Skiing to the North Pole

expeditionmap2

The frigid winter is not something I seek, though admittedly I choose to live in the Midwest. So when I heard that John Huston and Tyler Fish are choosing to ski unassisted to the North Pole my interest was piqued. While they have been training for many months, the official start is today, March 1 (though there has been a 24 hour delay due to weather).

How did I first learn about this expedition? One of the two is a Chicago area guy who over the summer was seen running in Lincoln Park. Not unusual.  Except for the chains attached to the 4 tires he was pulling. This part of his training caught the attention of the local radio stations and the Chicago Tribune.

Their website amazes me. Here are some things I learned.

They list six challenges to a successful expedition:

  1. Polar bears. Over ten feet tall, 1400 pounds and oh btw they are hard to see during a white out.
  2. Cold, Wet and Wind. Average cold temp will be -35 degrees with low lows as low as -76 degrees. It is very humid so moisture control is a problem–especially when you are pulling a friggin’ sled while skiing. Sweat much?
  3. Drifting ice. There will be times when the ice is drifting backward faster than they are skiing forward.
  4. Rubble and pressure ridges. There will be times that they will use energy going around stuff instead of being able to follow the most direct route.
  5. Dark and Light. Darkness slows everything down (duh). But by the end of the trip they will have 24 hours of sunlight each day.
  6. Open water. Get this. This one would stop me well before my fear of polar bears–which is already off the fear scale. At times they will don wet suits and swim, pulling their sleds through arctic water. I may never warm up completely just thinking about that.

Other factoids:

  • The good news is they get to consume 7000 calories a day
  • The trip is planned from March 1 through April 26
  • They will cover 525 miles by ski or snowshoe
  • If successful they will be the first from the USA to complete this voyage. Only 22 people have done this before them–ever

So why are these two skiing unassisted to the North Pole? Sure they may get a moment or two of fame but not the Paris Hilton type that can be turned into a paid career of doing nothing other than being famous.

According to them this is a trip of Optimism, Humility and Responsible action. They want to inspire people to take on great things, to challenge themselves.

I am inspired. To what I am not yet sure. I do plan to check their blog everyday to find out how they are doing. If you want to as well they are now added to my blogroll.

If nothing else I commit to stop complaining about the weather in Chicago–at least for 2009.

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About 48facets
What you read is what you get.

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