North Pole Speed Record

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From 20.03.2008 to 30.04.2008 - Status: abandoned

Ben Saunders

Ben Saunders

© International Polar Foundation

This spring, the British adventurer Ben Saunders will be trying to break the speed record on the traditional Ward Hunt-North Pole route. He's hoping that the feat will take no more than thirty days.

Although the Ward Hunt/North Pole trek has, over the years, become a classic, the route is still an adventure that is difficult to succeed. It has indeed only ever been successfully completed, solo and without any outside help, once – that was in 2003, by the adventurer Pen Hadow. He had left from Ward Hunt on March 17th and reached the North Pole on May 19th.

In 2005, a team led by Tom Avery had taken 37 days by dogsled to make the same trip. This expedition aimed to shed light upon one of the great enigmas of polar history: who had reached the North Pole first, Edmund E. Peary or Frederick A. Cook? For further information on this somewhat fantastical page of adventure history, you can read a detailed article about it, written by Jacques Théodor, a specialist on the subject.

This time, Ben Saunders is looking to do the trip in about thirty days. He has already been on the Arctic pack ice on three previous occasions. In 2001, he left with Pen Hadow from Cape Arktichewski, but was forced to give up after 574 km. In 2003, he pulled off a Barneo/North Pole round trip – as a training exercise. And, in 2004, he attempted to cross the whole of Siberia, but once again had to give up after reaching the North Pole.

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