Explorers Connect

Japanese team retrace 1845 Franklin expedition

Trip ReportJames Hipkiss

Japanese explorers Yasunaga Ogita and Yusuke Kakuhata have completed an expedition to traverse a section of the Northwest passage; the same area which claimed the lives of Sir John Franklin and his team in 1845.

Franklin and his entire crew of 128 perished in the Canadian Arctic after becoming icebound in Victoria Strait near King William Island. 166 years later, beginning on March 15th of this year Ogita and Kakuhata covered 1046 km in just 60 days from Resolute Bay to Gjoa Haven. They travelled unassisted and unsupported; along with facing tough conditions and terrain they also encountered five polar bears en route to their destination.

The adventure is not yet over for them however - both men will set off again on the 24th May to tackle a second consecutive expedition. Departing Gjoa Haven, they aim to travel 600km across a summer tundra to Baker Lane using a combination of sleds and backpacks. You can view Yasunaga Ogita's blog here (it is entirely in Japanese - but there are lot's of pictures for non-readers!)