I've dropped this post under the 'progress report' category, if only for simplicity. The trek is still some way off (about a year, to be precise). There are still funds to be raised and training sessions to be organised, but I thought I'd start giving you an idea of what my team and I will be up against.
Temperatures at the North Pole
It's cold, but how cold? Temperatures as low as minus 60 Celsius have been recorded on the polar ice. Having experienced temperatures as low as minus 40 Celsius in Norway I can confirm it's not a nice feeling being out in this kind of weather.
For anyone who hasn't experienced this kind extreme low I'll try and put it into perspective for you. Here in Europe food sellers, restaurants and supermarkets have to refrigerate their stock. The requirement is for foodstuffs to be kept at a temperature of minus 18 Celsius. Only another 42 degree drop and you'll match the worst of the what the North Pole weather has to throw at you.
Conditions Under Foot
The going is far from smooth. The surface of the ice is rugged and it's unlikely we'll experience much in the way of 'easy' skiing or movement. To add to this are two other obstacles we will need to overcome.
The first is pressure ridges. These are ridges formed when ice plates grind together and create ridges anything up to 10 ft, and greater, in height. Unless there is a clear route to either side the accepted navigation method is to quite literally haul the pulks over the ridge.
The next obstacle we will encounter is the 'open lead'. The polar ice cap is constantly moving. This movement causes the ice plates to pull away from each other leading to open lanes of water. If possible, we will find a way around the leads. If we are unable to find a way around we will cross the leads in dry suits - a very chilly and physically demanding option.
Wildlife at the North Pole
Considering the polar regions are incredibly cold and inhospitable places, you might be surprised to learn of how many animals have made their homes in North Pole. Beluga, Killer Whales and Narwhals are just three of the marine creatures that have made the Arctic ocean their home. On the ice, Walruses are seals are two of the most common creatures encountered by explorers.
But the one we're most interested in is the Polar Bear. Up to 700Kg (1540 lbs) in weight, these relatives of the brown bear are classed as vulnerable due to the effects of global warming. Incredibly inquisitive, the polar bear has been seen in both inhabited areas and close to the pole. For obvious reasons, we aim to avoid these creatures.