we saw the Northern Lights... or Aureola Borealis to be precise. First time I have ever seen them, and it's a spectacular sight... a rainbow of colours, caused by the Earth's magnetic field, lighting up the sky.

The Northern Lights

Iqaluit, formally called Frobisher Bay, is the capital of Nunavut, the territory created out of the old North West Territories for the Inuit population. The whole of Nunavut contains approx. 30,000 people only, in an area the size of Greenland. Iqaluit holds 20% of the population, in a town that is somewhat ramshackle, and where skidoos are the staple form of transport."

For those interested in the present weather conditions on Baffin Island, please click on the following link: http://www.weatheroffice.ec.gc.ca/.../.../nu-21_metric_e.html

Iain and Richard, Frobisher Bay, Baffin Island

Friday, 16 February 2007: Arrived in Baffin Island, Canada

"Flew up to Iqaluit, in Nuvavut, Baffin Island, with 17 huge bags and containers of kit, to be greeted by sunshine and -29C. Staying in a contractors apartment, on the coast, for the 2 weeks we are here ...training and getting used to equipment. Went for a cross-country ski for a couple of hours over the frozen sea of Frobisher Bay".

Looking out on to Frobisher Bay

Wednesday, 14 February 2007: Ottawa & Cross-Country Skiing

"Day spent sorting out the mountain of equipment we have to take. Went for a cross-country ski in the afternoon...in a blizzard! Tame by arctic standards though. Iain arrived from the UK in the evening".

Cross-country training, Frobisher Bay

Tuesday, 13 February 2007: Leaving Dubai

Adrian today set off to Ottawa in Canada, to begin his expedition to the North Pole. He will be joined by fellow expedition leader Richard Weber and Iain Morpeth, before traveling to Iqaluit in Baffin Island.

This will follow two weeks of training, acclimatisation and preparing the sleds, before traveling to Resolute for final preparations and starting the expedition on March 4th.

The route will be from the island of Ward Hunt Island, at the top of Ellesmere Island. The team will travel all the way across the Arctic Ocean to the North Pole - a distance of 775km.

The team members plan to showshoe, climb (across open water) and, on nearing the pole, cross-country ski for up to nine hours a day for an estimated 55 days.

Adrian would again like to express his gratitude to the main sponsors for making this expedition possible: Renaissance Services SAOG, Emirates Bank & Financial Partners International/Mondial.

Thanks also to the supporting companies for their respective services: Emirates Airline, Iridium Satellite, Momentum Marketing Communications Specialists, Rolls Royce, EAS, Movenpick Hotel Dubai, Mr Rory McRae of Streamline Marketing & Events and to the many family and friends to whom have supported Adrian on this challenge....

Arrival same day/evening in Ottawa, Canada (-9 hours behind Dubai time)

A fond farewell to Charlotte & Alexander

"Met at Ottawa airport at around -16C by team leader Richard Weber, and driven an hour to his house in Quebec. Slept in a huge annex log cabin, full of bear skins, antlers, rifles... and more cold weather gear than the whole of Katmandu combined!"

Acclimatisating in Ski-Dubai

Some last minute training...with the help from his 8 year old son, Alexander!

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