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North Pole 2000

by Murray Lundberg


Dateline: April 7, 2000

    Few places on earth are inaccessible to today's adventurer. Even the North Pole, once among the most-feared places on earth, sees visitors on a regular basis now. In 2000, at least 8 expeditions are scheduled to reach the top of the world.

    Perhaps one of the best indications of how commonly the Pole is reached is the fact that it seldom makes the general news anymore. Paul Landry and Paul Crowley of Iqaluit, Nunavut, are on their way, yet even their home-region newspaper has no updates on their progress. Some of the expeditions, though, have Web sites where you can keep track of their progress - you'll find them linked below.

    As of today, "Team Polar 2000", a 6-man team recruited from the Royal Marines Commando unit has covered almost 100, and is on schedule to reach the pole by mid-May.

    Gus McLeod reached Elliot Lake, Ontario last night, and hopes to reach Churchill today on his way to become the first person to fly an open-cockpit airplane to the Pole.

    Alan Bywater of England had planned to walk to the Pole, but broke his leg when he fell crossing a pressure ridge on a training hike near Iqaluit in February.

    Richard Weber, a member of the 1985 Steger dog-sled expedition, is trying to ski to the Pole this year.

    On March 27, the British team reported that "A 2-man Icelandic team attempting an unsupported walk to the pole have run into difficulties. (They set out a week after our team.) One of the team is suffering very badly from frostbite and is returning to Resolute on the 28 March leaving his companion to carry on Solo."

    Illinois-based tour company Northwest Passage, who in 1993 became the first tour company to offer a dogsled expedition to the North Pole, now offers a wide range of options for varying fitness levels. You can drive a sled to the pole through the Canadian Arctic, you can ski the last 60 miles to the pole from the Russian Arctic, or you can fly to the pole to meet any of the land parties.

    Siberia is also the jump-off point for trips offered by Minnesota-based Nomads Adventure & Education, who offer the opportunity to either ski the final 60 miles to the Pole, or take a helicopter.


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