The best way of getting ready for an arctic expedition is to do exactly what you would be doing in the arctic – pulling a sled. Except a sled is a big thing to haul around so I take our old worn out tires and pull them up the hill. It is a bit like walking a cute dog that gets lots of attention. Everybody stops and is curious what you are doing. I train at the Fernie Provincial Park cross country trail because it has steep hills, my favorite. I just love to push these tires, around 40 kg up a 35 degree slope and edge my skis, pushing my weight forward while I am pulling the tires as hard as I can. Afterwards you feel so fulfilled by the hard work that a spin class in the gym looks easy.
On each polar expedition you have the tough decision to make what kind of fur you are stitching around the hood of your jacket. If you research it you learn that wolverine is the best fur. Inuit and other natives wear it exclusively. It sheds the snow and ice and doesn’t absorb the water. It is warm and fuzzy around your skin. But wolverine? that is one of the most special animals around and because they are so shy, they are hard to hunt. So I called the people of Alaska fur exchange in Anchorage for some dead sled dog fur. The women convinced me that dead dog won’t do the trick, it is like the fake furs that are in fashion. “Once it is wet, it will always smell like, well, wet dog” she says. Say no more. The same with coyote, and rabbit. The best are wolf, polar bear and wolverine, all of them are expensive but they prevent you from getting frostbite on your face. My other jacket has a wolverine/wolf mix and was definitely very warm and absorbed all the ice. Hmm, and now I need to have to order two ruffs for two different jackets. The women suggested I take a small white wolf ruff for my lighter jacket and a wolverine ruff for my big arctic jacket. I couldn’t argue, because not all fur is created equal.
Just a few hours ago the sun returned to Resolute Bay in the Canadian Arctic. Tom Griffin, Kenn Borek’s manager send me this picture from his office today. I asked him if the sun gave any heat. He looked at his thermometer and noted it was -45°C outside. The days leading up to the sun’s return are often the coldest of the year, much colder then even in January. But the sun is more then heat, it is comforting for light and the sun makes you happy even if you can’t feel the rays. From this position, just a few degrees above the horizon it will rotate around in that position, never getting higher or lower until later in the spring. When we set foot on the ice, the sun will be halfway its highest point in the horizon, 23.5° so we will see the sun at a angle of about 10° – not even enough for a sun tan or a charge with the solar panels.
Posted on 4 April 2013 by dana1981 A frequent argument made by climate contrarians is that global warming hasn’t yet resulted in unbearable climate change consequences, and therefore we have nothing to worry about. In a talk recorded by ReasonTV,…
In April 2014, Bernice Notenboom, Eric Philips and Martin Hartley are skiing from the geographical North Pole to Canada. They want to show the world how precious, beautiful yet how fragile the Arctic is. Watch our trailer here!.
We got flown off the ice just in the nick of time. A new weather system was approaching us and if Troy the pilot didn’t land we would have been stuck another week before they were able to get to us. The pick up it self was nail biting. It took many attempts to put the skis on the surface, test it and then take off again, come back and do it again. No place was great to land and they were searching hard to make it work in low visibility and bumps.
We landed at Cape Discovery for a refuel – at least I got to see the fast ice and the mountains of Ellesmere Island – before we headed to Eureka where we spend the night.
Next day off to Resolute Bay, repack our sleds, washed clothes, did email and took long showers. A new much stronger weather system was approaching, this one now spreading all the way from Alaska to Siberia with the low sitting right over the Arctic. A report of the Canadian Ice Survey called for 95 km/hr southwest winds by next week. The drift and leads would so challenging that we couldn’t possibly out ski the drift or pass the leads that would be enormous. So is it a mixed blessing to have to leave?That is the challenge with expeditions; safety planning and covering yourself for “the what if” scenarios, especially if you don’t know what they might be and then make a responsible decision based on that. I am still grasping it all, processing my experience, mending my frostbites and painful fingers, and feel utterly tired and drained. But the media can’t wait for it to settle on my time frame. After spending 24 hours in airplanes (just in Canada), a three hour drive home to Fernie and a 3 hour sleep, journalists were haunting me via skype and phone the next morning to know one thing: “Was it all worth it?”
The Arctic is an amazing place, as hostile and violent as it seems with the relentless storms we faced, we also experienced incredible beauty and serenity. Martin captured this is his photographs and film and that is what we need to show to our audience. This place is worth it. The film project continues, the next step is a scientific underlay of our experience with the reality of climate change and how this will impact the North Pole in the near future. Who are the players and what is at stake if we don’t act soon? Stay tuned.