the state of polar expeditions


A breath of fresh air...two Russians have announced plans in the Arctic this winter. They plan to undertake the first full winter expedition to the North Pole.

"Today on Dec 21, the darkest day of the year, Russian Polar Explorers Matvey Shparo and Boris Smolin are ready to be flown out to Cape Arktichesky. The combination of extreme cold, complete darkness, open water and total isolation (don't count on a rescue) creates some of the most technically difficult and dangerous conditions an expedition can encounter.

A true winter North Pole expedition has never been achieved and together with K2 Winter and South Pole Winter, is one of the greatest uncompleted challenges within the Adventure World.

The latest radar shows large areas of open water around Cape Arktichesky. Besides from the cold and perpetual darkness, the expedition is expected to face more open water than traditional spring expeditions."

Meanwhile, it seems that the saturation of the media with polar tourist expeditions in recent years is starting to take it's toll. Fewer and fewer new major expeditions are gaining funding as sponsors favour off-the-shelf marketing opportunities. The challenge in the coming years will be to find new ways of organising logistics in cost effective ways - such as using traditional ships or skidoos.