1009 - 2009 : what has changed ?

Published on 14.04.2009 - Peary Centennial North Pole Expedition

To mark the centenary of Robert Peary's arrival at the North Pole, Lonnie Dupré has taken time out to reflect on what he feels has changed in the way polar expeditions have been conducted over the past hundred years.

To begin with, we should point out that Lonnie Dupré is an American who believes that Robert Peary reached the North Pole before Frederick Cook. To find out more about this epic controversy that has raged for the past hundred years, it is well worth taking a look at an extremely well documented article written by Jacques Theodor on the topic at our former website 'antarctica.org'.

Having said that, Lonnie Dupré avoids stirring up the controversy again, preferring to ask the interesting question of what has changed basically in polar expeditions over the past century. He begins by stating that curiously there are more similarities than differences. "We still have to battle against the same extreme temperatures that threaten the same parts of the body as before. ...Certainly these days we have lighter clothing that allows our perspiration to escape, but no-one doubts that traditional Inuit clothing is still the best for coping with this type of terrain and conditions... And it is moving to realise that our feelings are without doubt exactly the same as the emotions that Peary and his companions experienced at the time."

Of course Dupré then goes on to list some of the major differences between the old and the new: for a start, there is the use of modern methods of communication (satellite, beacons, etc.). Then there is the assistance provided by aircraft (when Peary arrived at the Pole, he still had to turn round and make his way back again. Dupré and his team will be airlifted out by Ken Borek's Twin Otter). "We also need to say," stresses Dupré, "that the sea-ice today is nothing like it was a century ago, courtesy of global warming and the reduction in the overall area of ice."

The latest reports on their progress tell us that they have encountered a channel of open water almost three kilometres wide, which they crossed without difficulty. They have just passed through 87 degrees North and taken their first rest day for fifteen days (11th April). They will cross through 88 degrees North shortly.

Their progress table:

  • March 04, D 01, Cape Discovery, N83.01.36 / W77.32.04, 2.3 NM, -48°C
  • March 05, D 02, N 83° 05' 02'' / W 77° 33' 11'', 5 hours walk, 3.7 NM, -42°C
  • March 06, D 03, N 83° 06' 37'' / W 77° 36' 08'', 4,75 hours walk, 1.3 NM, -43°C
  • March 07, D 04, N 83° 08' 58'' / W 77° 35' 19'', 4,5 hours walk, 2.2 NM, -45°C
  • March 08, D 05, rest day
  • March 09, D 06, N 83°12' 52'' / W 77° 36' 33'', 6 hours walk, 4 NM, -37°C
  • March 10, D 07, N 83°17' 04'' / W 77° 34' 16'', 6,5 hours walk, 4,1 NM, -39°C
  • March 11, D 08, N 83°22' 29'' / W 77° 33' 20'', 6,5 hours walk, 5.4 NM, -28°C
  • March 12, D 09, N 83°27' 56'' / W 77° 33' 15'', 6,5 hours walk, 5.5 NM, -32°C
  • March 13, D 10, N 83°32' 31'' / W 77° 31' 45'', -33°C
  • March 14, D 11, 83.6288 N / W 77.5855, -36°C
  • March 15, D 12, N 83°43' 28'' / W 77° 40' 18'', 7 hours walk, 5.9 NM,
  • March 16, D 13, N 83°49' 52'' / W 77° 53' 16'', 7,15 hours walk, 6.4 NM,
  • March 17, D 14, N 83°57' 07'' / W 77° 54' 42'', 7,25 hours walk, 7.25 NM.
  • March 18, D 15, N 84° 03' 30" / W 78° 08' 05", 7 hours walk, 6.4 NM
  • March 19, D 16, N 84° 10' 30" / W 78° 02' 18", 8 hours walk, 7 NM
  • March 20, D 17, N 84° 18' 25" / W 78° 12' 16", 8 hours walk, 7.9 NM
  • March 21, D 18, N 84° 27' 40" / W 78° 22', 8,5 hours walk, 9.25 NM
  • March 22, D 19, N 84° 34' 13" / W 78° 18' 11", 7 hours walk, 6.9 NM
  • March 23, D 20, N 84° 41' 26" / W 78° 23' 28", 6,5 hours walk, 7.4 NM
  • March 24, D 21, rest day, thye are waiting for the firsst resupply
  • March 25, D 22,N 84° 47' 04" / W 78° 25' 02", 6 hours walk, 4.5 NM
  • March 26, D 23, N 84° 34' 58" / W 78° 24' 33", 8.1 NM
  • March 27, D 24, N 85° 04' 58" / W 78° 24' 23", 10 NM
  • March 28, D 25, N 85° 14' 25" / W 78° 39' 28", 9 hours walk, 9.7 NM
  • March 28, D 25, N 85° 14' 25" / W 78° 39' 28", 9 hours walk,, 9.7 NM
  • March 29, D 26, N 85° 22' 27" / W 78° 39' 32", 8 NM
  • March 30, D 27, N 85° 32' 40" / W 78° 53' 57", 9 hours walk,, 10.2 NM
  • March 31, D 28, no data
  • April 01, D 29, N 85° 51' 13" / W 78° 51' 07", 9 hours walk,, 11.2 NM
  • April 02, D 30, N 86° 02' 57" / W 78° 45' 56", 9,30 hours walk,, 11.75 NM
  • April 03, D 31, N 86° 14' 17" / W 78° 32' 51", 9,30 hours walk,, 11.2 NM
  • April 04, D 32, no data
  • April 05, D 33, N 86° 34' 30" / W 78° 15' 36", 10 hours walk, 13.3 NM (best mileage sor far)
  • April 06, D 34, N 86° 45' 25" / W 78° 16' 08", 11.2 NM
  • April 07, D 35, N 86° 57' 54" / W 78° 51' 36", 10 hours walk, 12.2 NM
  • April 08, D 36, N 87° 11' 12" / W 78° 41' 26", 13.3 NM
  • April 09, D 37, no data
  • April 10, D 38, N 87° 38' 39" / W 78° 56' 51", 14 NM
  • April 11, D 39, rest day
  • April 12, D 40, N 87° 49' 29" / W 77° 31' 27", no further datas
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