About the expedition
In March 2011 Ben Saunders sets out to reach the Geographic North Pole solo and unsupported, and aims to break the North Pole speed record in the process. In 2005 a guided team using dog sleds and several air-drops of food reached the Pole in 36 days, 22 hours, and in 2010 a Canadian team reached the Pole on foot in 41 days, 18 hours with one resupply flight. Ben is travelling solo and on foot, with no support en route.
He starts from Cape Discovery, on the north coast of Canada, and he will travel on skis and snowshoes, hauling a sled containing food, equipment, and a cutting-edge satellite tracking beacon that will enable real-time position updates as Ben heads north.
487 Miles (784KM)
36 Days, 22 hrs
-50°C to -5°C
Ben’s 487-mile journey crosses the frozen surface of the Arctic Ocean, one of the harshest environments on the planet. There are no route maps as the pack ice is in a constant state of flux, melting, refreezing and drifting according to the competing forces of temperature, wind, current and tide. One of the biggest obstacles Ben expects to encounter are areas of open water; cracks in the ice known as leads. The Arctic Ocean is also home to the polar bear, and ambient temperatures can reach -50°C.
Ben Saunders is a professional endurance athlete and a pioneering polar explorer. He is one of three in history to ski solo to the North Pole (from the Russian side of the Arctic Ocean, in 2004), the youngest to do so by more than ten years, and holds the record for the longest solo Arctic journey by a Briton (1,032km). Ben is an Ambassador for The Prince’s Trust and a Patron of the British Schools Exploring Society, and is an acclaimed public speaker (the TED conference called him a ‘master storyteller’). He has been a global brand ambassador for Land Rover since 2009.
image © Andy Ward
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