Dropped off at the North Pole

Published on 29.03.2010 - Under the Pole.com

The team from the UnderThePole.com expedition was dropped off at the North Pole by Kenn Borek's logistics people on Friday 26th March and have already set out on their trek, to the South this time.

Being dropped off at the North Pole is, of course, a lot less straightforward than starting out from Ward Hunt. In the case of Under The Pole, they needed to use two aircraft, a Twin Otter and a DC3, to ensure that everything went off as safely as possible. The way it works is that a Twin Otter takes off several hours before the DC3 to go and reconnoitre the location and select the most suitable area of ice for the landing strip. Once that is done and the weather conditions are favourable, the Twin then gives the green light to the DC3 waiting at Eureka, which is a Canadian weather station that is still operating (in fact it is the most northerly weather station in the world).

So it was at Eureka that Ghislain Bardout's team waited and spent the night of 25th March. Then, early in the morning of the 26th, the Twin Otter took off for the Pole. A few hours later, the DC3 received the go ahead from the Twin and rumbled off on its own flight towards the North Pole. Four hours later, at 12.30, the DC3 was sighted by the Twin which was waiting below, having landed on the ice. Just thirty minutes after that and the team from "underthepole.com" disembarked at 89° 25' 03" N / 76° 08' 01"W, about sixty kilometres from the North Pole, which was the nearest suitable landing site to the North Pole. A huge relief to all the parties involved and the expedition could at last get underway after three years of waiting. Emotions, tears, farewell and adieu...

By the next day, Bardout's men had already been on the move for 5 hours and 40 minutes, covering 19 kilometres. The most amazing thing about the start of this adventure is that when the DC3 flew over the pack-ice at low altitude, everyone on board could see that between 85 and 86 degrees North, the ice was terribly broken up, criss-crossed with numerous leads and dotted with huge expanses of open water. So the aerial fly-past confirmed what the teams heading in the other direction on the ice have been reporting since setting out...

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