North Pole Classic Expedition 2006
From 06.03.2006 to 26.04.2006 - Status: success
Conrad Dickinson & Richard Weber aim to ski from Ward Hunt Island, to the North Pole, a distance of 775 kilometres in approximately 55 days. They aim to achieve this the hard way, unsupported.
They aim to do this the hard way i.e. Unsupported. Being unsupported means they will have NO OUTSIDE ASSISTANCE and without any re-supply. Basically they will have to man haul all their own food, fuel and equipment. They will not use dogs or wind assisted kites, but instead will have to rely on their own endurance, stamina and strength to drag their sledges to the Pole.
With careful planning they aim to keep the sledge weight to 120kg per person. Despite these brutal weights they aim to reach the North Pole in less than 60 days, a very ambitious timescale which nobody has yet achieved.
All the way to the Pole, they will battle freezing temperatures (down to -60°C), unbelievably difficult terrain and the frustration of skiing on thin sea ice that is moving against them in the wrong direction, due to wind and currents.
They will be unable to travel in a straight line because of the contorted nature of the sea ice, that is distorted into a maze of 5 metre high-pressure ridges and open water leads that have to be negotiated.
To reach the North Pole in early May, before the ice melts and allow a plane to land, Conrad and Richard have no alternative but to set off in early March when the temperatures are at their lowest (-60°C) and only a few hours of daylight exist. Travelling in the early weeks will be a real challenge, with the darkness, cold and distorted ice. Normally the first third of the trip presents the most difficulties because the ice is at its most disturbed, as it has been forced up on Canada's shoreline by the prevailing currents. To make any progress through this wilderness, Richard and Conrad aim to use 2 sledges and a rucksack each, to ferry their equipment during the first couple of weeks.
Depending on what specific date they reach the Pole they plan to be picked up by either a Russian or Canadian aircraft and then be flown back home via Canada or Norway.
Described as the "hardest expedition in the world" only 10 people have ever achieved this feat in the last 100 years, despite many trying.