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The Arctic, Fast and Light

EC CommunityJames HipkissComment

The purpose of this expedition is to determine whether an ultra-runners fast and light approach can workacross the Arctic Ocean. Mark Hines has experience of racing 450 miles in the Yukon sub-Arctic (2009, 2011 and 2013), and some experience of testing equipment and techniques on the sea ice (Barrow, Alaska, 2012). Hence, the logical progression is to develop the ultra-running approach for the Arctic.The expedition will leave from Barrow, Alaska, in the direction of the Northern Pole of Inaccessibility.

This is the Arctic Pole, the correct location of which was determined by Jim McNeil of the Ice Warrior Project in 2003. It is the last pole remaining to be reached.The fast and light approach can only work in excellent conditions. Too much jumble ice / pressure ridges, too many open leads or weak ice, and any bad weather conditions (high winds, blizzards), will cause delays, prohibiting the ultra-runners' approach. Hence, this may only be a training expedition, pending returns in subsequent years until the conditions enable the Arctic Pole to be reached. In any case, this expedition should be sufficient to demonstrate the range of average speeds achievable with this approach.

If the expedition is successful, the objective will be to reach Barneo on foot. If conditions are excellent, it should be possible to go from the Arctic Pole to Barneo via the Magnetic North and Geographic North Poles. Due to the movement of the Magnetic North pole towards Siberia, the Arctic Pole, Magnetic Pole and Geographic Pole are almost aligned (and will be fully aligned in 2014 or 2015).