Subscribe: Project Thin Ice - One World Expedition: XJournal
Added By: Feedage Forager Feedage Grade B rated
Language: English
arctic  bear  day  global warming  ice  lonnie  north  polar bear  polar  snow  time  today  warming  word day 
Rate this Feed
Rate this feedRate this feedRate this feedRate this feedRate this feed
Rate this feed 1 starRate this feed 2 starRate this feed 3 starRate this feed 4 starRate this feed 5 star

Comments (0)

Feed Details and Statistics Feed Statistics
Preview: Project Thin Ice - One World Expedition: XJournal

Project Thin Ice - One World Expedition: XJournal

Trekking across the Arctic Ocean to raise awareness of Global Warming and the plight of the Polar Bear.

Published: Mon, 17 Jul 2006 10:38:44 -0500

Last Build Date: Mon, 17 Jul 2006 10:38:44 -0500

Copyright: Copyright 2006

Sunday Homecoming

Fri, 14 Jul 2006 18:57:41 -0500

On Sunday, July 16, Lonnie and Eric are scheduled to arrive at Minneapolis/St. Paul International Airport at 11:45 A.M. Their friends and family are waiting expectantly to embrace the two explorers and to see what toll the expedition has taken on their bodies and minds; how much weight have they lost, how is Lonnie's back, how sunburned are they, are they mentally exhausted. These are all thoughts going through the heads of the welcoming party.I will be at the airport too, wondering the same things. However, because I have communicated with Eric and Lonnie almost every day of the expedition, it seems, in a sense, as if they were not very far away. Since I jumped on the team just two weeks before departure, I have spent more time interacting with and thinking about Lonnie and Eric while they were away, than I did when they were home. Communications between Lonnie and Eric, and I have consisted mostly of terse email exchanges and efficient satellite phone conversations. Most of my job has involved coordinating logistics, communicating with sponsors and the media, and updating the web page. Through all of this work I am constantly trying to identify with Lonnie and Eric's perspective on the ice, so I can then coordinate things for them most easily and effectively. It is this thought process that has been most fun and educational for me. It is one thing to purchase a flight for someone; it is another thing entirely to purchase a flight for two yellow Esquif canoe-sleds. In order to navigate to solutions for this sort of logistical issue, I make persistent phone calls at all hours of the day. I work hard to communicate clearly, thoroughly and honestly so that whomever is on the other end of the line does not get annoyed with the countless details that can be involved with Arctic Ocean logistics. While I was not able to experience travel on the melting Arctic Ocean, I gained a tremendous appreciation for the commitment required to bring the urgency, scale and impact of global warming to people's attention. While each individual person can do a lot, it is also their job to educate others. Every evening of this exhausting expedition Eric and Lonnie painstakingly wrote their blog entries and recorded their podcasts. Backed by Greenpeace, the One World Expedition has shown the impact of global warming on the Arctic Ocean and the polar bear to millions and millions of people. Way to go, Lonnie and Eric and Greenpeace. Job well done!

Hot Times Up North

Wed, 12 Jul 2006 13:02:28 -0500

It seems like a long time ago that Lonnie and Eric were battling their way through the towering jumbles of ice rubble just north of Ward Hunt Island, Canada. At this point in the expedition, it was all they could do to advance 3 miles toward the Pole. While Eric and Lonnie clawed their way north, two other expeditions slowly advanced south from the Pole. These two expeditions had started in Russia, with hopes of crossing the Arctic Ocean to Ward Hunt Island, via the North Pole. They did not know it at the time, but during this past winter less ice had been formed on the Arctic Ocean than ever previously recorded. Just after Lonnie and Eric received their re-supply drop at N87, the other two expeditions were evacuated. Their progress south had been slowed drastically by rapidly breaking ice floes, in which these two winter expeditions were not equipped to travel effectively. The pilots who serviced these expeditions had never seen the pack ice break up this early. In the middle of the route between Ward Hunt Island and the North Pole, ocean currents for the most part push east. To the east lies the open ocean, where the pack ice eventually disperses into individual floating pans of ice and icebergs. As the Arctic Ocean breaks up, these eastward currents have a greater effect. The other two expeditions had been pushed well east of their intended route. Using their canoe-sleds, Lonnie and Eric successfully puddle-jumped out of the east-pushing currents and on toward the North Pole. As they closed in on the North Pole the number of leads they found increased instead of decreased as they had expected. On the Arctic Ocean, open water breeds more open water. Ice reflects sun rays. The dark seawater in leads attracts sun rays. Fueled by global warming, these conditions create a vicious, widening warming-spiral that not only leads to more ice melt, but also raises temperatures and increases humidity. Lonnie and Eric experienced this spiral in a way no other humans ever have. If we do not act now to stop global warming, this spiral will, in less than 50 years, destroy all the ice on the Arctic Ocean and the polar bear along with it.

First Shower Since May 1st

Sat, 08 Jul 2006 00:26:51 -0500

Lonnie and Eric have been picked up by a helicopter and are on board the icebreaker. They will be in transit back to Minneapolis for the next 8 days. While they are thoroughly enjoying the so many simple comforts that we all take for granted, like showers, furniture, and clean clothes, stay tuned here for information on their progress, news articles, recaps of the expedition and the very latest on global warming. Lonnie and Eric are scheduled to arrive at Minneapolis/St. Paul International Airport Sunday, July 16 at 11:45 A.M. Word of the day: "Ursus maritimus": directly translated as sea bear, we call them polar bears. The Norwegian word for a polar bear is more accurate; it is Isbjorn, which directly translates to ice bear. Polar bears live on ice, without ice polar bears die. No ice, no ice bears, it's that simple.

Media Files:

Last Day, Last Lunch, Last Camp

Thu, 06 Jul 2006 16:52:01 -0500

Day 67. The wind picked up considerably last night, or at least, what we call the night. The gusts also brought the biggest rain storm we've had to date. We hesitate to say it 'poured' but a steady drizzle lasted well into the morning. The hard wind-packed snow of yesterday turned to mush, slush and any other 'ush' word you might want to make up. We traveled toward the North Pole in order to find a suitable ice pan to support a helicopter. It wasn't easy. The ice we have been traveling on the past week is relatively thin - 3 feet or so. We needed something over six feet thick. We skied through slush and large meltwater pools that were as deep as our shins. More water skiing. Eventually, we found an old pan, set up the tent and called in to confirm our position. We took a little extra time to sort and inventory gear. All of our equipment seems to have survived the journey with little damage. Most noticeable are the sled-canoes. These boats have carried our supplies, and us at times, for nearly 700 miles of the most severe conditions imaginable. Despite this they look brand new! This is our last camp. We ate our last meal of noodles and crawled in the tent for one last sleep. However, we are hesitant to fully close our eyes just yet. Instead, we unzip the tent door and steal one last glance after another at the scene beyond. Let's be honest here: We are looking forward to enjoying some of even the simplest modern conveniences, seeing friends and family and maybe a glass of orange juice, but not just yet. It has been hard to get to know this place. It definitely doesn't happen all at once. A piece here, an experience there. An insight gained. Hours that turn into days and days that add into months. It is so easy to think that all this emptiness is just ice, snow and water. It's not. We wish we had the space and time to list all the things we have learned - about ourselves, teamwork, perseverance, and most importantly, the current state of the Arctic Ocean's sea ice. What should we do we do with all the knowledge we've gleaned from this journey? We are only now beginning to imagine the effect of this expedition on our future. One thing's for sure, we'll appreciate tables a lot more. And solid ground. Trees, definitely trees. The relationships of friends and family who have supported us for so long. Clean underwear will be nice. So will summer - a Minnesota summer. Those are, of course, all the tangible things that affect our immediate future. More uncertain are months from now when these experiences have gained the benefit of distance and time. What kind of people will we be then? Will we be different? Probably not much. But we won't be the same, either. We are glad for this experience. It has reinforced our love of wild spaces and our desire to help protect them. Our resolve to stop global warming has only been strengthened. We are also pleased that you have taken this perilous expedition with us. By connecting to the internet, reading these blogs, you too have begun the first steps of a great adventure. You have learned about the Arctic Ocean, seen its moods and subtleties, learned about global warming and, hopefully, added one of 200,000 signatures to a petition to get the polar bear listed as an endangered species. From here, let us continue together. This journey is really only beginning. Global warming is something that affects us all. We will not be able to update the web site for the next 6 or 7 days while we travel through Russia - no satellite phones allowed. In our stead the multi-faceted, multi-lingual, multiplication whiz, John Huston, will keep you posted. More news, global warming info, more expedition gear, more highlights, future speaking engagements and perhaps some juicy tidbits about Huston, the man behind the myth. Don't worry. We'll be writing more and more as soon as possible. There is lots of work to be done in the fight to stop global warming and help save the polar bear. We are rolling up our sleeves[...]

Media Files:

A Tough Decision

Wed, 05 Jul 2006 22:36:01 -0500

Day 66. From Lonnie: On May 1, 2006, Eric and I embarked on an unprecedented journey to the North Pole. To get here, we pulled and paddled specially modified canoes across 700 miles of shifting sea ice and open water of the arctic ocean. Our objectives were to complete the first-ever summer expedition to the North Pole to help save the polar bear by bringing attention to the growing issues surrounding global warming. On July 1, 2006 after 62 grueling days, the we attained the North Pole. After sustaining a serious strain to my back early in the expedition and after evaluating the rapidly deteriorating and dangerous ice conditions, I decided to not attempt the increasingly hazardous journey back to Greenland from the North Pole. Further travel would put us in a life-threatening situation with little chance of rescue. The ice pans on which we travel are fractured into a maze of open water which extends from land to the Pole. These ice conditions are very susceptible to fast-moving ocean currents, which push east toward the open ocean. The planned route to land is breaking up unusually early. As the expedition leader it is my responsibility to weigh all of the options, including the safest possible evacuation if it is deemed necessary. In order to avoid a search and rescue operation that would put persons at unnecessary risk, I have been researching vessels already in the area so in the event of an evacuation, we could leave on a vessel in close proximity. A Russian icebreaker (with a helicopter) is on a scheduled excursion to the North Pole and will be enlisted for a routine pick up. While reaching the North Pole has been a major truimph and unprecedented first, this expedition has always been more about exposing the dangers of global warming and the plight of the polar bear than our physical journey. We will continue our quest to stop global warming and save the polar bear long into the future.

Media Files:

Rest Day - take 2

Tue, 04 Jul 2006 21:48:01 -0500

Day 65. We no longer have to melt snow for drinking and cooking. We simply camp next to a meltwater pool and fill all our nalgene bottles and cook pots with all the fresh water we want. This of course saves greatly on our fuel. Lonnie decided to have his second bath in 64 days. A ground pad to stand on and two quart thermoses filled with warm water is hardly the full spa treatment but, given the circumstances, more than sufficient. Lonnie was waiting for the wind to die down a bit, but it never did. The trick is to stop the shower just before hypothermia sets in. Eric opted for slightly less drastic personal grooming measures. He put on a clean pair of underwear. We spent a lot of time talking about the Fourth of July, parades, fireworks and that segued into some of the things we miss about home. Luckily, John Huston forwarded us several emails from well wishers back home and around the globe. It is nice to know there is so much support for our endeavor and for protecting the polar bear. The U.S. Government will decide on endangered species act protection by year's end. The settlement of a recent lawsuit requires the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to complete its "12-month" finding on whether polar bears should be listed under the Endangered Species Act by Dec. 27, 2006. Today's picture: Lonnie warming up after his shower. Word of the day: epicurean - Do Clif bars count in this definition? Then that's us.

Media Files:

Rest Day for the Weary

Tue, 04 Jul 2006 00:42:01 -0500

Day 64. We finally got that rest day we had been hoping for. We were planning to sleep in; however, spent much of the morning (and rest of the day) fielding questions from reporters over our satellite phone. A special thanks goes out to the Greenpeace media department for coordinating our calls. We feel this is time well spent as it allows us to talk to a larger audience about some of the dramatic changes due to global warming that we are seeing. We also were able to tell our polar bear story which is always a good bridge to talking about how global warming is affecting them. The remainder of the day was fairly uneventful; the exception being food. Even though we are not travelng our stomachs are still in 'acquire calories' mode. While no one was looking we added additional cheese and salami to our dinner. The sun came out for the first time in a long while and we were amazed at the ice all around us. It is on days like today that we really begin to fathom how vast this place is. But it is not infinite. The ice on the Arctic Ocean has already decreased by an area twice the size of Texas since the late 1980s. Scientists also believe the Arctic Ocean will be ice free in summer in less than 50 years. That does not bode well for the polar bear. The bright sun has kept us up longer than we would like. Not a big worry as the Hilleberg Hotel is warm and cozy and we are planning on another rest day tomorrow. Hopefully, we will dream of all the things we miss so very far away. Today's picture: ice and snow. The july 3rd view of the Arctic Ocean... under sunny skies. Word of the day: leisure - nothing too fast or difficult for us today.

Media Files:

Back in the USSR

Sun, 02 Jul 2006 21:26:02 -0500

Day 63. We woke up in the eastern hemisphere singing old Beatles songs... 'back in the USSR'. Last night we drifted 3.5 miles south toward Siberia: the exact opposite direction of where we expected (and hoped) to drift and need to go. So, we had to delay our much needed rest. With images of our sleeping bags and an extra Clif bar floating in front of us, we trudged back toward the North Pole where we are currently (once again) camped. The wind has finally started to die down and hopefully the drift will slow down as well. Better still, would be ice movement toward Greenland so we can just relax and take our minds off the ice for a few days, but we'll believe that when it happens. The day started with a nice summer rain. Big drops soaked our jackets and fogged our glasses. Luckily, it only lasted for 10 minutes or so. The ice was fairly kind to us, but it was still slow going. By day's end, we had skied through numerous melt pools 3 to 6 inches deep - our snow skis turning suddenly into water skis. We are now getting quite good at locating the north pole by dead reckoning. We keep the wind in our face and the sun over our right shoulder. Today, we paddled the last 1/8th mile down a lead to the Pole, then set up camp on an old floe nearby. In the end after a tiring day we had no net mileage gain. Tomorrow will be a rest day (hopefully). We have big plans of laying around and doing nothing. Perhaps in the afternoon we will go for a walk around the world. Today's Picture: Lonnie and Eric display the Greenpeace banner on the North Pole. Word of the day: cosmopolitan - you know, because we're in the eastern hemisphere. How international!

Media Files:

The Pole and a Messenger

Sat, 01 Jul 2006 22:16:01 -0500

Day 62. At 4 am this morning, Eric froze in his sleeping bag. Not from being cold, but rather to try to discern a noise outside that sounded a lot like footsteps in the soft snow. There have been many times where both of us have mistaken a random noise as something more formidable than a snow flap blowing in the wind. On a completely calm night, even the thump of your heart beating resonates through the sleeping bag nylon like the steady footfalls of a stalking predator. But this was different than all those other sounds. This was a polar bear walking a few feet from our tent. A polar bear exactly one mile from the North Pole. We managed to quickly scare the bear away with a 'bear banger' flare. It wasn't in a big hurry to leave and stopped frequently to sniff the air. By this time, Lonnie had the video camera running and caught a few farewell glances on tape. We hurriedly put our boots on to assess the scene. The bear had followed our ski tracks into camp. It came from down wind to disguise its scent and used several small drifts to hide behind as it stalked us. Then, it circled slowly around the tent, coming 5 feet from Lonnie's head. It was not aggressive. It did not damage any equipment. It was 10 feet away on its way back to the lead when Eric first saw it. To us, it seemed more curious than anything else. We are on fairly young ice. There are hundreds of leads all around. We have seen seals nearly every day for the last week. So, it seems plausible that a polar bear could be in the vicinity. But 550 miles from land? On the very same day we would eventually attain the North Pole on an expedition whose mission was to protect the polar bear. Apparently so. Yesterday, we were searching for meaning and not finding it. This morning it walked within 60 inches of us. We find it difficult to not draw a deep significance from this encounter. Sure, it was just a polar bear doing what polar bears do: living and hunting on sea ice. Maybe it caught our scent from far off and was just curious. Maybe it was looking to assert dominion over its particular range. Maybe it was looking for an easy meal. But may, just maybe, it was a messenger from the rest of its race sent to remind us that the fate of the polar bear lies in all our hands. We attained the North Pole at 12 noon CST in a moment of, considering our morning, complete anticlimax. We took a few pictures to document the moment, then watched the GPS coordinates scroll south on the screen due to the rapid drift of ice. In a few more minutes, the Pole was completely covered in water. All of our emotions splayed in a winding trail between here and Ellesmere Island, we stood quietly for a while, then said almost simultaneously, "Well, should we set up the tent?" Word of the day: stewardship - please draw your own meaning.

Media Files:


Fri, 30 Jun 2006 23:40:01 -0500

Day 61. The ice appeared eggshell thin as the forces of wind and current have recently fractured this area into a maze of pressured ice, leads and small pans. There was so much open water that the scent of warm (almost warm) salt water was constantly in the air. It was a weird travel day. Overcast, foggy and damp, the terrain revealed itself slowly. We were constantly stumbling through a wall of pressured ice straight into a series of leads. At one point, small slabs were heaved in long curving arcs. In other spots, the north-northeast wind pushed slabs close enough together that we zig-zagged across several large leads. We crossed roughly 50 or so cracks in the ice that we could span with skis and had to catamaran the sled-canoes seven or eight times to paddle across large leads. Only a few miles from the Pole, we were seeing more open water than either of us would have ever guessed. Navigation was especially difficult today as well. We stopped to check our declination with the GPS every hour. It is much easier to navigate with a compass; however, the north 'red' end of our compass is slow to setttle. Leaving the tent we adjusted our compasses to 96 degrees west declination. By the end of the day we were at 117 degrees west. Its difficult to put any more significance to one day versus another; however today, we tried to muster some extra emotion or meaning on this the eve of achieving the previously impossible. But 61 days of having our sled-canoes get stuck on every ice chunk between here and Ellesmere Island, skiing on thin ice, wading through deep snow and worse have left us too weary for introspection. We are so close to the North Pole right now that if we could stand on top of the Hilleberg Hotel, we could see it - not that it would look any different from the ice and water nearby. So many times we have felt that the Pole is such an arbitrary point. What makes the ice so many miles and struggles away from here more important than the frozen chunk underneath our skis? "Absolutely nothing," crossed our minds more than once. But we know the North Pole will be different. Each day has been so amazing and unique in its own right. We would have never guessed how much the ice could change in character and personality. The moving ice that nearly killed us, the biggest pressure ridge ever, the ice chunk that looked like Ronald Reagan, the snow drift that was blown to a paper-thin width...these small things we will keep with us forever. To travel through the world's last great wilderness is a privilege and we feel lucky to be here. On the surface at least, the frozen Arctic seems unspoiled by human hands. It is comforting to know that places like this still exist. Remote and uninhabited. Vast beyond our wildest imaginations. We hope we have tread lightly enough. The truth is quite the opposite. Even here, we humans have cast our influence whether we intended to or not. The sea ice is melting. Open water surrounds our camp. Near the end of the day a gull swooped down, and determining we were inedible, flew off. A lone seal lazed on a frozen lead sunning itself in overcast skies. Every so often an ice chunk caught our attention as we passed - like so many other ice chunks have before. Today's picture: An explorer's view of one of the many leads we paddled across today. Some were fairly small (8 feet); others involved several hundred meters of paddling. Word of the day: carte blanche - when we are so tired the lead skier makes all route decisions with little argument from position number two.

Media Files:

More Seals?

Fri, 30 Jun 2006 00:34:02 -0500

Day 60. One more step. One more step. One more step. It has become our mantra. It was a long day - physically very difficult, but mentally a nice break from yesterday as the threat of an icy death seemed slightly less imminent. Still, we finagled a few risky moves to get the ol' adrenaline pumping. Several face plants in the wet snow were especially invigorating as well. We slogged over 10 hours trying to gain at least a small toe hold on our attainment of the Pole. The snow was the same mashed mess we waded through yesterday and slowed us to a crawl. At 6 p.m. we took a short break from pulling sled-canoes to call in to the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC). Kert Davies from Greenpeace facilitated the call. We have been sending the NSIDC, via Kert, our data on snow depth and density and ice freeboard. We were able to answer a few questions from scientists there clarifying our information. We also talked about some of the qualitative observations we've been making on the state of the Arctic ocean. We look forward to continuing our sampling. The more we know about the condition of snow and ice on the Arctic Ocean right now, the better scientists will be able to predict future change. However, make no mistake, the minimum ice extent (in summer) will be less than last year's record. Global warming is happening now and its first victim will be the polar bear. Further evidence: We saw three seals today; the last only 11 miles from the north pole. Word of the day: supercalifragilisticexpealidocious - why not?

Media Files:

Worst to First to Mashed Potatoes

Wed, 28 Jun 2006 20:10:02 -0500

Day 59. "For anyone who has wondered how global warming and reduced sea ice will affect polar bears, the answer is simple -- they die," (This is Rick Steiner's quote in the Dec. 14 WSJ article on polar bears in Alaska drowning.) This expedition has never been about us, rather we are here to help save the polar bear. If you want to save the polar bear from extinction then you have to stop global warming. We openly wondered again about the state of the Arctic ocean as we stared, mouth agape, at the scene ahead. It was a definite cringe moment: We have to go through that? If there was ever a time on this expedition where we wanted to just give up and go home, this was it. As far as we could see, small pans (under 100 meters) were stacked up and grinding against each other. Soft brash and ice chunks choked the gaps between each pan, plus the whole mess was moving and moving fast. Returning to one potential crossing point after a scout, we found that it had moved 3 feet in one minute. This rapid movement of the pans was also loosening large ice chunks. One truck-sized piece heeled over just after Lonnie crossed. There is nothing like imminent danger to stimulate action. We had to get out and get out now. Unfortunately, Eric still had to cross that same spot. Chaos ensued. Lonnie came back to help, but realized his sled-canoe was being pushed away by heaving brash ice. He went to drag it to safety. Meanwhile, Eric was pulling his sled-canoe up and over a 10-foot ice chunk onto another sloping 10-foot chunk surrounded by brash ice. The canoe stuck fast, then slipped free causing Eric to tumble forward, narrowly missing a face plant in the open lead. Eric's sled-canoe was stuck again, only this time sideways and in danger of getting crushed. Lonnie arrived back on the scene and helped free it, but we weren't in the clear yet. The next lead with Lonnie just across, two more HUGE chunks dislodge and rocket up. They flip upside down exposing the bluest of blue underbellies. The water is boiling. Where Lonnie just crossed will be impassible in a minute as the moving pan was releasing the pressure holding the brash ice firm. Don't think, just go. We spent almost an hour racing through all that scary-ness. It seemed like forever. We hope to never have to experience anything like that ever again, but know full well that it's quite possible. A short ski more and we are on some of the best ice we have ever skied on, with not a lead in sight. We breathed a sigh of relief and then six or seven more. We have lost a bit of weight due to the work load and long hours. We feel the diet is right on in terms of volume and calories for hauling. Over the course of the expedition, we expected to lose up to 15 pounds and bulked up accordingly. We estimate that Eric has lost perhaps around 10-12 pounds. Lonnie, on the other hand, has lost an estimated 25 pounds. We are guessing since both of us are on the exact same diet (actually Lonnie is eating a bit more) it must be a combination of age and metabolism plus the added fatigue from back strain cutting into the Frenchman's physique. Today, the additional strain of traveling through snow with the consistency of mashed potatoes pushed us both to our physical limits. However, it was especially hard on Lonnie who 'bonked' near the end of the day. The good news: Let's see... The good news, good news. News that is good. Hmmm. Oh yeah, it was a beautiful sunny morning for almost two hours. A funny story: With the warmer days, we are now sleeping head-toe in our tent to give each other some more breathing room. Eric woke disgusted as Lonnie's bare feet were only inches away from his face. The next morning Lonnie asked, "Were you tickling my feet last night?" Needless to say we are reinforcing the[...]

Media Files:

Making Watery Progress

Tue, 27 Jun 2006 21:50:02 -0500

Day 58. The ice is not sinking, it's simply readjusting its equilibrium to a newly acquired mass (one of us jumping on it) in relation to its buyoancy. Sometimes that new balance is above the water level; sometimes it isn't. Regardless, we have to mentally remind ourselves of this fact: We're not sinking, we're not sinking, we're sinking. Today, we paddled across seven leads. A few were only 10 meters wide or so, but others were over a quarter mile. There was even a 30-minute paddle with a few portages. We had not planned on coming to the Arctic to do a northern Minnesota-style canoe trip. That's how much water we are seeing. We are making history every day - the northermost canoe trip ever. Of course, we would prefer to not have that kind of notoriety. During our planning and preparations, we had set a goal of reaching the North Pole by July 1st. While we are narrowing the gap between us and it daily, it is slow and requires maximum effort. Honestly, with 23.5 nautical miles to go, we don't know if we'll make it by then. Or make it period. The ice conditions today were borderline insane. This ocean is breaking up underneath us. We repeat, this ocean is breaking up. The day started simply enough; we snaked our way out of the pressure into some flat ice. It was so nice for an hour or so that Lonnie did an enthusiatic 'good ice' dance. The ensuing ice craziness wasn't entirely his fault, but we can not afford any amount of false bravado or jinxes at this point. The ice is fracturing into small pieces and being blown east or west depending on the wind. The second skier had to enlist some extra hustle today to cross several gaps before they widened. Pressured ice is everywhere. Several frozen monoliths towered upwards of 20 feet. More Huck Finn rafting, more giant leaps, more slush pools, more small unstable chunk hopping, more big water than ever before. Eric fell in the ocean up to his thighs - a first. Usually, we roll in the snow to soak up extra moisture, but the snow is so melty and wet that it just made the situation worse. He got a bit worried that he would have to take his long underwear off to dry as he has been wearing it for 58 days straight. So, he just 'wore it dry' and his personal record increases daily. We are thinking about putting a warning label on our expedition, "Do not attempt this ever again." We'd send a picture of our camp site tonight, but it would just remind us of the precariousness of our current situation. The ice is just so broken. Instead of one big sheet there are literally hundreds of small pans (10-100 meters in diameter) for as far as we can see. While we refuse to think about tomorrow before it happens, it is not difficult to predict our fate. On the horizon, water cloud after water cloud after water cloud. Ironically, we had some good laughs today, too. Not gut busters as we've previously had but fun chuckles. Spend 58 days with anyone and something is bound to tickle your funny bone sooner or later. Today, Lonnie's lean frame due to some serious weight loss was particularly hilarious. We are trying to reach the North Pole. For so long it has been our ultimate goal. The conditions stink, our skis and snowshoes sink. Once there, we'll see who gets Santa's coal. Today's picture: We were lucky at one point, finding some nice slabs of ice to bridge across a large messy lead. We switched lead skier/snowshoer every hour today as it is such hard work breaking trail. Word of the day: tankard - a large beer mug? No explanation necessary.

Media Files:

A Paddle to the Pole

Mon, 26 Jun 2006 21:38:01 -0500

Day 57. The Arctic Ocean is breaking up underneath us. The fractured slabs of ice we traveled across today made us reassess everything we know (or thought we knew) about sea ice. For us now, all bets are off. We can only take each day as it comes. Today we paddled across a big lead for 40 minutes straight. That's right, we said 40 minutes - over a mile of open water. At the time, we were probably 35 nautical miles from the Pole. Unbelievable. We are seeing more and more open water than ever before and openly wondered that when (or if) we reach the Pole, it would be by canoe. Further evidence of a disintegrating Arctic ice sheet: A pair of gulls circled curiously over head for several minutes. This, of course, also makes us think of polar bears, which could go extinct in our lifetime because of global warming. Polar bears won't be able to survive if their Arctic environment continues to melt down like we are seeing. The snow was so soft that the lead person had to use snowshoes to break trail. Even with the additional buoyancy, we sink 12 inches or more into the snow. Its good exercise for the legs, as if we need it. Imagine doing the stairmaster for eight or nine hours straight, then add pulling a 200-pound sled-canoe to the mix for the anaerobic phase of your workout. Now do this for several days and you will begin to understand what we are experiencing. Physically, it is energy-sapping work (Lonnie ate four Clif bars in the first part of the morning). There is no way that we could do this alone. Sharing the work is our only hope. Tomorrow we will go from 1-1/2 hour stints as lead person to 1 hour. The deep heavy snow is just too much for our normal intervals. These last miles to the Pole are proving to be our hardest. Much harder than we ever imagined. Deep soft snow, maze after maze of leads, and now, pressure ice as big as we have seen since the first few weeks of our journey. Throw in a melt pool cleverly disguised by a layer of snow and you have a recipe for wet feet and slow travel. That 'good ice' we had been hoping to see for so long does not exist. Our future for the next few days is not difficult to predict. We are no longer inching forward, we are millimetering. We have eaten breakfast, lunch and dinner together for 57 straight days. Our dirty socks hang in each other's face as they dry in the tent. We get in small disagreements every so often. Lonnie is a morning person; Eric likes evenings. Despite all this, we are still on speaking terms with each other. Better actually. If anything this journey has strengthened our ability to work together, which is good as our survival literally depends on one another. Once again our MSR snowshoes have proved lifesavers. So much in fact that we're making them our sponsor of the week. Please visit to learn more about MSR and their great snowshoes, which we call four-wheel-drive for our feet. Today's picture: The sun came out and managed to make the fractured nastiness that we have been traveling across look beautiful and serene. If you look closely, you can see the ice under the water, too! Word of the day: portent - soft snow, bad ice, omens for the next few days.

Media Files:

Deep Thoughts

Sun, 25 Jun 2006 21:12:01 -0500

Day 56. A few open spots of blue gave way to a full-fledged sunny day. No kidding, after 10 million days traveling under spirit-draining overcast, we had a shiny bright morning. It was nice to see the snow we were skiing on for a change. It was so bright, in fact, that another full arching rainbow formed directly in front of us. Our pace quickened as we tried to ski underneath the vaulted peak. Unfortunately, the sun didn't last long and the rainbow faded to white then disappeared. We were left in a complete whiteout. Now that there are fewer and fewer ice chunks to use as reference points, navigating north through this is, and we're saying this in extreme understatement, difficult. Difficult and stressful, at least, for the lead skier. It is he that has to choose a safe route across fractured ice, avoid pressure ridges and decide when to catamaran. He has to break trail through whatever we encounter. Then, inevitably, attempt some risky move and another one after that for one and a half hours when the shift is over (until the next shift that is). Meanwhile, the second skier is meandering along in a perfectly groomed and packed ski track. The stress of being in lead is gone. The skiing is slightly less physical. Sometimes, he may even daydream. Today our thoughts focused on the human condition. You know, the 'why are we here' and 'what are we doing' kind of stuff. Not so much Lonnie and Eric on an Arctic expedition either, but us as humans beings and our responsiblities as such. We have an incredible ability to manipulate our environment at an unprecedented rate. With that, we must also consider the consequences of our actions. Our existence does not hang in the balance by individual strings; rather our lives are inexorably connected to one another. A warming Arctic, the potential extinction of the polar bear, our consumption of fossil fuels... these are all interrelated. Other big brain busters today that didn't make the final cut into the trail report but are still worth mentioning: If Clif bars weren't bars but loaves like bread, would we toast slices of them? How much would our Esquif sled-canoes weigh if they were full of bananas? What is the sound of one ski sinking in soft snow? If no one was around would it make still a sound? Today's picture: Eric using the boat bridge. Word of the day: vagary - unpredictable change - we have no idea of what to expect ice-wise between here and the Pole. All bets are off.

Media Files:

Seals at the Pole?

Sat, 24 Jun 2006 19:02:01 -0500

Day 55. Seals at 89:10.00 north! We have never heard of seals this far north and are wondering if the lack of ice in the south due to global warming is driving them north? Or is it thinner ice in the north with more open areas? Either way, these changes are a stark reminder that we need to act now to stop global warming. It was another hot summer day on the Arctic Ocean. It has been above freezing for over a week now and we have officially given up on ever skiing on firm snow again. Instead, we will plow our way to the Pole sinking up to our thighs at times. We have adapted to the conditions by implementing a high-stepping ski-tip-lifting stride. The positive side to all this (yes, there always is a positive side) is the canoe-sleds slide nicely on the ice granules... which is nice compared to the anchor-like glide of earlier days. Just as we were noticing that the surface of the snow had changed a bit we found ourselves sinking up to our shins in wet slush. There was a large melt water pool hidden just under the snow that nearly gave us soakers. The official melt pool was on an old multi-year floe. A few lead crossings were straight out of Mark Twain. We used chunks of ice as small rafts to ford several watery gaps. At one point, both Eric and Lonnie were on an ice chunk with the sled-canoes and using ski poles to steer. Later, Eric nearly slid head first into the drink during a similar crossing. His sled-canoe slid forward on the ice changing the balance point. We had a short discussion about fear and getting through the day at one of our sit breaks. There are points during each day where one of us is either scared or frustrated. The key, we decided, was to always remember that the conditions will change and that these emotions are only temporary. Still, we have to constantly remind ourselves of this fact. By the last third of the day, we emerged from pressure and fractured ice oblivion into ice like we have never seen - large pans that are really flat (we're serious) with little pressure between them. There are lots of cracks and leads but we have had good luck finding places for boat bridges and other makeshift lead crossing techniques that we have begun to implement. We are ending our day with a positive outlook for tomorrow's ice, but neither one of us will say our hopes out loud at the risk of upsetting the bad ice gods. Today's picture - still dealing with pressure, here's Lon giving his sled-canoe the ol' heave-ho. Word of the day: unctuous - what we are trying to be toward one another after being cooped up together for 55 days.

Media Files:

One Degree to Go!

Fri, 23 Jun 2006 18:20:02 -0500

Day 54. For those of you who don't know us, there is supposedly only seven degrees of separation between you and someone who does. However, right now, there is only one degree of latitude separating us and the North Pole. We can't even begin to express how that makes us feel. OK, maybe we can a little bit. Yippee, yahoo, awesome! We are so excited, elated, relieved, happy, overjoyed and glad to be here. Helping us celebrate was a seal - that's right, a seal in a lead only a hundred yards from our camp. We can't believe that we are seeing seals this far north. Our transition to days is now complete. The result of this process: two tired explorers traveling in the same whiteout conditions. Oh well, we have better hopes for tomorrow or the next day or the next. We spent much of the day in our usual mode. Pull the sled-canoes then paddle the sled-canoes. In fact, today we paddled across some gigantic pieces of water. It seems the closer we get to the pole the more water there is. This fact is disconcerting to us. The snow is melting fast, too. Days of southerly winds have really changed the conditions. Today, any drifted area was as soft as it's ever been and swallowed skis and legs on several occasions. Snow covered cracks in the ice are also now a danger as we sink deeply in. The day had a weird 'other-worldly' feel to it. Some of the small flat areas surrounded by older pressure looked like the moon. We whiled away the hours trying to imagine near weightless skiing. We are so far removed from other human life that this journey might as well be on the moon. "Huston this is Hilleberg One. Do you copy?" There is not a lot of drama to report, so you'll have to tune in tomorrow for another exciting episode of 'As the Explorers Ski'. Will Lonnie cook noodles for dinner? Will Eric wash the dishes with snow or leftover water from the morning's oatmeal? Only time will tell. Just a reminder that we'll be speaking at Pacuare Lodge in Costa Rica this December. To learn more, please visit or Today's picture: the explorers getting ready for nighty-night. Word of the day: commodious - a perfect description of the Hilleberg Hotel.

Media Files:

Laughing All The Way

Thu, 22 Jun 2006 08:08:01 -0500

Day 53. All we can do is laugh. When it's another whiteout, the fog is so thick that all we need to do is open our mouth to get a drink, the snow is soft as sugar and no longer supports our weight on skis... These conditions are so over the top and ridiculous that all we can do is laugh at ourselves. A popular phrase of late: "What were we thinking of when we decided to go to the North Pole in summer?" To which the other replies, "Are we having fun yet?" The good news is that the snow hasn't been sticking to our skis. So, that's one less problem to deal with. We've got other solutions, too. Our remedy for the bad visibility: We're switching back to traveling days. The fog tends to burn off somewhat around noon and if we can squeeze an hour or two of actually being able to see, we'll take it. Perhaps we can even get a few pictures with some sun in them...although we're not holding our breath on that one. We hope our non-vampiric schedule will allow us to communicate better with John Huston at base camp in Minnesota, the folks at Greenpeace and press as we zero slowly in on the pole. We have devised an exciting new sport. We set up the sled-canoes to be catamaraned at a lead, hop on top, then use our paddles to push us down into the water. The ensuing half-second ride and splash rivals any water park feature attraction. The boat bridge is back in action as well. We haven't had much need for the technique until recently. The procedure is relatively simple: Shove the sled-canoe so that it spans a wide crack then, with skis still on, walk or crawl across. It's loads of fun. Try it if you get a chance. It was announced today that the leaders of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, Sens. Bingaman and Domenici, reached an agreement with Sens. Stevens and Kennedy on the threat to Cape Wind in the Coast Guard Reauthorization Bill. They have dropped the Massachusetts gubernatorial veto power for this important clean energy project. Cape Wind is a proposed off-shore wind farm in Massachusetts and an important component of our clean energy future. We are pleased to hear this newest development. To learn more about how you can support Cape Wind, the proposed wind farm off Long Island and other clean energy projects, click here: Today's picture: Skiing into nothing. Conditions like these are difficult to navigate in, to say the least. It's almost impossible to see even the horizon line. Word of the day: agog - eager to reach the pole.

Media Files:

Happy Summer

Wed, 21 Jun 2006 07:52:02 -0500

Day 52. At exactly 12:01 am (the middle of our travel day), we stopped forward progress to pay special homage to this day. We wish we could say we were more excited by the first day of summer, but in all honesty, it played out much like all our other days on the Arctic Ocean. For starters, we haven't seen a sunrise or sunset since arriving in Resolute at the end of April. It's 24 hours of light all day, every day. We often wonder how people function in the dark. Back home in Minnesota, our friends are celebrating this longest day with a huge solstice pageant. Have some extra fun for us. The weather today wasn't very summery, either. We had a bit of snow in the morning, then a wet fog which turned into the worst whiteout we've had to date. We had to navigate by judging wind direction in relation to our bearing. Speaking of which, our declination is now 92 degrees west. Which makes traveling north seem a bit odd as the red 'north' end of our Brunton compasses points a few degrees south of west. We are still having daily battles with pressured ice. A few small lines slowed us down mid-day. Conversely, the morning was all water. We split between two of the largest leads that we've ever seen. The one veering to the west was so vast we couldn't see the opposite side. Both of us had close encounters with ice water as our skis slipped backward while trying to span large cracks. Realistically, we are excited about this first day of summer. We want our first-ever expedition to be a wake up call to everyone around the world, but especially the United States. We have had to paddle our sled-canoes five different times today. Global warming is real and it's happening now. We are seeing its dramatic effects firsthand. Since we are a little short on gift wrap, balloons, confetti and other celebratory accutrements, we honored the day by singing several 'summer' songs like: there ain't no cure for the summertime blues, hot town summer in the city, those summer days, California dreaming... Today's picture: we call it 'thumb in whiteout.' Word of the day: obstreperous - we're really quiet, we swear.

Media Files:

Our New Friend

Tue, 20 Jun 2006 08:28:01 -0500

Day 51. We encountered quite a bit of pressured ice today. Unusual. As you know, we have been expecting the ice to flatten out a bit. It seems that we're close enough to the Pole so that if we were to stand on our tippy toes, we might be able see it. Not so with today's ice. Fortunately, we could get through all the rough spots fairly easily by searching out a smattering of periodically spaced small flat pans. The ice itself was very interesting today as well. Any geometry teacher would have a year's worth of shapes to proof: triangle, square, pentagon, and everything in between. A small area of 30-foot-wide slabbed shapes heaved only slightly garnered a few extra comments. Also unexpectedly today, were several large leads, three of which we catamaraned to get across. A Harp seal was very intrigued with our presence and watched us intently from a few yards away. It would lift its body further and further out of the water trying to get a better view. When we left the first lead and pulled a 1/4 mile across an ice floe, we encountered our new same seal friend there too. It had followed the sounds of our skis and canoe-sleds under the ice to the next lead. A while later at a third lead, it was again poking its head curiously up. To continue with the math lesson open water plus seals equals... That's right, polar bears, and upon pulling our sled-canoes up and out of the first lead, we immediately skied over a pair of huge tracks. You could even see the large claw marks in some of them. The trail led to a spot only 2 feet away from where we had just 'landed'. Not having a sled-canoe handy, these two bears, it appears, jumped in and swam across. For us to get across that lead easily took 15 minutes. For the bears, two - maybe. They are perfectly adapted to this environment. They have evolved into efficient swimmers - uniquely among bears, they have developed some webbing between their toes and their necks are longer than other bears, the better for them to keep their heads above water while swimming. Yet despite all these physical advantages, polar bear drownings are becoming more common - especially off the north coast of Alaska where sea ice is receding quickly. Polar bears rule supreme in the Arctic. Today's tracks, the seals and all this open water surrounding us have put us on our guard. Once again, we are placing the Hilleberg Hotel on heightened alert. Despite our nervousness, we also feel lucky to be able to experience these chance encounters. Our hope is that we can all work to stop global warming and save the polar bear. Lastly, you haven't heard us mention them in a while, but we're still getting our daily dose of Clif bars. Three a day per person (more math?) times two people times seven days in a week times... Well, let us know what that comes out to. Eric's favorite: peanut butter chocolate chip crunch. Lonnie's: apple cranberry. Today's picture: Eric is crossing a 3 1/2 foot crack in the ice. It's hard to see in this picture, but 5 feet below his ski is the Arctic Ocean. Word of the day: epoch - that's how long it feels like we've been out here.

Media Files:

R & R

Mon, 19 Jun 2006 09:08:02 -0500

Day 50. With absolutely no wind whatsoever, we have remained nearly stationary overnight. This fact has helped us make the decision to take a full rest day. The past days of hard toil have taken a toll on both of us. Lonnie is especially stretched as the pain in his back is preventing him from sleeping soundly at night. Hanging out inside the Hilleberg Hotel and snuggling deeply in our Integral Design sleeping bags, makes all that hardship seem to dissappear. In fact, when we did emerge and go outside, it was with renewed vigor. What an amazing place we are in. We feel very lucky to be here. 50 straight days on the Arctic Ocean have not dulled our senses, either. Each subtle change catches our attention. The texture of snow at 30 degrees versus 31, the sound of dead calm, the bluest possible ice chunk, the endlessness of a whiteout... This is the Arctic Ocean, one of the last great wildernesses left on the planet. After 50 days we also feel lost when our routine is changed. This is especially true on rest days. The mornings aren't so bad as we sleep in, but take away our end of the day rituals and we start getting a bit cranky. We just like things the way we like them. Find a flat piece of ice, align our sled-canoes with the wind, set up the tent, ground pads in first, then personal gear, grab a dinner and breakfast, set up the solar panel, cut snow blocks for cooking and drinks, take off gaitors to dry outside, crawl in the tent, boots off and to the side, insoles pulled out, we could easily extend this play by play till the moment we stop traveling in 23.5 hours and find a flat piece of ice. Happy father's day to our dads, Jim Dupre and Andy Larsen. You are always with us in spirit. We also wanted to extend a special birthday wish to Elisabeth Harincar. We met Elisabeth through her husband Tim who runs - an amazing program for updating web sites and blogs from your own computer or the most remote corners of the world. We swear by it. We also received a note that the web site has a new video posted on it. It features a trip to Boulder and the NSIDC (national snow and ice data center) with narration by Kieran Mulvaney. If you're wondering why the clip is so easy to follow and understand, its because Kieran wrote the script as well. Way to go mate! (we're told its an English expression). Today's picture: our typical relaxation poses in the Hilleberg Hotel. Word of the day: fulminate - we did not do this when opting to take a rest day.

Media Files:

Seal Sighting

Sun, 18 Jun 2006 08:14:01 -0500

Day 49. Seal at 88:30?!? Small but rotund, it was sunning on the ice until the red coats came. We tried to sneak up and shoot some video, but we had no polar bear stealth and it dove through an open hole it had maintained in the ice. It is amazing to realize that life exists under all this ice at the top of the world. This place is much more than just ice and snow. We hit 'Pay Dirt' - at least ice wise. Today was by far the best we have had since leaving land (whenever that was). For once in a long, long while, we are allowing ourselves to be optimistic. We're anticipating more of the same in the days ahead. Hopefully. We are also traveling mostly on old multi-year floes. This thicker ice is identified by its rounded and sometimes dirty tops. We are also seeing a lot of dark material (soot) covering some of the flatter ice as well. Anywhere there is soot, the snow is melting away faster than the surrounding areas. We are collecting snow samples for Dr. Tom Grenfell at the University of Washington so he can study this same interaction. We have decided to take at least a half day's rest tomorrow due to the rough going we've had the past three days. The tough ups and downs have put enough strain on Lonnie's back that, even with prescription medication, it is difficult to get decent sleep and rest. This makes the next day somewhat less rewarding, to say the least. We had a short discussion about the past three days. Were they more mentally or physically challenging? We decided it was equal. In moments of forgetfulness, we made two foolish moves. First, Eric packed his Lendal paddle inside his sled (instead of bungeed to the top and easily accessible). Inevitably, we had to paddle across two big leads today. The second was a comment by Lonnie stating we wouldn't get much fog today. Of course, we had a brief spell of foggy mist. In the future, we have to be more careful of what we do and say. We've been wearing the same Wintergreen pants and jackets for almost two months straight. Paul Schurke (of North Pole dog sled journey 1986 fame) and his wife Sue make incredible clothing and outerwear that is durable enough for the Arctic Ocean, but still wearable around town. Check out to learn more about our sponsor of the week, Wintergreen. Today's picture: Lonnie tired and sore after a long day. Word of the day: supine - our position of relaxation in the Hilleberg Hotel.

Media Files:

Nine Hard-Won Miles

Sat, 17 Jun 2006 09:50:01 -0500

Day 48. All of our previous experience with sea ice, our attempt last year off the coast of Russia, all of our knowledge accumulated over the past month and a half, all of the information gleaned from previous expeditions did little, if anything, to prepare us for the ice today. A brisk wind cooled the surface snow enough where we could both use skis; however, the second skier had more snow stick to the bottom of his skis than the lead - the opposite of yesterday. Too soon, we were in a confusion of broken ice. Leads were everywhere. Normally, we would look for pressured corners, but they were now split apart. We've mentioned this situation before, but today was different. It was impossible to judge where there was water and where there wasn't. Because of the flatness of the ice, the edges of the pans disguised the character of each lead. Too many times we would interpret a lead crossable to the left, but once closer, the gap was too wide to span with skis, or filled with impassable brash ice. Then, we'd backtrack to the right. Several times, we traveled three or four pans into a dead end and had to backtrack that same agonizing distance. We stretched the limits of safety. Both of us had near misses with ice breaking underneath our full weight. Only luck and last minute lunges kept us dry. Any other skis than our trusty Asnes skis would have broken in two by now. We bridge nearly four foot gaps with them. When our spirits were at their lowest, when we didn't think we could go through any more, when even getting to 89 degrees seemed impossible, the ice changed. It got better. Flatter. The sun came out. It was a break we will not soon forget. So many times we fall. We slip and get frustrated. Or just plain tired. Sometimes one of us is close enough to lend a hand. Many times we are all alone. "Why even get up," we often think. But we do get up, we take one step and then another, then one more. Minute by minute, hour by hour, we whittle away at all this impossibility to move forward. That simple fact gives us hope. These, we are just beginning to realize, are not just lessons for polar explorers. Just so you know, your efforts are not going unnoticed, the federal government received over 200,000 comments in support of listing the bear under the Endangered Species Act. Wow! Thanks to all of you who made an extra effort to help save the polar bear. We're too tired to write another poem. Our mood would better fit a Russian tome. But now it's to sleep. Where new energy will seep. But not before our dreams take us away to roam. Today's picture: Our solar power plant. There is enough light (even during a complete blizzard) to charge all of our electronic equipment. And the best part, no greenhouse gas emissions. Word of the day: equanimity - what we try to have.

Media Files:

Energy Conservation

Fri, 16 Jun 2006 09:42:02 -0500

Day 47. The icescape is softening with each day over 32F. The sharp edges of ice and snowdrifts are now rounded. A curved blanket of white has folded into the abrupt corners of each drift. On the down side, our ski tips are starting to submarine periodically under the snow, creating additional effort for our legs as we have to stop, put the leg in reverse, then lift the ski back up to the surface. We are all about conservation of energy more so now than ever. With two difficult days in a row anything we can do to be more efficient in our forward progress is immediately implemented. For example, we are still having a serious problem with the snow sticking the bottoms of our ski skins. Solution #1: The lead man snowshoes (instead of skiing), breaking trail as the second person, now with a groomed track, skis with considerably less effort. Solution #2: We are trying an experiment on a pair of skis by reducing the width and length of skins to make them glide better with less sticking. Of course, we only have so much to work with. We are taking fewer and fewer detours, too. A section of brash ice is now a bridge, wide gaps are spanned with skis or jumped on snowshoes, ice chunks become ferries. One might argue that we are taking more risks; however, it is simply that we better understand the consequence of each movement. We participated (via satellite phone) in a press conference the other day to help promote an off shore wind farm near Long Island. It was an honor to be able to talk about our experiences and how reducing our dependency on oil will help stop global warming and save the polar bear. Groups like Renewable Energy Long Island (RELI) and Long Island Power Authority (LIPA) are taking positive steps to meet our energy needs and protect our environment. The sun was out for nearly two-thirds of the day - more than enough to recharge our depleted vitamin D stores. When you are deprived of so many things a little goes a long way. It was nice to see the route ahead, clouds above and the terrain beneath our skis and snowshoes. Today was important for another reason. We figured out what our super powers would be should we ever leave polar exploration to fight crime. Eric would use the Larsen Long Line - unhooking the two pull ropes and reattaching just one end. Lonnie has now perfected the Lonnie Lever - a method of pulling a sled-canoe up a ledge by leaning back and using his the momentum of his body falling back to leverage the weight. We're not exactly sure how these skills will translate into actually being able to catch crooks, but we've got some time for that. Finally, it's not too late to help get the polar bear listed as a threatened species. Be sure to Take Action today! Today's picture: The ice chunk that Lonnie used to cross this lead toppled over and fell apart in pieces too small to stand. Luckily, there was a small ice chunk nearby to use as a ferry. Eric is holding a rope while Lonnie pulls him over. Word of the day - neologism - a new word (look it up and you'll know what we mean).

Media Files:

Not Easy

Thu, 15 Jun 2006 08:24:01 -0500

Day 46. We'll give you the most important information first, then, as Paul Harvey would say, the rest of the story. On June 16th the public comment period on getting the polar bear listed as a threatened species ends. There is still time for you to help save the polar bear. Take Action: Page 2. In a related news story, we saw a set of polar bear tracks ambling off to the west. They were older tracks judging by how drifted they were; however, with all this open water around us one must be near. We have placed our camp on orange alert as a result of the sighting. In other wildlife happenings, a pair of ivory gulls circled our camp a few times last night. They are beautiful birds, completely white (go figure) with black beaks. Last night, we drifted two miles south (and of course a bit east) - an inauspicous start to a day that, now finished, ranks as one of the most physically and mentally difficult of our expedition to date. It was an Arctic cornucopia of the worst possible travel conditions. The day started nice enough, the wind had shifted, cooling things a bit and firming up the snow. But like so many of the other 'good' conditions we experienced, it didn't last. The light soon went flat and we were once again stumbling blindly forward. It started to snow too, and hard. We wondered if another blizzard was on its way, but it just kept falling at the same steady rate all day. The new snow stuck thickly to the bottom of our skis, made them heavy with no glide. Stopping to scrape the snow and ice off only helped for a few minutes. We switched to snowshoes. When we put on our MSR snowshoes, it's like putting a truck into four-wheel drive. We are able to pull the sled-canoes up and around ice that would be impossible with skis. On the down side, our travel slows and we expend extra energy lifting (instead of sliding with skis) each step. Still, without snowshoes, we would still be on the ice post-holing our way to madness or worse. The only really good part of today was that we were able to laugh about it once it was over. For over six hours, we snowshoed. The sled-canoes seemed like a pallet of bricks and stopped dead at even the slightest pause in forward momentum. The ice was worse - small pans, pressured together in random ways, lots of open water leads filled with compressed snow and some brash ice. We had to veer so much east and west that at times, we thought we might be going in circles. It's hard to convey the feelings we have during a day like today. Several times we were near temper tantrum level when a sled-canoe got stuck or a piece of ice disintegrated underneath us. There's intense fear when facing a tenuous brash ice crossing or relief like when three car-sized chunks of ice heeled over just after (not while) we had hopped across them. Frustration and despair as we scout the route and see more bad ice. Physical exhaustion as we try to pace our efforts. Hunger. Desire to stop and quit. Drive to keep moving forward. When we finally reached a big flat piece of ice with 15 minutes left in the travel day, we didn't know whether to laugh or cry. It is equally hard to describe our emotions now that today is nearly complete. Before today we had hoped for good ice to the Pole, now we expect bad. Today's picture: Lonnie shows the 3 inches of snow sticking to the bottom of his Asnes skis (Thanks Gary at Neptun[...]

Media Files:

Chess and Chocolate

Wed, 14 Jun 2006 09:12:01 -0500

Day 45. We took a full day's rest instead of our normal half day due to the tough slogging we had between 87 and 88 degrees north. It gave the Norwegian and French (you have to guess) contingencies of the team time to re-energize sore muscles and heal any strains. The older and more distinguished of the two 'has-beens' has been experiencing serious back pain from a strain during the first week and a half of the expedition. We've have been trying to stay on top of the problem with anti-inflammatory drugs, stretching, tweaking the pull harness and adjusting weight in the canoe-sleds. We want to thank Dr. John Wood for helping us put the expedition's medical kit together, along with advice for handling this situation. Also would like to extend our appreciation to Kathy Horak for showing some relevant yoga stretches for lower back. Last but not least, thanks to Kim and Shem for whipping up some fabulous dehydrated salsa that helps us choke down our dried egg/potato/bean breakfasts. We also received an important polar bear update from Melanie at Greenpeace that the U.S. Senate has passed legislation to enforce the Polar Bear Treaty that Russia and the United States reached almost six years ago. The bill now moves to the House. On a related note, you still have until the end of this week to tell the federal government to list the polar bear under the Endangered Species Act. Be sure you take action if you haven't already. Thanks! Most of the morning was spent transcribing the snow depth and density and ice thickness data we've collected over the past month. This in turn will be sent to Kert Davies at Greenpeace who will further transcribe the information, whereupon it will reach its penultimate destination, Walt Meier at the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC). The data will be presented by Dr. Meier and Dr. Ted Scambos in August. Hopefully, this information will prove critical to understanding the current state of Arctic sea ice. We would also like to thank Jennifer Bohlander and Ted Scambos at NSIDC who have been graciously monitoring and processing MODIS satellite photo data on the rare occasion that clear skies have been available. There was some talk of a brief snowshoe outing in the afternoon, but it never materialized. Instead, we splurged and ate an extra candy bar with lunch. Our intentions were noble, we swear! We also decided to do our own science project. This morning our ski poles had melted into the snow and fallen over. We wanted to know how different objects affected the melting of ice, so we placed a snowshoe, some orange rope and a bungee out on the snow. After three hours, they had already melted down an inch. This experiment is a good example of how more water can accelerate the melting of the Arctic ice pack. The only other big event of the day was the much-touted chess match. A huge crowd of drying socks and gear gathered in giddy anticipation. In the end, the grudge match was won by Eric, so we played another game which Lonnie won. So we're back to hyping another big game. A note about today's picture: Eric is weighing snow to determine its density. Word of the day: efficacious - hopefully our efforts to get to the North Pole.

Media Files:

It's all at 88

Tue, 13 Jun 2006 09:02:02 -0500

Day 44. Hey folks, Lonnie and Eric here. Are you looking for pressure ridges? How about a total whiteout? Fog? Maybe you're the type that likes soft sticky snow. No? You're interested in semi-frozen brash ice, then. It doesn't matter what your particular Arctic tastes may be, because at the corner of 88 degrees north and 71 and a half west, you can have it all. That's right folks, come on up to Lonnie and Eric's ice extravaganza where we will thrill you, chill you and, well, that's about it we guess. We made it to 88 degrees north, but just barely. Today, the temperature at snow level was exactly the same at 6 feet (it's usually several degrees cooler). The thermometer read a balmy snow-melting, mush-making, ski-slowing, sled-sticking 33 degrees. On a positive note, the snow is now 'packing' snow, and since we're camped close to several leads, we thought we might need an extra polar bear look-out (see picture). Well, there must have been some magic in an extra hat we found stored in a Granite Gear stuff sack 'cause when we placed it on his head know the rest. Another interesting part of our day found us skiing in a wet fog whiteout. We were paralleling a large lead when the wind pushed all the fog our way. We could not see a thing and just stumbled forward. So ridiculous are conditions like these when they arise, that the only thing we can do is laugh. We are ecstatic to be at 88. The past 60 miles have completely worn us out and we plan on taking a full rest day tomorrow as long as we don't drift too far backward or east. That also makes us smile as we have big plans. Plus, the chess grudge match awaits. We also wanted to introduce our renewable energy partner. In May 1998, the Long Island Power Authority (LIPA) became Long Island's primary electric service provider. LIPA's Clean Energy Initiative is one of the most ambitious programs of its kind in the nation. The Initiative is a 10-year, $355-million commitment to promote clean new electric generation technologies. Operating as a non-profit entity, LIPA has continued to serve the Island's growing population with a consistent commitment to cost-containment, efficiency and service reliability. With the demand for electricity growing at a record-breaking pace, priorities at LIPA continue to focus on the customer -- upgrading and enhancing the electric system, advancing energy efficiency, and developing and expanding alternative energy. You can learn more about LIPA in the sponsor page of Our sponsor of the week is Granite Gear who makes all our stuff sacks, compression sacks, gaiters and harnesses. You can learn more about Granite Gear in the sponsor page of Word of the day: stodgy - an extra special noodle dinner leaving us... Stodgy? At least according to the Oxford mini dictionary.

Media Files:

Still Pressured Ice?

Mon, 12 Jun 2006 09:58:01 -0500

Day 43. One of the subjects of conversations during our sit down breaks (we take two during the day) is, obviously, ice. Ice we've seen, ice we can see and the ice that might be just up ahead. We are surprised by the amount of pressured ice this far north. We had assumed that by 87 degrees north, the conditions would flatten out and the pressure and small broken slab ice would diminish. Instead, we are seeing worse and worse conditions. We theorized today that global warming was the cause. Thinner ice, more storms, more pressure. We also wondered about the future of polar exploration. Unsettling. We spend most of our waking hours moving forward on the ice. We figure the only ones spending more time on the ice than us are polar bears. They'll perch themselves at a seal's breathing hole for hours, even days, waiting for the seal to come up for air so that they can pounce. If we sit for more than 15 minutes, we are chilled to the bone, whereas the polar bear can sit for hours, not making a move, lying in wait. They are so perfectly adapted to this environment. We are seeing more and more algae growing in the cracks and just under thin ice that is around 2 feet thick. This algae is a critical component of an Arctic food chain that supports small shrimp and tiny codfish. We skied in just our long underwear tops today. It was warm again and the southerly breeze is really eating up the snow. It's just plain wet and sticky. To make matters worse, the soft snow balled up under our skis, taking away what little glide we sometimes have. We're getting a good tricep workout, however, as our ski poles stick firmly in the snow and we have to yank them out after each step. In 6 miles we will be at 88 degrees north, only 120 miles from the Pole. Though we are within striking distance, we must not slacken in our drive to get there as the snow may soon not be able to support our weight on skis and find us post-hole, up to our waists, slowing us to a snailier rate than our normal snail's pace. The end of the day stretched a bit long as five minutes before 'quittin' time' we got mixed up in a small pan-brash ice combo that had us back in snowshoes and long lining every which way. Then a tent pole broke today, most likely during a sled roll-over in the pack ice. That small repair to the Hilleberg Hotel took an additional half hour. It started raining so we crawled quickly inside, out of the weather, and mentally away from the ice. On a lighter note, we've got a new favorite noodle dish, creamy tomato. We've also managed to discuss what life might be like when it's lived somewhere besides a tent. Today's picture: We are beginning to see more areas of slushy snow and leads that are widening into small pools. Word of the day: brinkmanship - hopefully, we are not pursuing our course to the point of disaster.

Media Files:

Soft Snow Slow Go

Sun, 11 Jun 2006 08:36:02 -0500

Day 42. There have only been a few days when we've ended the travel day early - not by much, just five or ten minutes. Yesterday was one of them. Looking a few hundred yards ahead we saw a flat pan, but first big pressure. Rather than risk making a sore back worse, we set up camp. But you already know this. Still, that one simple decision may have saved us from serious injury or worse. A quick morning scout revealed the ice pretty much as we had left it - a big pressure ridge (40' wide), then some manageable mess and finally, what seemed like flat ice again just a few hundred yards away. For the next hour and a half we struggled with all our will and might to cover those few hundred yards. The pressure ridge was fairly straightforward but required our combined effort to heave the sled-canoes up and over chunks of ice almost big as cars. A five-minute ski later revealed what we couldn't see from the morning's scout: an area of semi-frozen brash ice - the worst by far. Some chunks were large enough to stand on; others were around 2 feet in diameter. All were pushed haphazardly together. We pulled out every last trick we knew and improvised a few new ones just to get through that small section. Hopping from ice chunk to ice chunk, pushing our sled-canoes in the water and long lining (using the two pull lines as one long rope) them through watery sections, dropping the sled-canoes down off ledges and trying each time to pull them back up to a more stable position. It's both scary and exhilarating to make it through something like that. Traversing that route last evening would have been a nightmare. As it is, we're pushing our physical limits to actually move those heavy loads. Exhausted with no place to camp would have put our lives at serious risk. We spent the last four hours of the day traveling through whiteout conditions, tripping on snowbanks and stumbling down slopes. During days like today it's easy to think the Arctic Ocean is a barren place but really, there is a complex ice ecosystem being supported by the ice that includes distinctive Arctic species such as seals, whales (including the narwhal!), walrus and polar bears. Even at its most inhospitable, this place surprises us. Today, a lone gull flew in between us then off to the east. Where had it been and where was it going? We'll never know. It didn't seem to be in a hurry so maybe it was enjoying the Arctic just like us. The warming weather is becoming a bit unnerving as well. At freezing point anything that touches snow gets wet. Our gloves were soaked by the end of the day. A south wind made the snow really soft to boot. Our skis and sled-canoes seemed to have considerably less glide. Today was also particularly fun as we got to do something we like to call swimming in a 14,000 foot deep ocean. When we encounter a lead with ice too thick to paddle, yet too thin to ski across, one of us will put on a dry suit, get in the water and use his body to break the ice. Once on the other side he will pull the catamaraned sled-canoes across. Fun fun! Word of the day: delicatessen - you know why.

Media Files:

Snow and Ice

Sat, 10 Jun 2006 09:20:01 -0500

Day 41. They say the Inuit have 200 words to describe snow and ice. The English language isn't quite as colorful, but after five weeks on the Arctic Ocean we can probably find enough adjectives and related nouns to come close. To date we've seen pressured ice, pressure ridges, brash ice, rubble ice, skim ice, grease ice, frazil ice, honeycombed ice, rotten ice, ice flowers, good ice, bad ice, ice chunks, chips and shards, ice pans, ice platelets, pancake ice, slab ice, sugar snow, drifted snow, deep snow (are we there yet?), sastrugi, snow banks, wet snow, dry snow, snow that is good for cutting into blocks, leads, cracks... We had a good day and managed to get the longest stretch of flat ice (did we mention that in the list?) we've had since leaving Ellesmere Island. It lasted for 8 of the 9.5 hours we traveled. The new snow (rain last night) slowed us down as did some drifted areas but we still eked out 10 miles. We had some 'puzzle navigation' to contend with at the end of the day and are now camped on a very small pan surrounded by cracks and slabbed pressure. It's a good thing that the moon isn't full or we aren't far enough north for the trans polar drift to push us haphazardly (wait a minute, both of those are true). Unfortunately we have rough ice to contend with tomorrow morning for an uncertain distance. In the meantime, pasta alfredo will soothe our nerves. And just so you know how amazing polar bears are, here's some interesting facts: Polar bears are supremely adapted to their Arctic environment, a place where ambient temperatures can plummet below -50 degrees Fahrenheit. They have two layers of fur on top of a layer of blubber that can measure 4 ½ inches thick. Polar bears are so well insulated against the cold that they have more problems from overheating when they exert themselves, such as when they run. Check out the rest of for more 'cool' polar bear facts. You can join us December 5 & 6, 2006 at Pacuare Jungle Lodge in Costa Rica for a presentation about our experiences, teamwork, polar bears and global warming. The place sounds amazing. The lodge grounds are completely surrounded by tropical rainforest. Enormous trees and rainforest inhabitants live in natural harmony alongside the lodge itself. The Pacuare Lodge was designed and constructed to blend with the surrounding environment, effecting minimal impact, and has been recognized by the World Tourism Organization as 1 of only 65 examples throughout the world of good practice in sustainability and ecotourism. You can visit and click on the costa rica button. Kieran at Greenpeace HQ has mentioned to us that other Greenpeace offices are picking up on our expedition. That's great and is due in large part to the efforts of Mark Warford, Melanie Duchin, Kert Davies and Kieran, just to name a few. Thanks guys. You're awesome! Today's picture. Lonnie using his skis to span a small lead. Word of the day: viva - long live the Arctic, long live the polar bear.

Media Files:

Six Again and Sun

Fri, 09 Jun 2006 08:52:02 -0500

Day 40. We woke up to a sunny and warm morning, 32 degrees when we hit the trail. As far as we're concerned, that's almost too warm for traveling as we overheat and sweat easily. It was so warm, in fact, that we could thought we could smell summer. The sunlight has been so intense the past few days that we have been sleeping halfway out of our Integral Designs sleeping bags. The sun is an amazing force, and it is, unfortunately, easy to see how global warming is affecting sea ice. The ice itself actually reflects energy back into space. However, water absorbs heat very effectively. That means the more water, the more heat is absorbed, melting more ice, creating more water, and so on. Scientists call this a positive feedback loop. We can see this happen in other ways too. A ski or snowshoe left on the ice overnight will leave its melted imprint in the morning. It is unfortunate that we continue to search for oil and gas (the main cause of global warming) when we have clean energies like solar and wind already available. Our energy security lies in renewable forms of energy such as solar and wind. They are there for the taking and exist in unlimited supply. It's just a matter of political will. By mid afternoon, the sun was so intense that we had to give our faces an additional layer of Dermatone's special zinc oxide. At least the bright day allowed us to navigate relatively easily, which was of considerable benefit as day 40 stretched long and arduous. We bit the figurative bullet this morning to try to get through the pressured nastiness that we had spent most of yesterday afternoon in. Instead of veering northwest, we headed straight north into the ugliest of the ice. There was more pressured ice, more traveling from small ice pan to the next (we call this puzzle navigation), more leads, pretty much more of all the conditions that make traveling difficult. We were snowshoeing for nearly three hours. In the end our gamble paid off (at least for now) and we are camped on the south end of a very nice looking piece of ice. Hopefully, we'll be able to make more than six miles tomorrow. We are trying to be extra careful as we are traveling outside the range of any support or rescue. Planes from Canada can only fly to 87 degrees N and Russian helicopters can only fly as far south as 88 degrees north. We've got our fingers crossed for extra good luck during the next 35 nautical miles. A note about today's picture. For most of the really difficult sections of pressured ice, we work together to move the sled-canoes up and over. However, sometimes the second person is left to their own devices. This allows the lead skier more time to evaluate ice, choose a route and break trail. The second skier usually catches up in 10 minutes or so. Here Eric's sled-canoe has slipped off an ice bridge into the ocean and he is trying to get it over a 3-foot embankment. Word of the day: replete - how we feel after a big noodle dinner.

Media Files:

Ice Puzzle

Thu, 08 Jun 2006 09:04:01 -0500

Day 39. At the end of today, we felt like a couple of hungry, over-worked sled dogs (just trust us on that one). The day brought lots of cracks, pressure, brash ice, leads and broken ice - a smorgasbord of Arctic hardship. We should have known this was coming. However, as eternal optimists, we keep thinking each day is the day that the conditions will improve dramatically. Today our expedition adage was never more true: "Where there's good ice, bad will surely follow." Sometimes when we wake up in the morning and take our first compass bearing, we find that our ice pan has rotated overnight. It's a bit disconcerting to leave camp in a different direction. Today we joked that we had indeed been traveling the wrong direction and made our way south to poorer ice conditions. We spent a couple hours snaking through small broken pans of ice. They looked like giant white puzzle pieces separated by inky black water and icy mush. We struggled with heavier loads for 9 hours and made only 6 miles. It goes without saying that we are once again, very tired. When is our next rest day, we wonder? We eat all our rations each day now and are just beginning to feel a bit more hungry. The topic of food has started to enter our casual conversations. We think about fresh salads, cookouts with grilled chicken and a meal at a nice brew pub sitting at, of all things, a table. Don't get us wrong, we still have lots of love for Clif bars. We also wanted to thank all the kind people at the Rolex Awards for Enterprise who have been an important part of our journey. We also thought we'd expand our poetical horizons a bit and delve into the exciting world of haiku. Attempt number 1: All is snow and ice When it's overcast, we can't see Each night noodle night. Of course, one last limerick to round out the day. This is an ode to our favorite dinner, the noodle. Some are straight and others curly like the hair of a poodle. Spaghetti, elbow and egg, We eat them to the last dreg. If we were Picasso, we'd include them in our best doodle. A note about today's picture: the chunk of ice Lonnie was standing on just before this picture was taken disintegrated beneath his skis. He jumped off at the last second. Word of the day: laconic - there isn't much talking during the day, as our conversations have evolved into simple statements about ice and navigation. (we randomly open the dictionary each day and pick a word that relates)

Media Files:

On the Road Again

Wed, 07 Jun 2006 09:22:02 -0500

Day 37. We have finally left 'camp depot'. It was a comfortable piece of ice, but it was time to move on. For one thing, our camp was beginning to smell a lot like 'people' and even though we are about 300 miles from land, we are still concerned about curious polar bears. It's easy to think of polar bears as being similar to other species of bears, but they're not. Sure, they're bears, but polar bears are classified as marine mammals because they have become so well adapted to this environment of ice and water and the amount of time they spend in the water traveling between ice floes. However, they are not adapted to swim long distances, which is why polar bears are drowning with alarming frequency off the north coast of Alaska. Polar bear drownings used to be a really rare event, but now, scientists are noting record numbers of drownings, and they chalk it up to the lack of sea ice and to global warming. If we were to have seen a polar bear today (which we didn't) it most likely would have been in the water. We catamaraned the sled-canoes five times over leads ranging in size from 15 feet to 100 yards wide. The bigger ones acquired names like Mississippi, Amazon and Nile as they stretched out of view. It was really good to be traveling again. Despite our heavy-again loads, we feel strong. Luckily, the ice has cooperated a bit and was fairly flat. We did run into problems a few times where ice pans are drifting apart. Normally, when we are navigating through small pans, we look for areas of pressure and cross where the two pans have collided. Between those spots today were large gaps of water. A note about the picture - we keep track of our daily position by writing in marker on the tent wall. Word of the Day: troubadour - the Arctic versions.

Media Files:

Depot Day

Tue, 06 Jun 2006 07:12:01 -0500

Day 37. The rations in our depot gave us a smorgasbord of new flavors for our taste buds. Though the amount of food per day, per person (30 oz) is the same, we have changed the menu slightly. We have dried and aged Italian salami, aged parmesan cheese, dried Finnish rye bread, and chocolate with hazelnuts and raisins, just to name a few of the items. The actual acquiring of these items was quite a feat. A Twin Otter plane with equipped with extra fuel left Resolute Bay and flew to Eureka, a small science outpost on Ellesmere Island. There, they refueled and removed the side door to aid in dropping our supplies. Two hours later our food and fuel are being pushed out of the opening 150 meters from our tent, so close in fact that we can see a person in the opening. Our supplies tumble to the deck one or two seconds later and we whoop and holler with excitement. We want to extend our a gigantic 'thank you' to Kenn Borek Air for their professionalism, friendliness and thoroughness. They went above and beyond the call of duty to get our needed supplies to us. Thanks also to Daniel who was always there to give us updates and other relevant information. We have spent most of the day sorting through our newly acquired culinary riches. After these chores, sorting, dividing and packing canoe/sleds with our new provisions, we lounged in the tent resting for our push to the pole. We had been up much of the night talking with Kenn Borek's headquarters to relay current weather information. After naps, we used up some time playing a couple games of chess on a newly drawn-up board. Outcome of the tournament: Larsen one, Dupre one. Grudge match coming soon. We have now been parked on this comfortable piece of ice (drifting north) for three days and, amazingly enough, we are looking forward to the hard work and challenges ahead. We have also been using this time to talk to press about our experiences to date, and more importantly, how global warming is affecting the Arctic, polar bears, and ultimately the world. If you haven't had a chance to visit, you should check it out. Once there you can learn more about what expedition manager John Huston has been up to. Also there you'll find links to our equipment sponsors and companies like Granite Gear, Clif, Jytte and Timberland, all of whom have strong commitments to protecting our environment. Word of the day: philistine - we are two men, living in a small tent, eating meals while laying down; our etiquette and tact are slowly declining and someone forgot to pack the 'Miss Manners' book to refresh us.

Media Files:


Mon, 05 Jun 2006 08:28:01 -0500

Day 36. We are still camped at 87 and waiting to for our depot. Just for the record, we aren't enjoying our extra day of rest. At least that's the official line we're towing today. In lieu of more exciting news to report, we thought we'd give you more insight into our daily routines. Here's the play by play: 5:45-6:00 pm alarm goes off. Lonnie wakes up (remember we're traveling at night). 6:15 pm Lonnie dressed and packs sleeping bag, lights stove, begins to melt snow. 6:30 pm Eric up, packs sleeping bag, gets dressed 7:00 pm Hot drinks served by Lonnie 7:15 pm Breakfast served by Lonnie 7:25 pm Eric does dishes 7:30-40 pm Eric out of tent, puts on Granite Gear gaiters, unplugs solar panel, begins science work. Lonnie packs up stove, puts boots on, throws all gear out of tent. 7:45-8 pm Arrange gear in sled, take down tent, morning constitutional. 8-8:15 pm Begin day's travels north. We'll fill you in on our evening routines sometime in the near future. Kieran from Greenpeace asked us to deploy our banner (see picture) as a satellite was going to be taking our picture of our camp from outer space. Pretty amazing. We did manage to come up with a new limerick for today: Here we are in our Hilleberg tent. With one pole that is awkwardly bent. It happened last year tripping on some gear And now we're in a district of lower rent. Did you know that global warming's first victims are the polar bears? Already, Hudson Bay's polar bear population has declined by 15% and the remainder have have averaged a 15% weight loss. Polar bears are also drowning off the coast of Alaska as they try to reach land from the receding ice. Make sure to sign the polar bear petition today! Word of the day: decrepit - defined as made weak by age or use. Insert your favorite explorer's name here.

Media Files:

A Day at the Arctic Spa

Sun, 04 Jun 2006 08:50:02 -0500

Day 35. We seem to be camped near a wildlife oasis. Today, what appeared to be a lone snow goose flew directly over our camp. A snow goose! So, we've done a bit of quick math and figured that we have had feathered visitors at all but 86 degrees. Of course, we were in a raging blizzard at 86, so maybe there was a special avian visitor and we simply didn't see it. We crawled out of the tent and found a bright sunny day. Lucky for us as well, someone had decided to open an Arctic spa. We took full advantage and 'showered' and shaved. Once finished, we barely recognized each other, having both taken years off our thin faces. We also took short baths outside. A crisp north breeze kept the cleansing to a minimum, however. The rest of the day was spent making some small adjustments to our equipment in preparation for the additional supplies (and weight) and the push to the pole. We also took advantage of the bright light to make a video survey of ice chunks as well as some cool underwater shots of leads. All in all it was a pretty uneventful day, but we aren't complaining in the least. Word of the day: titivate - after cleaning up and reading a bit of the dictionary, this is hopefully what we are.

Media Files:

Houston We Have 87

Sat, 03 Jun 2006 08:12:02 -0500

Day 34. Houston we have 87, but actually we say Huston, for John Huston our expedition manager. Of course, they're pronounced the same, but for the sake of being accurate we thought we'd spell it out for you. Special 'props' go out to Huston for coordinating our resupply, managing the web site, writing and sending out enews (as well as Ann Possis - thanks Ann), answering emails, taking our phone calls at all hours and giving us encouragement. Thanks superstar! The weather has warmed enough (just above freezing) for us to be uncomfortably warm during the day's travels. Now, we usually take off our Wintergreen jackets after a 10-minute warm up, then it's just long one layer of long underwear. The warmer temperatures are beginning to make some of the deeper snowed-in areas fairly soft as well. We have still been encountering drifted and pressured areas which have slowed us down a bit. However, we have also come across some of the flattest pans we have seen so far. We are at the northern limit to where we can receive our resupply. Therefore, we traveled with the GPS within close reach for most of the afternoon to check our position. After traveling across a flat pan for nearly an hour we knew we were close. A quick check revealed just how close 86 59 09'. Unfortunately, we were on the southern side of a large lead. While we were getting the sled-canoes ready to catamaran and paddle across, a seal poked its head out of the water. A seal!? Swimming at most likely what was exactly 87 degrees north latitude. We watched in awe for a few minutes while it tilted its head back, slid underneath the surface and resurfaced nearby. What must it think of us? We can only offer our biased conjecture in the time it takes to paddle across the lead. Now, we are camped safely on the high side of 87. Tomorrow is officially a full rest day which we will use to our full advantage. However, we will also be stationed here until our new supplies arrive. When, you ask? We're not sure exactly. A lot depends on the weather. Luckily, we do have 6 days worth of rations remaining. Al Gore's movie, "An Inconvenient Truth," opens this weekend. It is getting rave reviews. This is from a review in The New York Times: "I can't think of another movie in which the display of a graph elicited gasps of horror, but when the red lines showing the increasing rates of carbon-dioxide emissions and the corresponding rise in temperatures come on screen, the effect is jolting and chilling." If you have a chance, please go see it. Word of the day: skulk - we're loitering steathily at 87.

Media Files:

sunny day

Fri, 02 Jun 2006 07:06:01 -0500

Day 33. The solar radiation heats up our tent to nearly room temperature as we sleep. Sometimes it gets too hot and we have to lay outside our bags - a scary and smelly phenomenon. We paddled across three leads today and managed to do some filming of the process. We have taken about 7 hours of video so far with more to come. We are hoping to provide some visual documentation of global warming's assault on the Arctic Ocean and its iconic figure, the polar bear. Our metabolisms are running in overdrive now and we gobble up every last crumb of our daily rations. We have even gone so far as to count our evening crackers to make sure we both get equal share. On the downside, our stomachs are still adjusting to the additional calories. We thought of another limerick. Hopefully, this one rings a bit more lyrical in all the critics' ears out there. There once was a pair of long underwear, Whose stench was way beyond compare. On the verge of turning green, In an unpleasant dirty sheen. To the more refined, they smelled of a cheese so rare. A study in Nature today revealed that, 55 million years ago, the average temperature of the Arctic was 74 degrees F. These findings are proof that too much carbon dioxide - more than four times current levels - can cause global warming, said another co-author, Henk Brinkhuis of Utrecht University. A special thanks to Kieran Mulvaney, our point man at Greenpeace, for all his hard work. Also thanks for all the positive notes from other Greenpeace folks - you're with us in spirit. Word of the day: miasma - the source... Our long underwear

Media Files:

Half Way Birthday

Thu, 01 Jun 2006 08:10:02 -0500

Day 32. Raindrops keep falling on our heads. Raindrops keep falling on our heads and coating our glasses as well as the entire right side of our bodies with ice. Despite the inclement weather we made great northerly and westerly progress. The ice has once again shown us a new side and we are starting to encounter more large cracks with less brash ice in them. In fact, we had to catamaran the boats five times today. Paddling across one of the larger leads seemed a lot like being on a lake canoeing back home in Minnesota - except for all the snow and ice, of course. Part of our research for NSIDC is to measure the freeboard (height above waterline) of the ice at a lead during the day. The process is easy - we just use a ski pole that has a thin meter tape stuck to it. Hopefully, this information can be used to better determine how much the Arctic sea ice is thinning. As of Day 31, we are 244.2 statute (normal miles) or 212 nautical miles from Cape Discovery (our starting point), and we are 235.8 statute/204.6 nautical miles from the Pole. Pretty exciting if you ask us. News of the weird: Lonnie's boots have picked up the distinct odor of sour milk. We've done the smell comparison and only Lonnie's boots seem to produce this olfactory mystery. News of the aging: Eric celebrated his 35th birthday today. There are a few gray hairs (2-5 ONLY) now. No big celebration except for the notable exception of an extra, you guessed it, Clif bar. Word of the day: redolent - Lon's boots the reminiscence of good milk gone bad.

Media Files:


Wed, 31 May 2006 08:12:02 -0500

Day 31. The day started with sun but as usual was gone after the first hour of skiing. We had some nice flat pans during this same time. There were few serious obstacles today, with the exception that we had to catamaran the canoe-sleds twice to cross leads. The ice is becoming better with longer flat stretches giving reason for our record 13 miles. We had a lucky break last night drifting nearly an additional mile north, but east as well. Our hard work moving west has paid off a bit today. We apologize for not being able to provide you with more heart-stopping X games type action. While exciting at times, our Arctic journey plays out slow and arduous - hardly the stuff for adrenalin junkies. Rather, Arctic explorers are simply doggedly tenacious. The endless horizon leaves more than enough time for reflection. We are so insignificant here. Pardon us for waxing so poetic, but it just happens. However, now that our artistic side is out in the open, we thought we'd share this limerick with you. Up here lives an animal called the polar bear. Hiding behind an ice chunk, it would certainly you scare. But what of its fate? When the ice does abate, Will anybody still make an effort to care? We'll work on something better for tomorrow. Word of the day: gumption - it's what it takes to keep going every day.

Media Files:

It was the best of ice, it was the worst of ice

Tue, 30 May 2006 09:30:02 -0500

And then it was easy, the weight of the sled-canoes nearly vanished behind us, our legs swishing back and forth effortlessly, smooth unimaginably flat ice for a quarter mile. We stretched our arms out bird-like and pretended to fly. But this was the last 20 minutes of the day; there are nine other grueling hours in this story. "It was the best of ice; it was the worst of ice," the first line of 'A Tale of Two Pressure Ridges' would most likely read. Much of the day was spent slowly weaving in and around drifts. The sled-canoes continually yank us off balance as they careen down a slope or slip backwards anchor-like. High stepping to lift ski tips above drifts is an additional burden. There was also a lot of negotiating large slabs of ice with leads in-between. This process is similar to rock climbing in the sense that each path has a crux - stepping onto unstable brash ice as it sinks, heaving a sled-canoe up a steep embankment, balancing on wedged ice while trying to pull. The experience is as emotional as it is physical. Observe, plan, anticipate, action, relief. Then again a moment later. Observe, plan, anticipate, action, relief. This time add crisis management because you are sinking into the ocean. Midday we ran into some decent conditions that allowed us to make a few miles - a total of 11.5 nautical miles, our best yet. But at what price? This was one of our hardest days to date. We feel completely fried in both body and mind. Our legs ache. We are still drifting east. The wind has abated considerably, but the ice continues to move. We seem to be fighting a losing battle with our endless north-northwesting. We are continuing to collect data on snow depth and density and ice free board for the NSIDC. Hopefully, this will add to their understanding of how the Arctic ice sheet is melting. NOAA has predicted an active hurricane season, and is anticipating 10 hurricanes in the North Atlantic this year, of which four to six may become "major" storms. Word of the day: camellia - something that isn't ice.

Media Files:

Ski Pole Comms

Mon, 29 May 2006 09:08:01 -0500

Unzipping the vestibule this morning, we were greeted by a two-foot wall of snow that had covered the leeward side of the tent, sled-canoes, skis, snowshoes and anything else in the vicinity. The snowdrifts from yesterday's storm also disguised dangerous pockets of open water, thin ice, and slush. Several times, we both had to catch ourselves with our poles to avoid going headlong into the water. We also managed to fall into many of the innumerable cracks we crossed today as they were completely concealed by the new snow. A stiff southwest wind is pushing us to the east at a pretty good clip. We tried to counter the drift by traveling northwest today, but with limited success. While we slept last night the storm moved our camp nearly a full degree of longitude east. The wind and sun weathered our faces as we fought for 10 hours earning 9 hard-won nautical miles. We did run into some good ice today, but we didn't use our normal gesture. When the lead skier gets on a huge flat pan, it's usually ski poles in the air 'raise the roof' style. We have developed other language using our ski poles as well. Waving them back and forth means 'Hey, I'm trying to tell you something.' They are also directionals, like 'This route is horrendous, go more to the left.' Obviously, our Swix ski poles have other purposes. They help us keep balance, catch us on a slip, test the thickness of ice, push the sled-canoes and many others. Skiing or snowshoeing with these poles makes us as stable as a tripod. They rarely leave our hands during the day. Word of the day: haute couture. Looking good is important out here.

Media Files:

Blizzard at 86

Sun, 28 May 2006 04:50:01 -0500

The day seemed to start off nicely with a bit of sun and high wispy clouds. But like the ice conditions, we know that good weather will be followed by bad - or in our case constant overcast. Today turned into the rawest of raw bone devils (see May 18th entry) that we have had to date. Our morning progressed fairly easily as we made an 'S' around a large lead and pressure. The wind continued much as it had yesterday, blowing in from the southwest. About a half hour before our first sit down break the wind began to pick up. We huddled behind a chunk of ice to protect us from the biting wind and spindrift as we snacked on, you guessed it, Clif bars. It was a cold break. However, when we hit the trail again 10 minutes later it was really snowing hard, the wind had increased and visibility decreased. We pressed on. We haven't reported on it much, but we are drifting quite a bit. Most mornings when we check the GPS, our position is slightly off from the previous night. Usually, we drift south (up to a half mile) and east. Last night, we drifted a couple hundred meters north, but also considerably east as well. This is bad because being too far east near the pole means having to fight the normal movement of ice toward the Greenland Sea. So, we've been traveling north-northwest. The conditions deteriorated so much over the next hour and a half that we felt it necessary to cut our day short. Visibility was down to nearly zero and the snow was blowing hard. It was possible to keep moving, to what we thought might be forward, but at what cost? We hurriedly set up camp and tried to keep the snow at bay while we unloaded our tent gear into the Hilleberg Hotel. As you can see, the leeward end of the tent was soon plastered with snow. So, here we sit, in relative comfort while a storm rages outside. But as we wait, we also know that this strong wind is pushing the ice east. Our fate, for now, is largely out of our control. Amazingly, we made it to the 86th parallel. We looked for our usual snow bunting scout but it must have taken an early hiatus due to the weather. Check out to see what our amazing expedition manager, John Huston, is up to. We know he's been busy coordinating our resupply. Word of the day: zephyr - the breeze blowing today... NOT

Media Files:

Keep North

Sat, 27 May 2006 08:10:01 -0500

Right away we labeled the day's travels as a dirty slog. The rest of the day seemed to live up to its moniker. Traversing pressure ridges and leads most of the day in low contrast conditions was laborious at best. It is a bit awkward not knowing a snowdrift is ahead until you are tripping over the incline. We pushed on as best we could for 10 long hours, our longest travel day thus far. In other unrelated news, the arctic fox seemed to be paired up and wandering near. It was the second set of dual fox tracks we have seen. We are now traveling almost directly east of the magnetic north pole and have set an 85 degree west declination to our compass. It seems weird to have the red north needle on our compass point to the west. Equally troubling is the amount of time it takes for the needle to settle. It fluctates back and forth for quite a while until we can shoot an accurate bearing toward true north and the top of the world. It will be Saturday night when most of you read this. Please have a fun and safe Memorial weekend for us. If we were home in Grand Marais, Minn., what would we do? Perhaps an Uffda-za at Sven and Ole's Pizza, then casually mosey over to the Gunflint Tavern for live music and a pint. But alas, the only way for us is to keep north. The World Conservation Union (IUCN) has moved the polar bear to its Red List of Threatened Species, classifying the species as "vulnerable" to extinction. Have you added your name to help get the polar bear listed as a threatened species? Thank you very much if you already have. Word of the day: gammon - a nice big piece please!

Media Files:


Fri, 26 May 2006 09:26:01 -0500

When things are going good - we mean really good - do you ever stop and think if something bad might happen in the near future? Today, with our spirits up and the miles ticking effortlessly by, we made a classic blunder and forgot our standard assessment of ice conditons. Where there's good ice, bad ice is sure to follow. It was heartbreaking to run into bigger leads, rubble and slabbed ice after such a carefree morning. Physically, it is infinitely more difficult to maneuver the sled-canoes through pressured ice. The positive, however, is that time seems to fly by as we wiggle back and forth, all the while straining in our harnesses. We are also seeing a different type of ice with leads that have long cracks that are fairly defined. One lead, we followed west (it was too frozen to paddle through - a one poker) until we found a spot where it narrowed to four feet and leapt across. Another lead, we catamaraned the sled-canoes and chiseled/paddled our way across. Still another, we hopscotched across slippery ice chunks semi-frozen into brash ice. After all that it was time to switch lead skiers. It's funny that time can go so slow or so fast. We rely on our watches diligently, but time seems so arbitrary here. We have been out here for 26 days now - a lifetime and a split second. Nearly four years ago, we began planning this adventure, or was it yesterday? Ice and snow, tent time, non-tent time, it all blends into just time, plain and simple. Maybe we need to review our physics. "It's all relative," Einstein says. We will have a new sponsor of the week on Monday. Who you ask? We'll give a hint: We have developed sign language with them. Word of the day: stink - after 26 days with no shower, we smell bad.

Media Files:

A Seal?

Thu, 25 May 2006 09:42:01 -0500

We traveled for 9 hours and 45 minutes through the usual ice and snow. We had some larger flat pans, but also some pressure and drifted areas. Whenever there's good ice, we now know, bad is sure to follow. Still, we got lucky a few times and skied toward the perfect spot to cross several pressure ridges - not exactly flat, but manageable. About mid-day, we spotted a dark shaped object on the ice ahead. It was a large seal sleeping next to a small lead. We tried to sneak up but it saw the the red suits coming, rolled over and dove under the ice and away. The weather? Still overcast. We forgot what the sun even looks like or if it exists. We wanted to give a belated Happy Mother's Day to our moms: Judy Larsen and Kate Cartier. We're not sure if this is what they had intended for us when they brought us into the world, but we're trying to make you proud. The House of Representatives will be voting soon (Thursday, May 24 or Friday, May 25) on a bill that would open up the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil drilling. This is not the path to stopping global warming and saving the polar bears. CALL 202-224-3121 and tell your Representative to vote NO on this key issue. Word of the day: onerous - our journey to date.

Media Files:

Rest Day

Wed, 24 May 2006 08:42:01 -0500

Last night our bodies were aching and tired. After 23 days on the trail without a full day rest, we decided to move our day off to today. Another day of travel in our current state could easily result in an injury. A unanimous vote confirmed the decision (2-0). It's hard to describe the excitement we felt at the possibility of spending an ENTIRE day in our small tent. Hotel-like as it may seem, it is still roughly the same floor space as a sheet of plywood, but to us today, it is an infinite oasis of of non-arcticness. In this tent, lounging around for the first time in 23 days, it seems like we could be anywhere. If we opened the door, would we be surrounded by the trees, lakes and granite cliffs of our home in northern Minnesota? It seemed that possible. Reading, working on sewing projects, taking naps, eating our Clif bars and salami at random times have reinvigorated our bodies as well as our spirits. The nearly 12 hours of sleep last night has helped as well. Too soon, we will be clipping into our skis and heading north across this inhospitable (at least to us) terrain. But for now, we have a few more hours to relax, refuel our dwindled energy stores and dream of home and all that awaits upon our return. Word of the day: conundrum - we're puzzled by the lack of sun, ice pans and whatever craziness might befall us in the next few weeks.

Media Files:


Tue, 23 May 2006 09:04:02 -0500

Often when travel becomes really difficult and a clear route through the pressured ice is difficult to find, we unhook from our sled-canoes and climb a nearby chunk of ice. Five or six feet of elevation later, a fairly navigable route usually appears. Perspective. Yesterday, we were on some of the largest flattest pans we have seen, today some of the smallest. They were pushed into, rafted on top of, or bent against one another creating yet another jumbled mess. We liken our pace in these conditions to a race between a snail and a tortoise. Still, we made 8 nautical miles - a distance neither of us guessed. Taken day by day our mileages seem insignificant compared to the nearly 1,000 total we have to travel. So we rein in our minds to today, this step, this hour. Perspective is a funny thing out here: An ice chunk looks huge from afar, distance can be hard to judge, our route, it's all relative to one thing or other. The key for us is to know when to live in the moment and when to take a step back. We saw a lone trail of fox tracks trotting off to our east... wonder where his big buddy is? Though we have not seen a bear yet, we know they're not far away. There are 23,000 polar bears in the Arctic, a relatively small number considering the vastness of their domain. But as early as 2050 most of them will be gone from lack of sea ice if we do not stop global warming now. Please click on the "What You Can Do" section to help protect the polar bear and get them listed as an officially threatened species. Learn what you can do to stop global warming. Word of the day: pellucid - the sky has not been this for a very, very long time.

Media Files:

Bon Appetit

Mon, 22 May 2006 09:16:01 -0500

Our days are governed by three basic principles: ice, tent time, and food. We've talked about the first two nearly every day. However, we feel it's now time to give our expedition victuals their time in the lime (no pun intended) light. To further understand the role of food in our lives, you must add the function of time to the equation. You see, what we eat is directly related to when we eat it. Or is it the other way around? Regardless, each tasty morsel that passes through our lips does so on a fairly specific schedule. 7 am (actually 7 pm since we're traveling at night). Breakfast - oatmeal or rice pudding, washed down with coffee or energy drink. 7:45 - after-breakfast snack: a Clif brand MoJo Bar (Eric) 9:30 - Clif bar (Lonnie) and energy drink at first switch of lead skiers. 11-11:10 - Our sit-down snack time. We throw on our big Wildthings brand Primaloft parkas and eat the following: Clif bar (MoJo preferred) each, peanuts, one piece candy each (Cream Savers are our favorite), energy drink. 12:40 - maybe a piece of candy, maybe energy drink. 2:10-2:20 Our second big coat-wearing sit-down break. Here we get our daily favorite. One stick salami each, Clif bar or a Clif brand Builder bar each and one piece candy each, washed down with a cool gulp or two of energy drink. 3:50 Three cubes each of Clif brand Shot Blocks - they're the energy-packed version of gummi bears. 6:30 - appetizer - we try to save our lunch crackers to eat in the tent. Energy drink. 7:30 dinner - noodles or rice or noodles or rice or more noodles. Once we get our resupply, we will also eat potatoes for dinner as well. 9:00 aperitif - one piece candy , Clif bar (Lonnie) 12 - midnight snack - Clif bar Goodbye for now... At least until we EAT again! Word of the day: surreal - much of the icescape that we travel across is bizarre in the sense that it seems like we are in a series of valleys and divides - hard to explain but very dream-like considering our circumstances.

Media Files:

Rainbows and '85'

Sun, 21 May 2006 09:10:01 -0500

The day began with clear blue skies this morning, but after two hours it was gone. We have not had a full sunny day in a week and a half. It was difficult to get out of the sleeping bag this morning as we were still tired from the previous hard day. It will be even harder after today since the kitchen ran out of coffee - at least for the one team member who drinks coffee (to remain unnamed). The only natural colors we see up here are white, blue and gray. So it was especially nice to be greeted by a huge full arching Rainbow. We could even see the pot of gold just beyond a distant pressure ridge. The ice was fairly broken up and we crossed countless pressure ridges and leads throughout the day. A snowbunting visited our camp, perhaps the same one who was patrolling '84' - a timely coincidence, since we have just crossed into 85 degrees north latitude. It is nice to know there is other life out here when we seem to be the only things breathing in this remote part of the globe. Honestly, it's hard to imagine anything being able to live and survive out here. The truly amazing fact, of course, is that polar bears do (and quite well, as long as there is sea ice). April 2006 has been the warmest April on record. The warming trends due to global warming could be disastrous to the fate of the polar bear if you don't act now. If you haven't already, make sure you take some time to help save polar bears. Help get the polar bear listed as a threatened species. Word of the day: incongruous - the rainbow (and sometimes us) seem out of place. PS. Thank you for taking the time to follow our journey. We appreciate your interest.

Media Files:

Mud and Ice Mayhem

Sat, 20 May 2006 09:28:02 -0500

We know that you have been running around on the stuff for quite some time, but for us the experience of seeing solid ground is not quite so commonplace in all this snow, ice and water. OK, so it wasn't exactly bona fide terra firma, but it was as close as we are going to get in the next two months. About an hour into our day, we discovered a small patch (12") of mud, just sitting there on the ice. The edges of our little dirt pile were somewhat dried up and very earthy-looking. We tried to pick up a piece but the whole works was frozen solid. We wondered out loud where this had come from. Siberia perhaps. Other theories include magic, a polar bear or, most plausible, Santa Claus must have dropped a piece here on his way north to help remind us of Minnesota. The rest of the day was a mix of back-breaking hauling through pressured ice and weaving in and around older drfted pressure. We whiled away the better part of an hour clawing our way through some smaller pans (100'-100 yards) that had rafted into each other. For another one-hour stretch, we skied through a cold misty haze toward one small blue block of ice on the horizon. From all that nothingness, we emerged into another area of severe pressure. The nature of the ice has been different these past few days. We are seeing smaller pans of thicker ice rafted into each other. Our hope is to be out of this soon Word of the day: zigzag - our route through the ice today.

Media Files:

Skiing in the Rain

Fri, 19 May 2006 08:18:01 -0500

We began our day with a nice rain that coated our glasses with a thin film of ice, making it even more troublesome finding definition in the no-contrast landscape. The cheery conditions had us singing, "skiing in the rain, we're skiing in the rain, what a not quite so glorious feeling..." Around midday we crossed a series of very thin leads (2 pokers) that nearly had us in the drink. The ice was so thin that a wave is formed on the ice just in front and behind our skis as we shuffle fast and wide-legged to distribute our weight. To stop mid-stream would mean a cold swim at best; at worst, well, we don't like think about it. Several years ago a Japanese polar explorer died on the Arctic Ocean because, having fallen through the ice, he couldn't get out. His body was found frozen in the ice some time later. Of course, he was also traveling alone; we have several well-tested rescue strategies for such circumstances. A few minutes after we swore we would never put ourselves in that kind of predicament again, we came upon another lead with a similar type of thin ice. We crossed without a second thought. All told we crossed four of these scary leads. You might think we would just paddle our boats across all these leads. While we have catamaraned the sled-canoes a few times, most of the leads have been either covered in ice too thick to paddle through and too thin to ski on, or the open water sections stretch in the wrong direction. For now, it is usually easier to find a way around. We made a monumental life-changing decision today: To listen to our mp3 players while we skied. Perhaps better men than us would just grit their teeth and bear it. But for us, staring at white nothingness has its limits and it appears to be about 18 days. Traveling with our own personal Arctic sound tracks today, the time flew by and in no time, it seemed, it was 'tent time'. Word of the day: convoluted - our route, the ice, everything about this expedition is stacked up in crazy ways.

Media Files:

Trail Jargon

Thu, 18 May 2006 09:04:02 -0500

We woke up this morning, ate breakfast, packed up our gear, strapped on our Granite Gear harnesses, clipped into our Asnes skis and made our way north. Along the way, we went over some pressured ice, skied on a few flat pans, had our feet get wet breaking through thin ice and veered north west for nine and a half hours. Today, while exciting and new with every step, was much like every other day for us. Therefore in lieu of today's blow by blow happenings, we thought we'd provide you with some of our daily lexicon. Think of the following as a vocabulary builder for the Arctic traveler. Snowshoes - a question or a statement used to explain (or ask) that the ice is now too rough to travel with skis and we need to stop, take off our skis and put on snowshoes. Skis - a question or a statement used to explain (or ask) that the ice is now smooth enough to travel with skis and we need to stop, take off our snowshoes and put on skis. Lead - a crack or gap in the ice, can be covered in thin ice, filled with chunks of ice, completely open water or any combination of all ice/snow presentations. Two Poker - ice in a lead that is too thin to cross so we have to ski around. It takes two pokes with a ski pole before the tip breaks through to water. Take a Peek - climb up on a pressure ridge to scout the route ahead; usually involves unhooking from your sled-canoe. This is also a good opportunity for the second person to sit on his boat and contemplate life's great questions (i.e.; rest). See you on the flip side - what the lead skier says to the second skier as he starts his 1.5 hour shift up front. Sometimes, we won't be close enough to talk for the entire time. Tent - the Hilleberg Hotel, usually referred to with great reverence. Also used in the phrase 'tent time.' For example, it's three hours until tent time (end of the day). What time is it? Even though we both travel with watches, usually the lead skier is the only one concerned about time. Therefore, the second skier usually asks: What time is it? North North West - the direction we keep traveling to avoid easterly drift. Raw Boned Devil - a description of the day's weather. A day labeled as such is most likely cold, windy, overcast with whiteout conditions. In other more important news, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service re-opened the public comment period on the polar bear Endangered Species Act listing; the agency is taking comments from now THROUGH JUNE 16. Click on the "What You Can Do" section at the top of this page to learn more about how you can help save the polar bear. Word of the day: Vagrant - even though the Hotel Hilleberg is quite homely, it is only a temp[...]

Media Files:

Vacation Day

Wed, 17 May 2006 08:40:01 -0500

Welcome to our fine establishment. Would you like a hot drink? Please, rest your travel-weary body. Don't bother trying to stand, the ceiling is only 40" above the floor. How about a warm bowl of noodles? No need to get up. Everything is within arm's reach at the Hilleberg Hotel. Today was exceptionally delightful in our five-star nylon abode as we were officially on vacation - at least for the morning. We revelled in our new-found freedom to stay in our sleeping bags until almost 10. Our vacation day was doubly luxurious as we only had to travel 4.5 hours in the afternoon. A cold mist froze on our glasses as we headed northwest. We are heading slightly to the west of north to get on the 77 degree meridian and to help compensate for the easterly drift. We also hope to by-pass, to the north, dark water clouds low on the horizon which indicate very large leads. You may be wondering why we keep talking about Cape Wind and other clean energy projects if the real reason for the expedition is to save the polar bear. Well, the only way to save the polar bear is to stop global warming. Most of the carbon emissions that create global warming come from electricity plants. If we reduce the amount of dirty power we use by choosing clean energy, we might be able to save the polar bear. Word of the day: deckchair - the one thing the Hotel Hilleberg does not have.

Media Files:


Tue, 16 May 2006 08:38:02 -0500

Which would you prefer: mind-numbing travel on a flat pan, the physical strain of powering over pressure ridges, or the emotional stress of negotiating fractured ice and leads? Having a hard time deciding? Don't worry, we'll give you all three. Don't get us wrong: Our journey is not all hardship and pain, but each day seems to bring a different problem that we have to work through. Our vote, by the way, would be for flat ice. Today started on an incredibly flat pan of ice. We whooped and hollered at our luck. The nautical miles cruised by effortlessly for almost three hours. We spotted two dark cigar-shaped clouds in the distance (these form above leads and generally mean lots of open water) and tried to veer in between them. At first we seemed to have missed most of the fractured jumbled mess we'd been expecting, but then we entered an area of slabbed pressured ice, then some flatter drifty areas, then several bigger leads and infinitum. Later in the afternoon we had a great stroke of luck as we just missed an area of huge thick slabbed pressure to the east. All we had to do was cross one small gap and we were out of the worst of it. It was truly incredible to ski along five-foot-thick ice blocks shaped in hundreds of different angles, the larger ones appearing blue. In some places ice piled up to almost 20 feet! There is a subtle beauty in much of the Arctic Ocean, but this ridge was just the opposite, still starkly simple, but awe-inspiring as well. Now we are in the tent celebrating the fact that tomorrow is a half day of rest and we get to sleep in. Bye for now; noodles beckon to be eaten. Word of the day: invigorated - what we hope to be after our half day rest.

Media Files:

the good, the bad and the great

Mon, 15 May 2006 08:08:01 -0500

The good: our day started out under clear blue skies. It was, hopefully, a positive omen. We set out skiing for over two hours through a heavily drifted area of old pressure. The bad: we crossed an area sometime during our late morning (roughly latitude 84:15, created by the end of the continental shelf) consisting of a series of lake-sized leads. One even rivaled Lake Superior. The going here was arduous at best and we were forced west to find any connecting pans. We did it all over rubble, big gaps, small cracks, ice walls and ice ledges. It was physically exhausting, spirit-draining work. The Great: Then, like a phoenix from the ashes, we emerged into a large expanse of relatively flat ice. For the first time, we could see quite far in every direction. We also noticed that we could no longer see Ellesmere Island! It was a record day for us in two areas: we traveled for 9 hours and we made 9 nautical miles Word of the day: bonanza - a sudden increase of wealth or luck - our newly acquired flat traveling conditions.

Media Files:

It's Worse

Sun, 14 May 2006 06:44:01 -0500

We were roused from a deep sleep sometime last night to find the skies had cleared and it was clear blue all the way to the horizon. We gave each other groggy high fives then snuggled back in our sleeping bags. Little did we know that the upcoming day's travels would yield the worst weather we've seen to date. Once out of the tent, we realized that, while clear, it was really cold with a stiff wind still driving from north. Regardless, it was nice to able to see the terrain for a change. That lasted for almost two hours. The sky darkened and an ominous fog rolled in. Soon, it was nearly a whiteout, but this time dampness permeated everything. We were chilled to the bone and skied along face down trying to hide as much exposed skin as possible behind our hoods. At one point, we even thought we could taste salt in the air. Eventually, we found the source of all this foulness: a huge wide open lead - and a million smaller leads. We got lucky and were able to skirt the biggest lead, but had to catamaran the boats to cross a second, then weave back and forth for almost two hours to get through all the fractured ice. At one point, we had to leap across a four foot gap. It was hard work, scary at times, and every other emotion as well. Finally out of that jumbled mess, we ended the day just as it started, in an old pressured area with lots of drifts and the sun shining. On a more serious note, we heard that a proposal to build the biggest offshore wind farm in the nation won approval from Texas state officials. That's great news to us, but also reminds us of other projects like Cape Wind that need to be approved. Word of the day - robot. We are machine-like contraptions covering our daily miles.

Media Files:

more white out

Sat, 13 May 2006 07:30:01 -0500

This has been our fourth day of white-out conditions. If we only had the sun. Our spirlts would improve as well as our ability to see where we are going. To make matters worse, a brisk north wind froze our faces. If you want to experience a bit of the Arctic Ocean wherever you are, here are a few suggestions to make your daily life more like the North Pole. First, find a blank sheet of white paper. Next, hold it in front of your face - about three inches. Now try walking, grocery shopping, whatever. It's like your own personal whiteout. Here's another fun one: Take 8 hours out of your day to stand under the fan in a commercial walk-in freezer of your choice. Seriously, Lonnie had a scary thing happen today. His ankle froze up. After several attempts to move it through stretching, he managed to get it working again. What a relief. Still we are managing to press on despite all this. Sincerely, two very tired boys. Word of the day: postponed (we weren't going to make this the word of the day, just mention that we were postponing it until tomorrow, but now it's our word of the day).

Media Files:


Fri, 12 May 2006 09:32:01 -0500

The terrain we traveled over today must surely be beautiful. If only we could have seen it. Completely overcast skies created white-out conditions once again and traveling today was just as grueling for our eyes as our bodies. We plodded through most of the day, taking turns misjudging the topography and blindly plunging down near vertical drift faces. Still we snailed forward and finally emerged from the 'canyonlands' that we've been traveling in for the past few days into a series of very large pans and easily negotiable leads. Unfortunately, it seemed more like purgatory than providence as we tried to keep focus. We have also been shifting our travel schedule to be able to take advantage of the cooler nights and firmer snow. Therefore today's travel was exceptionally tiring as we were short on sleep. Tomorrow, which will actually still be today, will begin at 6 pm and on the trail by 8. The good news is we made 6 nautical miles and have crossed (barely) the 84th parallel - look out 85, here we come.. Word of the day: muddle

Media Files:


Thu, 11 May 2006 19:05:59 -0500

Squeak, slide, squeak, slide, squeak, slide. It is a rhythm that under good skiing conditions is the beat of our daily life. On a bad day, it is the only thought running through our minds over and over and over. One step, squeak, next step slide, then squeak, ad infinitum. Minutes tick by unnervingly slowly in between breaks. That's a bad, bad day. On a good day, our minds wander effortlessly like a feather on a lilting summer breeze. Staring into the snow for hours on end, new thoughts drift in and out. We can ponder an idea for 20 minutes and not even know it. Our daydreams bring us happiness, comfort and usually a smile. They remind us of who we are and where we've been. They connect our past with future and fantasy with reality. Out here on this huge sheet of ice, we live in our minds.

Media Files:

Not Easy

Wed, 10 May 2006 19:14:01 -0500

We are eternal optimists but this is starting to get a bit ridiculous. We are happy about staying on the 77th parallel, then we drift east. We enjoy traveling on a flat pan, then a huge pressure ridge. Today, after enjoying so many backbreaking days in complete sunshine, it was overcast. A light snow started late last 'night' and continued through the morning, bringing warm temperatures and cloudy skies, honestly the worst traveling conditions imaginable. With no shadows on the snow, our depth perception completely vanishes. It is impossible to look at the snowdrifts and determine if they are sloping up or down. Therefore, we spent most of the day flailing and staggering. It is not easy to want one thing and be given another. We are careful not to ask too much of the Arctic. It has only so much to give. Instead, we travel lightly and wiggle from one stable piece of optimism to the next. To get the good, it so often seems that we have to lean in hard. There are objectives other than the North Pole that are worthy of such a Herculean effort. Clean air, for example. Cape Wind (off the coast of Massachusetts) is currently the largest renewable wind energy project in the country and is very important for a strong and vibrant future for wind power in the United States and an important component of the fight agaist global warming. Please write or call your congressional representative to support this worthy project. For more information about the need to act now on Cape Wind, please visit Stumbling over snowdrifts in near whiteout conditions we covered 7 nautical miles (14 kilometers). Word of the day: quagmire - caught in the middle of a series of small pans for almost two hours, it seemed like we'd never get out.

Media Files:

Cheese Saves the Day

Tue, 09 May 2006 20:36:02 -0500

If we could only start every day like today: a 9:30 wake up, casual breakfast in ... sleeping bag, and a 12:45 canoe-sled time. Sound relaxing? Well, it was - more than you can possibly imagine. We were so incredibly tired after a relentless week of arctic toil that it was all we could do to just set up the tent last night. We considered today a double vacation day because, one, we got to sleep in, and two, we had to drag canoe-sleds over the Arctic Ocean for only four hours. Once harnessed up, part II of our 'rest' day was everything but restful. The reason for the hard going was a wide swath of multi-year pressure ice scattered haphazardly across the ice. Behind, in front, to the side, below, just beyond, around (and every other preposition in the book) each ice chunk was a huge snowdrift. Some were hard packed, others soft. We had to haul our sleds up one side and then they would come crashing down wrenching our backs on the other if we were not careful. It was either get pulled backwards by the weight of the sleds on the way up or get run over on the way down. Navigating through this mess was tedious, spirit draining, energy sapping work. We felt a bit shafted being dealt such a raw deal on this of all days. After two hours it was break time. We didn't know if we could go on. Then, like a manna from heaven, a small bag of WISCONSIN cheese curds was produced. Suddenly the day didn't look so bad. Instead of just crackers, we were having CHEESE and crackers. It was such a small thing, but one that helped us make it through the day. All in all we are doing better then anticipated and our spirits are high. Our half day slog yielded nearly 5 nautical miles or 10 kilometers or 6.2 statute miles. Word of the day: precarious - today found us both in dangerous spots in the heavily drifted terrain.

Media Files:

Two Rabbits and a Cardinal

Mon, 08 May 2006 20:32:02 -0500

After a full week on the trail, we are bone weary, dog tired and whatever other quippy phrases one might use to describe our tired state. Its been quite a week on the Arctic Ocean for us. Above all else, we are thankful to be making good progress. The weather has been progessively warming and the change is most notable late at 'night' and early mornings. We would have loved to sleep in this morning. Our Hilleberg tent is now warm and cozy, but with a floor space roughly the same size as a sheet of plywood, we are anxious to be out as well. We pushed hard today through a veritable arctic potpourri. In the morning, we avoided some badly pressured ice by hopping on a newly frozen lead and cruising northeast. Later, we slogged through a heavily drifted area pulling and heaving our canoe-sleds to near exhaustion. We had two incredible firsts today. Around 1 pm we skied into a massive line of pressured ice that towered to 30 feet. Gigantic blocks, slabs and chunks of ice formed an impenetrable wall. The whole line of pressure extended as far as we could see to the southwest and nearly as far to the northeast. We skied northeast for about a half hour then found a spot, amazingly, to wiggle through. Our next big first was crossing a newly frozen lead that spanned almost a quarter mile. iI was covered with 'ice flowers' so we knew it was safe with the exception of spots where we got that sinking feeling (literally) as the ice bowed beneath our skis. We had a another great travel day, covering 7.60 nautical miles, that's 15 kilometers or 9.3 'normal' miles and also saw two rabbits and a cardinal in the process. Of course, if you stare at anything for long enough... Word of the day: assimilate - after a full week on the trail we have managed to integrate ourselves into the routines of expedition travel.

Media Files:

Seven on seven

Sun, 07 May 2006 19:34:02 -0500

We managed a few welcome breaks from the jumbled pack-ice today. In the morning, we found a newly frozen lead that headed north. It was easy going for almost a half an hour which put big smiles on both our faces. By the end of the day we found a large flat ice floe almost two miles across (the biggest we've seen so far). Yahoo! While we were able to ski for most of the day, we are still relying heavily on our MSR snowshoes. Without these, our forward progress would be nearly impossible. We keep them within easy reach - strapped to the top of our sleds. We wear them when crossing badly blocked pressure ridges and long rubble ice fields. We are so pleased with all aspects of these invaluable tools. We were also doing the 'project thin ice' today. We had to cross several leads where the ice either bowed beneath our weight or broke once our canoe sleds passed over. It's just sheer luck that one of us didn't fall in. We covered 7 nautical miles which is the same as 14 kilometers! We are really excited to see Ellesemere Island shrinking in the distance. Word of the day: lumbago - we'd give you a clue but that might be too obvious.

Media Files:

Moving Forward

Sun, 07 May 2006 09:58:01 -0500

Today started out hard, got worse, made a nice comeback, then ended OK. You would think, after preparing, planning and training for almost four years for the first summer expedition to the North Pole, that nothing out here would faze us. Well, we wish we could say that were true. The morning started with some treacherous skiing across some fairly large cracks. Looking three feet down at a watery lead is nerve-wracking on a good day. Trying to cross the yawning gap with skis slipping on ice chunks and a canoe-sled pulling us back or running us over requires a resolve that stems from one simple truth: the only way out of here is to keep moving forward. Or a bit east or west depending on where the flattest ice lay. We followed the good side (somewhat flat) of a long pressure ridge and lead to the north east for some of the day. It eventually brought us into an area of fractured slabs. A few were pushing into each other as well. They looked like icy puzzle pieces. After scouting some alternative routes we finally decided to catamaran the boats to cross a small lead. By last year's standards it was an easy crossing, yet we were both noticeably nervous. Why, we had done this exact procedure a hundred times. We are still settling into this place. It is so vast and so huge that our small expedition seems so insignificant. We could easily die in several different ways each day. But we know this as well, so we ski and snowshoe carefully. We scout leads, discuss options and listen always, to our nerves. We had a great travel day, covering 5.20 nautical miles. Word of the day: castaway - we are far away from all our friends and family, we have to improvise to fix broken gear and use our resources carefully (we only have so many Clif bars). But as you may have already noted, we have not exactly ended up on a tropical island.

Media Files:

May 5, day 5, 5 miles

Fri, 05 May 2006 19:20:02 -0500

Had an outstanding day, despite the difficult pack ice, and we eventually made 5 nautical miles in 7 hours travel. We spent 30 minutes putting frozen boots on this morning, and another 30 on the trail getting them warm. The day may have started cold, but the intense morning sun warmed us quickly. Pulling the modified canoes through, around and over whatever the Arctic Ocean can throw at us helps keep our blood pumping - and then some. We sweat away the day battling inch by inch, then freeze during our short breaks. We ended up traveling on some nicely frozen leads for short bits of the day. We know a lead is safe if it's covered in ice flowers (hoar frost crystals on the ice that have formed/grown in large clumps) that are around three inches in diameter. Anything less is suspect but not untravelable. Having ice bend underneath our snow shoes is disconcerting to say the least. Our mood, depending on the size of the lead we're crossing, ranges from casual concern to stark terror, depending on the size, extent and stability of ice. One other insight from our day: traveling in second was a bit like taking a vacation... But not really. We also thought we'd convey our simple rules for the word of the day. First, we get out the dictionary. One of us pages randomly through it, stops, and then starts reading all the definitions on that page. Finally, we pick a word that somehow relates to our day. Today's word: flyover. We heard, then saw a plane way above us. We assumed it was an SAS flight, with cocktail service just starting.

Media Files:

Ice Mountains

Thu, 04 May 2006 20:24:01 -0500

Live in the moment or plan for the future? With day 4 of 120 barely under our belts its hard to think past tomorrow. Yet, all day we talked of possibility - flat pans of ice, a smooth newly frozen lead running straight north, a big pan on the horizon... We went to sleep last night with the rumblings of grinding ice pans in the near distance. It's hard to imagine such huge slabs of ice moving, but they do. This trip would make a good geology lesson: it's hard not to see the formation of the earth's mountain ranges in the uplifted slabs. The ice to the north of us shifted as well because we encountered our first leads today. We started counting them, got to three, then four and then lost track. The ice was insane at times and down right pleasant other times. We have come to expect both good and bad in turn. During part of the day, we were inching through some really nasty rubble that seemed endless. Then, a sharp turn and we were on a newly frozen lead effotlessly pulling the boats. Do you see a pattern emerging? All told we made 4.25 nautical miles today. Sore and wasted, we will sleep the deepest of sleeps.

Media Files:


Wed, 03 May 2006 21:06:52 -0500

Long day, short miles. We managed to cover about 2.25 miles today. But considering the ice conditions, we really couldn't have done one inch more. Once again, we find ourselves iin the tent and tired. It is a good tired however. We have overcome some major obstacles to our forward progress. At one point, we were easing (or trying to ease) our sleds down a 10 foot drop of ice. Traveling across the rubbled ice isn't much easier either, but we manage. The trick is to try and avoid the large car-sized chunks. There is considerable back and forthing finding the 'easiest' path. Despite all this, we have managed to keep in an almost straight bearing north. Using our shadows helps a lot. At noon, our shadows point straight north, at 1 pm they point 15 degrees to the east, 2 pm 30 degrees, and so on. All the pressured ice helps too as larger chunks provide recognizable reference points. The ice is so thick and massive here that is hard to for us to imagine that it will be gone in summer in just 50 years. That means no more polar bears--which by the way can't be too far away because we just ran across some arctic fox tracks. Up here, where there's a fox, a polar bear is near. We got out the dictionary today and chose a word for the day - intricate. The reasons: 1) two inch long crystals of hoar frost that cover every chunk of ice. 2) our route today.

Media Files:

Day 2

Tue, 02 May 2006 21:18:02 -0500

It's almost like we never left. So much of traveling on the Arctic Ocean is routine. Waking up this morning in the tent was so familiar that it seemed eerily like last year. That is, until we looked outside. We opted to sleep in as we didn't get dropped off at Cape Discovery until very late yesterday, but we were on the trail soon enough. Looking around it was easy to see we weren't in Russia anymore. The mountains of Ellesmere Island in the background, the Ward Hunt ice shelf looming to the east. And sunshine. Beautiful bright manificent sun. (we had two or three suuny days total last year.) We opted for skis for the fist hour of travel. It would be the last time we would wear them all day. The ice we encountered after the flat ended was massively pressured, drifted in and filled with large swaths of rubbled ice. It was slow progress at best but we still managed to pick our way through . So many times we'd scout the ice ahead and think, 'there's no way through this.' but slowly, and with lots of boat twisting, we would make it. And make it we did. Today we travelled a mind numbing 3.75 miles - an amazing distane for us so early with bad ice. At the end of our first full day we are optimistic about the future. We are a bit nervous, too, with only two days ticked off of an unimaginable 120. But most of all, we are just really tired.

Media Files:


Sun, 30 Apr 2006 13:10:02 -0500

The expedition got off to an inauspicious start today as we experienced a slight role shift. With nearly 70 Spaniards needing to get to the airport, we became, of all things, taxi drivers. They say adventures come in all shapes and sizes, and driving a van full of Spanish tourists singing their national anthem (judging by the volume and fervor of their efforts) will not be long forgotten. But it was a means to an end: our equipment and boats were at a cargo warehouse near the airport. With the safe arrival of our gear came other welcome news: there is a possibility of a 2 pm departure for northern Ellesemere Island and our take off. The information was rude awakening to our small group. We have to get packed and ready to go by Monday morning. Needless to say, we got to work immediately. Rationing fuel, a final gear check, putting greenpeace stickers... our small room is a flurry of expedition preparation. We are ready to go, but our experience tells us to check our excitement. The 'Ice Warriors' waited eight days for good flying conditions. This is the north where anything can change anytime. The ice, the snow. Even explorers: arctic travelers one minute, taxi drivers the next.


Sun, 30 Apr 2006 08:32:01 -0500

"I've got six or seven balls on the air right now," the charter flight company representative stated flatly over the phone. "After I grab on to a few I'll give you a call." The statement left little doubt to our fate over the next few days. Whether in Russia or Resolute, this is still the north and things happen a bit differently here. Like our gear for example. We had thought that shipping our boats, snow shoes and every other piece of equipment nearly three weeks ago would assure its safe arrival. Not so. After calling and waiting and waiting and calling, we finally managed to talk to someone in Ottawa (of all places) who was able to pinpoint our supplies somewhere 19,000 feet above northern Baffin Island traveling at approximately 278 mph toward our present location. With nothing left to do but sit and wait, we settled in to another comfortable dinner at the south camp inn. Despite the outward appearance of lethargy, our day has been filled with chance conversations with other adventurers and scientists. One man, Joyche, is leading a small group of people to the magnetic north pole (at least where it was 10 years ago). They have been waiting for over a week to partake in a trip lasting just a few days. The Ice Warrior team (two members pictured) has also returned from a five week Ellesemere Island expedition. Their journey, in concert with Jim Mcneil's aborted North Pole journey, was collecting snow samples for Dr. Tom Grenfell of the University of Washington. We also met with Dr. Grenfell--who is in Resolute to conduct on-site analysis of the snow samples--to discuss our own sampling procedures The rest of the Greenpeace team is keeping busy. Mark has been preparing the video cameras for tomorrow as well as our journey north. Steve has been doing the same except with his still cameras. Mike, as usual, is neck deep in electronics. Rounding out the team is Melanie who has been amassing her notes on global warming.

Media Files:

Resolute in Resolute

Sat, 29 Apr 2006 13:07:05 -0500

Waking up in an Ottawa hotel with a courtesy call is hardly the stuff of a great expedition story. But, for us, mundane is far superior to the chaos of Russia last year. For the most part our day was spent sitting. A jet to Iqaluit, a short layover, then on to Hall Beach, Nanisivik and finally Resolute. With each stop, we could feel the air get colder. Iqaluit was snow covered but pleasant. Nanisivik was downright chilly. The fabled 'Northwest Passage' is right outside our window and it is exciting to be back in the North of our dreams. Several teams from guided expeditions are filtering in and out of our hotel. There is an air of expeditions and history that is almost palpable. The only down side to our journey is the fact that a large group of Spaniards may have commandeered our planes. A 'personnel shift' has left us on the short end of the Twin Otter plane list. Hopefully, all will be sorted out tomorrow. For now, we are relaxing, checking emails and doing all the things that normal people do in their daily lives while we still can.

Media Files:

Last Day in Grand Marais

Thu, 27 Apr 2006 02:47:25 -0500

We leave Minnesota in a few hours. Good bye spring and summer, hello ice. However, the latest satellite image from our departure point off the north coast of Ellesemere Island shows spring coming to the Arctic as well. Last year, we abandoned our attempt to make the first summer crossing of the Arctic Ocean due to unfavorable ice conditions and ocean currents. But as you know, we are again teaming up with Greenpeace and returning to thin ice with a new mission: to protect what could become global warming's first victim-the polar bear. Greenpeace is at the forefront of taking action to rescue the polar bear from extinction, including a groundbreaking lawsuit filed with other environmental groups to list the species under the Endangered Species Act due to global warming. If successful, it would be the first time a mammal has been listed as endangered and given protections as a result of global warming. Greenpeace climate experts have teamed up with scientists from the National Snow and Ice Data Center, who have equipped the explorers with tools to document melt water pools, snow depth and ice thickness. Since no one has undertaken an expedition like this in the Arctic in summer, the explorers will provide scientists with measurements that have never been taken before. Scientists are calling the data that the explorers will gather the "Holy Grail" of sea ice studies. The Arctic Ocean and the polar bear have a dramatic story to tell. Hopefully our journey on the Arctic Ocean will help better illustrate the need for immediate action.

Media Files:

New Gear, Earth Day and Mike

Fri, 21 Apr 2006 12:58:30 -0500

One week. That's it. However, amazingly enough, things are relatively calm. Our new Jytte hats arrived as did our Rudy Project Sunglasses (they're very cool by the way). Perhaps our tranquility is due in part to Greenpeace's technology genius Mike Johnson's arrival in Grand Marais. Mike arrived two days ago replete with computers, gadgets, cables, flashing LEDs, a multi-tool, antennas and more. He has been working diligently on updating our equipment needs to make sure we are able to update our web site daily, send pod casts and travel safely. Mike also managed to acquire a ruggedized palm pilot that we are able to use in conjunction with our satellite phone. This new unit is solid state and charges easily off of a new solar panel which Greenpeace has also acquired on our behalf. Having Mike around is like owning our own personal technology genius. If we have any question or concern, all we need to do is call Mike and an answer is soon to follow. Other news from Grand Marais is fairly normal. With our equipment in Resolute, we are making a few last minute changes to our personal items. For example, we found a new dictionary to take as reading material. Also, the quest to find the perfect play list for our mp3 players continues. Lonnie's top choices: ZZ Top and Ray Charles. Eric prefers U2 and Jack Johnson with a little Modest Mouse for good measure. Earth Day. Now more than ever, we need to embrace the philosophy of this day. The world is a fragile place and our job is not to conquer, but to protect. As explorers, we have seen the dramatic effects of Global Warming first hand. This year, our goal is to save the polar bear and the only way to do that is to stop Global Warming. The technology exists today to reduce carbon emissions and reduce the threat of Global Warming. What can you do? Go to to learn more.

Media Files:

The Gear's Gone and Jay Leno

Tue, 11 Apr 2006 11:37:09 -0500

The important news first and then the details. Thanks to all who attended our going away party. Our canoes, food and gear are on their way to Resolute Bay, Nunavut, and lastly, we are going to be on the Tonight Show on Thursday the 13th. With a little over two weeks until our departure from Minnesota, we've managed to pack all our gear and ship it to Resolute Bay, Nunavut. Last night we loaded the One World Expedition truck with 120 days of food, two canoes, snow shoes, paddles, skis and much more. It is a huge relief to have this task completed and we can now focus on the last few logistical details. At the risk of jinxing ourselves, we may even have a day to relax before we leave. Our Polar Meltdown Party was a huge success. The music, food, friends and dancing were all fantastic. We appreciate all the support - both morally and financially. Thanks to all who attended as well as those not present who donated time, money, resources or other gifts. Now, on to this one last piece of business, the Tonight Show! We didn't really believe it ourselves at first. We decided to check out the Tonight Show web site and there were were on the actual guest list. We will be chatting up Polar Bears, shifting sea ice and more with Jay Leno. We are really looking forward to being able to further our expedition goals on such a popular venue. Be sure to tune in on Thursday night!

Media Files:

Expedition Reroute

Sun, 02 Apr 2006 00:39:39 -0600

It's been over three and a half years since the One World Expedition crystallized from grain to full fledged expedition. In that time, we've faced many challenges, and despite outward appearances, the least of which involve our actual 2005 attempt. Traveling on the ice is relatively easy compared to the mountain of planning and preparing required to organize a major expedition. As with last year, it will be a big relief to finally step on the ice. With nearly everything set for our departure in Russia, we were dealt a devastating blow. Our Russian logistics coordinator informed us of a 50% rate increase that essentially eliminated, even worse, helicopter rescue should a worst-case scenario happen. That was one week ago. one week! Luckily, crisis management is often what expeditions are all about. We agonized over logistics and routes for several days until finally realizing the best option. Yet, with the decision made, there is still more work until all the arrangements are final. The One World Expedition will now be departing from Ward Hunt Island in northern Canada on May 1st. We will travel to the North Pole and return to land at Cape Morris Jessup, Greenland, a total distance of 921 statute miles (as the crow flies). This route has never been attempted before in the summertime and it is therefore reasonable to calculate that the total distance will be 25% more due to deviation around obstacles. This will bring our actual route miles closer to 1,150 miles. Although our route has changed, the goals of the expedition are still the same. Our priority is to use the expedition as a tool to highlight the crisis of global warming and the consequent plight of the polar bear. Whether we start in Siberia or Canada, the effects of global warming are everywhere.

Media Files:

Clif and Global Cooling

Thu, 30 Mar 2006 01:36:28 -0600

One World Expedition headquarters received some much needed reinforcements last week. Straight from California, boxes and boxes. and boxes of Clif bars. (If you look close enough, you can even spot the polar explorer in the picture.) With our departure looming only a few weeks away, we were pleased to have this valuable shipment finally arrive. You see, Clif Bars are no ordinary energy bar. For starters, they taste great (not an easy feat for an energy bar). Plus, they contain several organic ingredients. We also received some Builder's bars (with extra protein), MOJO bars and Shot Bloks. These bars are a vital part of our daily caloric intake, providing a healthy mix of protein, fat and carbohydrates. At the risk of sounding too much like a commercial, the company is pretty cool, too. Climate cool, that is. Clif Bar is working to reduce their carbon footprint to neutralize carbon emissions. Through their web site you can purchase a Cool Tag, a renewable wind energy credit that will keep an estimated 300 pounds of CO2 out of the air. Clif Bar is also working on offsetting CO2 emissions during some of their events like the Escape from Alcatraz Triathlon, among others. Other news of Grand Marais is more nuts and bolts. The gunwales arrived from Esquif in Quebec and we are making final adjustments to the canoe sleds, working on a bit of PR to promote our upcoming Polar Melt Down Bash, giving a newspaper interview here and there, and of course doing the ever-exciting daily tire pull.

Media Files:

Going Home

Sun, 19 Mar 2006 21:28:40 -0600

It may be a bit of a stretch, but sorting out all our equipment, clothing and gear is more nostalgic journey than expedition preparation. Most of our supplies were stored at the end of last summer, and now opening up the different bags and containers for the first time in so many months, we have been time traveling between past and future, then back to the present. Even our small tent conjures images of safety and comfort. After all, the mighty Hilleberg held up even when a polar bear jumped on the vestibule. While these images flood forward at various and usually unexpected moments, we are still most concerned with the future. In one month, we will leave Minnesota and drive to New York. In case the previous sentence was laced with too much subtlety, that's ONE MONTH. One month to finalize logistics, one month to work on the web site, one month to get visas, one month to fundraise, one month to fly to Boulder, Colorado and the Snow and Ice Data Center, one month to test our electronic gear, one month. Last week, we flew to Washington D.C. to meet with the folks at Greenpeace and discuss the upcoming plans and preparations. The trip was full of visiting with old friends and planning for the future. Working with Greenpeace has been an honor and joy for us and we are pleased to be finalizing our partnership for 2006. Our tent, friends at Greenpeace, the Arctic Ocean, Grand Marais, our lives are juxtaposed with so many contrary images, yet amazingly, they all point to one place - the Arctic Ocean - the place we will call home for four months. Look for lots of exciting news in the upcoming month.

Media Files:

Packing, Training and Fundraising

Wed, 08 Mar 2006 11:03:52 -0600

With only six weeks until our Minnesota departure date, we have few idle moments. First and foremost, we are still fundraising to fulfill our remaining budget requirements. There are several opportunities to help. Join us in Greenland, come to our going away party, attend the Duluth, Minn. Aquarium fundraiser event or contribute directly or online. We are delighted that Greenpeace will again act as the expedition's environmental education and communications partner. Our collaboration last year resulted in millions of people receiving the global warming message. And tens of thousands took action through Greenpeace's Project Thin Ice to advocate for renewable energy, U.S. involvement in the Kyoto Protocol, and more. We are confident that this year's partnership will be as successful in putting a human face on global warming. Lonnie is also working with Greenpeace, the Center for Biological Diversity, and the Natural Resources Defense Council in an effort to protect the polar bear and its habitat, and to list the polar bear under the Endangered Species Act. Polar bears, the Arctic's keystone species, are threatened by extinction due to airborne toxins as well as loss of sea ice. Scientists estimate that by 2050 the Arctic Ocean could be ice-free during summer if global warming continues unchecked. This outcome would eliminate the bear's habitat and ability to catch seals. We're asking you today for your continued financial support of the OWE. Although Greenpeace is a major sponsor, we are short of what we need to meet the expedition budget. We leave for the edge of the Arctic Ocean via Moscow in just about six weeks. Major expenses we are facing include transport to the ocean's edge, rental of an emergency transmitter beacon, and charter flights from Canada or Iceland to pick the team up at the finish at Cape Morris Jessup, Greenland. We hope you will make a gift to this year's expedition so we can begin the journey to encour[...]

Media Files:

Tough Enough

Mon, 13 Feb 2006 08:04:40 -0600

We're just two average guys from northern Minnesota trying to make our way across 1,250 miles of shifting sea ice and open ocean. Last year, when we took this picture, we began to wonder: are we tough enough? The answer is a resounding yes. We are tough enough and here's why. We've been planning and preparing (and attempting) to cross the Arctic Ocean for over three years. Every detail of the crossing from breakfast to ski skins to ice conditions has been evaluated and reevaluated. We've also planned to avoid the heartbreak of last year. Leaving earlier and possibly further east should eliminate the continuous treadmill of backward drift that we experienced last year. New drysuits will make swimming leads a bit easier as well. Our training is in full swing as well. With help and guidance from Dr. Kristen Dieffenbach, our bodies are nearing peak condition. And if you would like to see us training, check out the Milwauke Journal-Sentinel's article at

Media Files:

Xvest Office Work

Fri, 03 Feb 2006 08:21:56 -0600

You might think that sitting in an office and working on the computer is not the kind of training critical to Arctic Explorers, but then again, we're not your typical explorers. We like our new Xvests so much that it seems like everything we do is a training for the Arctic Ocean. even checking E-mail?!? Using the 40-pound form-fitting weighted vests are a welcome change from backpacks full of bricks and sand bags. We are now able to easily add another degree of difficulty to our training with little effort or inconvenience. The Xvests pack considerably easier than the bricks as well, and training will be much simpler now. But training is not the only thing that is occupying our time. There is the overwhelming amount of office work and fundraising. Then, there are the talks at colleges and schools. We're not complaining, but the idea of being on the Arctic Ocean hauling a 350-pound canoe/sled sounds almost relaxing right now.

Media Files:

Skiing in the Rain

Tue, 03 Jan 2006 16:13:05 -0600

Happy New Year! 2006 - this, we are confident, is our year. Early reports indicate a colder than normal weather pattern hovering over Siberia and Cape Arctichesky which bodes well for our departure in April. In Minnesota, however, conditions have been uncannily spring-like. A few December blizzards have left a thick carpet of snow. Unfortunately, air temperatures continue to dip only a few degrees below freezing. In fact on a 25 kilometer training session today, it actually rained !?! We are definitely not two to complain, but rain in January? We want some cold. Regardless, the ski trails are well groomed and our training is in full swing.

Media Files:

Winter Wonderland

Thu, 15 Dec 2005 22:46:37 -0600

The latest weather reports from the North Shore of Minnesota list snow accumulations of over 16" in some locations. What more could two Arctic Explorers ask for? Well, not to beg the question, but favorable drift on the Arctic Ocean off the coast of Siberia would be nice. But realistically, snow and cold in northern Minnesota is a close second. Time to put the tires away. With 2006 rapidly approaching, we are in the full expedition swing. Training, equipment decisions and logistics are the most common dialogue. We have been here before, of course, but this year it seems both more calm and more intense. Remember to keep checking back for weekly updates prior to our departure and daily updates while we're on the actual expedition. This year we will also add audio updates each day from the trail.

Media Files:

COP 11

Tue, 29 Nov 2005 22:53:58 -0600

Canada is hosting the first meeting of the Parties involved in the Kyoto Protocol in Montreal, Quebec this week. The conference is an historic event.  Not only will the parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) be meeting for the 11th time, but 2005 also marks the entry into force of the Kyoto Protocol. At Montreal, the first ever meeting of the Parties to the Protocol (MOP) will be held parallel to the Conference of the Parties to the Convention (COP).  The United Nations Climate Change Conference is set to be the largest intergovernmental climate conference since the Kyoto Protocol was adopted in 1997. 

Media Files:

Winter At Last

Thu, 17 Nov 2005 08:04:10 -0600

It has been a warm fall, unusually so, and we've been wondering if winter would ever arrive on the North Shore. Well, yesterday it happened - our first real snowstorm of the year. It has been a busy fall for us. We were very honored to be the guest speakers for the Friends of the Boundary Waters. It was great to be able to tell the One World story. However, it soon became apparent to us both that the hardship and misery from the Arctic Ocean are in the past. We've found ourselves only remembering the good times. Perhaps that's why we're going back in 2006. Still, we're both up to the challenge and looking forward to the 'daily grind.' Also, for those coming to northern Minnesota this weekend, be sure to stop at the North House Folk School for the Winterers Gathering with a special One World presentation on Friday night. Check out for more information.

Media Files:

An Orange Gumby?

Tue, 01 Nov 2005 08:02:19 -0600

While Lonnie may look a bit like a claymation figure from the '70s, he's actually trying the team's new Helly Hansen dry suit on for size. Gumby would be proud with the fit. Upon returning from our 2005 attempt, we spent time poring over our equipment and its functionality on the expedition. Without fail, nearly all of our equipment choices were spot on with two notable exceptions: dry suits and gloves. The gloves were obvious replacement items. One of the pairs we took nearly fell apart on our hands. The dry suits performed functionally without fail; however, we simply wanted something that could be put on over our boots. The Helly Hansen dry suits fit on over all our clothes and boots. They will be used to swim leads or break semi-frozen ice. We will add Kokatat dry bibs to our equipment list as well to cope with constantly falling through the ice. Of course, the new dry suits also make great Halloween costumes.

Media Files:


Tue, 18 Oct 2005 08:55:36 -0500

From Eric: There's no place like home. After over two months at sea aboard the Greenpeace ship, Arctic Sunrise, it feels great to be home. My time on board was incredible with stops in Greenland, Canada and the east coast of the United States. I really felt like I was able to continue OWE's mission to create awareness of Global Warming and promote clean energy solutions. Thanks again to everyone at Greenpeace for the incredible experience. Of special interest on our transit from New York to Miami was our encounter with tropical storm Tami. After two months at sea, we sailed through easily the worst conditions. The Arctic Sunrise performed admirably; however, as an icebreaker with a round hull and no keel, it tends to pitch and roll (as much as 60 degrees). It wasn't the craziest situation I've been in, but it was close. We finally arrived in Miami, where once on land, I proceeded to get sea sick!?! In northern Minnesota fall has arrived in full force. The air is cool and leaves are changing. In fact, most of the maples have already dropped their leaves. Meanwhile, Lonnie has been holding down the fort in good old Grand Marais. Making a few small changes here and there - and most importantly, finding our old truck tires from under a tarp, polishing them up and getting them ready for our upcoming days of dragging. Look out forest roads and trails of the north shore, here we come!

Media Files:

New York, New York

Tue, 04 Oct 2005 07:10:01 -0500

We've almost stopped counting the times that we've been to New York. Last tally: five since April. This visit, however, was unusually special as the Arctic Sunrise sailed up the East River and docked at Chelsea Piers for the Greenpeace open boats and Project Thin Ice party. Lonnie arrived in a whirlwind from Minnesota. Both he and Ann Possis were delayed as the plane they were flying in had to make an emergency stop to refuel in Wisconsin. Go figure. The weekend was great with many people interested in all the stories from the ice. "The polar bear that jumped on the tent" was a popular story. One of us was always just starting or finishing that arctic yarn. People were genuinely interested in our stories and the things we had seen during our time on the sea ice. Ironically, a recently released report shows just how severely the ice in the Arctic has been breaking up. More melting occurred this summer in the Arctic than during any since recording the ice extent began. Hopefully, our time in New York, Boston and, as the Arctic Sunrise sails south, Miami will make more people understand the need for clean, renewable energy solutions (check out the RELI link on our sponsor page). We have been to the front lines of global warming and the problem is real. Let's do something right now. For ways you can help, visit

Media Files:


Fri, 23 Sep 2005 07:18:21 -0500

Has it been so long? After over a month of separation, we were reunited in Boston for Greenpeace fundraising event on board the Arctic Sunrise. For almost three years straight, we spent nearly every day in close contact during one moment or another. Then, of course, there was our summer attempt which found us sharing a tent roughly the size of a piece of plywood. To be apart for nearly a month was a relatively new experience for both of us. The event in Boston was a huge success. We are currently working with Greenpeace to promote clean energy solutions. Eric has left the ship for the week to participate in interviews, give talks and promote the Cape Wind farm. The Arctic Sunrise will be in the area for four days and people are invited to stop by and tour the boat. For more information on the tour schedule visit Of other importance during our meeting was our discussion of next year's expedition. We are both looking forward to going back and trying again.

Media Files:

In and almost in Boston

Thu, 15 Sep 2005 05:30:01 -0500

From Eric: When I close my eyes I can still see ice bergs - towering, massive chunks of glacier floating in the sea. The images of Greenland are strong in my mind despite the hot September air. After nearly a month touring Greenland and Canada, I am almost back in the U.S. I am excited about this next leg of my journey and looking forward to talking with people about some of the things I have seen. Did you know that if the Greenland ice cap were to melt completely that sea levels would rise 7 meters? The sail on the Arctic Sunrise from Halifax to outside Boston (where we are currently anchored) was uneventful which, as I am learning, is how an ocean transit should be. I continue to learn new skills on board. I have also met a new batch of interesting people as new crew members joined in Halifax. Today, we were all treated to a series of whale sightings that awed everyone on board, even our sea-hardened captain. From Lonnie: My trip to Cape Cod went well. I spoke at Cape Cod Community College about the Cape Wind Project and had a full house. Cape Cod Wind Farm is a project to install 130 energy efficient wind turbines in Nantucket Sound. The wind farm would provide 75% of the Cape and surrounding islands' energy and reduce the Cape's reliance on the dirty Canal power plant in Buzzards Bay, the third dirtiest plant on all the east coast.

Media Files:

Climate in Canada

Wed, 07 Sep 2005 21:16:01 -0500

Lonnie writes: I spoke at Cape Cod Community College in Barnstable Sept. 6. While there I endorsed the proposed Cape Wind farm, a project to install 130 energy-efficient wind turbines in Nantucket Sound. On a more practical expedition note, I hope to start training again with the tires October 1 and also work full time in the office. Of course, there are more interesting activities in life, but pulling upwards of three tires at a time is an important aspect of our training. Eric writes: Of course it's true about rolling stones, but ice-breaking ships, too? You bet, the Arctic Sunrise has been on the move throughout our Canadian tour and much too busy to gather moss. With stops at Quebec City, Three Rivers and Montreal, the ship has been a constant buzz of activity and activists (it's Greenpeace, of course). In Montreal alone, nearly 2,400 people toured the ship. I also had a chance to meet many of the amazing Greenpeace Canada staff, who have proved to me all over again what it means to be passionate about the environment. While the Canadian government has ratified the Kyoto Protocol, the G.P. campaigners here feel that more action needs to be taken. Our tour of eastern Canada has been especially interesting to me as I've had the opportunity to explore an area which was once a gateway for some of the earliest explorers of North America. Seeing monuments to these people, of whom I've only read, is humbling at best. I had to smile when I passed by the statue of Jacques Cartier, a distant relative of Lonnie's. I couldn't help but snap a few pictures and send them back to Grand Marais. Ship life has be[...]

Media Files:

Leaving Greenland

Tue, 23 Aug 2005 18:42:01 -0500

It's hard for me to imagine that little over two weeks ago I was still tucked snugly in the comfort and convenience of Grand Marais, Minn. Little did I know when I accepted Greenpeace's offer to join the Arctic Sunrise on the West coast of Greenland what I was in for. After fumbling around with mariners' terms, walking down wrong stairways, wandering fore when I should have been aft and so on, I am beginning to learn my way around the Arctic Sunrise. It is an incredible ship with a more than capable crew. All are experienced veterans who make my experiences in life seem quite provincial. Most have traveled around the world several times over. I have also had the opportunity to watch some of the unique research that has been going on here. Dr. Jason Box from Ohio State University and the Byrd Polar Research group have been measuring melt water pools on the surface of the Greenland ice sheet. Assisting Dr. Box on the ice cap was none other than OWE's Field Logistics Manager John Hoelscher. It was good to catch up with John, if ever so briefly as he has now left the ship and headed home. After only a short glimpse (for me) of Greenland's beauty we are now leaving the West Coast and heading to Canada. We will eventually make our way to Quebec and Montreal to participate in 'open boats' organized by Greenpeace Canada, designed to bring more attention and action to global warming. In the meantime, we are making our way south, in what I have been told are relatively mild seas. Unfortunately, for a landlubber like myself, it's more like the Perfect Storm. Meanwhile, Lonnie is busy [...]

Media Files:

Arctic Sunrise comes to U.S.

Mon, 22 Aug 2005 11:28:45 -0500

The Greenpeace ship Arctic Sunrise just completed its tour of Greenland, investigating and documenting the latest evidence of global warming. The Arctic Sunrise now travels to Canada to begin the third phase of Project Thin Ice-a tour down the East Coast of the United States. The purpose of this tour is highlighting solutions to global warming, namely the use of cleaner, climate-friendly forms of energy such as offshore wind. This photo is from a recent activity in Nantucket Sound, where Greenpeace is working and organizing in the Cape Cod area to promote the Cape Wind project, which would be the first offshore wind farm in the United States. Photo copyright Warshaw/Greenpeace. Besides doing things like paint banners like the one in this photo, I've had the privilege this summer of working on arrangements for the U.S. East Coast ship tour. Greenpeace is holding "open boats" in Boston, New York City, and Miami in September and October as part of this tour. If you're in the area, be sure to stop by-it's a great opportunity to see a Greenpeace ship, meet the captain and crew, and learn more about what Greenpeace is doing to promote renewable energy use. Check out for exact locations and times. As my time in Washington draws to a close, I am extremely impressed at the complex issues Greenpeace tackles with enormous dedication and energy. Project Thin Ice has been a major success thus far, first gaining worldwide attention for global warming through the One World Expedition, and then d[...]

Media Files:

Going to Greenland

Wed, 10 Aug 2005 05:43:10 -0500

The One World Team is spanning the globe to continue their commitment to global warming. Recently, Lonnie made a trip to Long Beach, California to support another campaign. The events were a huge success as the group influenced the CSU Trustees and Chancellor's Office to push their goals further in the direction of clean energy. Meanwhile, Eric is Amsterdam on his way to Greenland and reports: Last week I was in Grand Marais and now I am on my way to Greenland to fill in as a deck hand on the Greenpeace ship Arctic Sunrise. I am excited beyond belief at the opportunity to continue the One World commitment to better understanding the effects of global warming as well as bearing witness to these changes. And finally, John H. writes: Greetings from South West Greenland - after 6 weeks aboard the Arctic Sunrise we have turned the corner to the West Coast of Greenland. We entered the fjord systems to Narsaq, a town whose name means The Plain. A small-scale hydro project is under construction just east of here that should free both Narsaq and nearby Qaqortoq from dirty, and expensive, diesel electricity generation. This will supply power to around 5,000 people. Qorlortorsuaq Hydro Energy plant utilizes water from high lakes fed from the icecap, as it plummets down toward the fjord below. The project consists of a small dam under construction just east of here that will produce 7.6 MW of power. Transmission lines will also have to be set up to then bring the power to the towns of Narsaq and Qaqortoq - hopefully allowing them to s[...]

Media Files:

Really Thin Ice

Wed, 03 Aug 2005 02:32:09 -0500

Satellite data for the month of June show Arctic sea ice has shrunk to a record low, raising concerns about climate change, coastal erosion, and changes to wildlife patterns. The National Snow and Ice Data Centre in the United States uses remote sensing imagery to survey ice cover at both poles. The centre says 2002 was a record low year for sea ice cover in the Arctic, since satellite observations began in 1979. There's evidence that may have been the lowest coverage in a century. Now scientists fear this year could be worse. June readings indicate the ice is at its lowest limit ever for that time of year. "It actually melted back farther than normal pretty much everywhere around the Arctic," says Walt Meier of the National Snow and Ice Data Centre in the U.S. "Where it's been retreating the most has been north of Alaska and north of eastern Siberia." Meier says the amount of ice that covered the Arctic Ocean in the month of June this year shrunk by a record six percent below the average rate for the month.

Media Files:

Dramatic Discovery

Tue, 26 Jul 2005 11:48:38 -0500

Dramatic discovery Confirms Scientists' Predictions of Accelerated Global Warming East Coast Greenland - Independent scientists on board the Greenpeace ship Arctic Sunrise recently discovered that a Greenland glacier has accelerated in the past 9 years exceeding all expectations and has now become one of the fastest moving glaciers in the world. These observations validate predictions about impacts to Greenland glaciers from recent global warming. Outlet glaciers like Kangerdlugssuaq transport ice from the heart of the Greenland Ice Sheet to the ocean and discharge icebergs, which contribute to sea level rise. Kangerdlugssuaq Glacier alone transports or "drains" four percent of the ice from the Greenland Ice Sheet, and so any changes in the speed of these glaciers holds tremendous significance in terms of sea level rise. "This is a dramatic discovery," said Dr. Gordon Hamilton, who undertook the measurements on Kangerdlugssuaq Glacier on Greenland's east coast with University of Maine PhD student Leigh Stearns. "There is concern that the acceleration of this and similar glaciers and the associated discharge of ice is not described in current ice sheet models of the effects of climate change. These new results suggest that the loss of ice from the Greenland Ice Sheet, unless balanced by an equivalent increase in snowfall, could be larger and faster than previously estimated." The Arctic Sunrise is in Greenland this summer documenting the signs and impacts of global warming [...]

Media Files:

More Greenland News

Thu, 21 Jul 2005 00:05:45 -0500

The One World team is definitely not idle. Lonnie is in California for several speaking engagements and to talk more about Global Warming and Eric is in Wisconsin on a similar mission. Meanwhile, John Hoelscher visits his old Greenland friends. John writes: We are now in Kangerlusuaq Fjord, doing glaciology. I took five others roped up for glacier travel last night, and we walked on a rugged glacier checking out crevasses for about 3 hours - was quite a buzz. Should leave in about 24 hours. On venturing ashore to visit the rustic Zackenberg hunting hut, established by the Nanoq trading company in 1930, I had the fortune of meeting one of the twelve members of the Sirius Sledge Patrol team, Jesper Christensen. He was nearing the end of his two-year tour at Daneborg, the headquarters of this Danish Military outpost, which has been in operation since 1950. Its primary purpose is to maintain a military presence and patrol an area of 160,000 square kilometers, the world's largest national park. Before the Sirius Patrol was established with the advent of the Cold War, the Greenland Sledge Patrol, made up from East Greenland civilian hunters, operated during WW2, with the task of patrolling the eastern coastline to look for secret German weather stations set up to forecast the weather, necessary for scheduling bombing raids on allied targets across the UK. In fact, there was one famous encounter near Eskimoness, Clavering Island, where the party did ch[...]

Media Files:

News from Coast to Coast

Tue, 12 Jul 2005 22:05:07 -0500

Sure it's 85 degrees and as hot as it ever gets in Grand Marais, but that isn't stopping us from thinking about the future. On July 18, 2006 OWE will make another summer attempt at crossing the ocean's broken sea ice from the North Pole to Cape Morris Jessup, Greenland. The 50-day expedition will cover 540 miles pulling 160-pound modified whitewater canoes. We expect to reach landfall by September 5th, the last day of 24 hours light and the start of fall storms and precipitation. The route was picked due to favorable southerly drift of the sea ice. The team will be flown to the expedition's start at the North Pole by Russian helicopter out of Norway's Spitzbergen Island. At Cape Morris Jessup, Greenland's northernmost land and expedition's finish, the team will be picked up by Twin Otter aircraft and flown back to Canada or Iceland then home. John Hoelscher sends this message: We arrived at the anchorage in front of the East Greenland town of Ittoqqortoormiit (Scoresbysund), located near the northern entrance to Scoresby Sound - the world's largest fjord complex, around midnight. This isolated town of around 550 people was established in 1925 when families from the Ammassalik District, around 700 km south, were brought north to this location. It was known that it was rich in marine life and food for the people who traditionally catch seals, walrus and polar bears. Also on the land in the fjord system muskoxen can be [...]

Media Files:

Glacier Work with John H.

Tue, 05 Jul 2005 10:11:38 -0500

My daily duties on board the ship have been to be on Watch twice daily for 4 hours, maintenance to the ship's equipment and field training and logistics support for the science programs. I have been training some crew in glacier travel, safety in the field and Greenlandic customs and way of life up here. The past two days we were at anchor at the end of Scoresby Sound, the world's largest fjord (350km long) in a sheltered bay with icebergs drifting by, and high mountains (up to 1800 m) and glaciers drooping down off the distant ice cap. The lower land here has some green grass, flowers and shrubs, and musk oxen and arctic hare have been sighted nearby. The air temperature is about 5 degC, and today the wind was calm. The past few days there have been low clouds and fog, but that lifted yesterday to reveal these majestic peaks. The past two days I have been assisting two glaciologists in surveying the velocity of the nearby Daugaard Jensen glacier. We have now left this site and are looking down the fjord to see if the weather will allow us to conduct further glaciology in Vestfjord, otherwise we will go on to the town of Ittoqortoormiit (Scoresbysund) to visit the locals, catch up with friends and interview some of the elder hunters etc about what they've witnessed with regards to climate change. We have quite a few adventures in store the next two months. We hope to head north toward Zackenb[...]

Media Files:

Most Successful, Unsuccessful Expedition

Mon, 27 Jun 2005 13:51:49 -0500

Though the expedition was unsuccessful in dealing with the ocean conditions off the Russian coastline, it was successful in reaching our main goal of bringng attention to Global Warming issue. With figures still coming in, the One World Expedition garnered tens if not hundreds of millions of media impressions worldwide on Global Warming. A more precise number and list of media will be available in the next few weeks. We along with Geenpeace, our environmental and communication partner, will continue our campaign to fight global warming and bring you more updates from the ice through our 2006 Oceans project.

Media Files: