While John Franklin was lauded and falsely credited with the discovery of the legendary Northwest Passage, Orcadian John Rae was actually the man who first mapped out a navigable shipping route through the Arctic.
However, his reputation was trashed because he was brave enough to reveal that some of Franklin’s men had been driven to cannibalism in a doomed attempt to survive.
As a result, Rae, the greatest Arctic explorer of the era, was denied the status and glory he deserved, with author Charles Dickens a chief instigator of his vilification.
So in the wake of the O’Brady saga, veteran polar guide Eric Philips, along with other senior members of the polar community, decided that standardization was overdue in the polar world. Over the past two years, they developed The Polar Expeditions Classification Scheme (PECS), which was launched earlier this week.
Updated June 1, 2019 to add link to his latest video.
In May 2014, Iohan Gueorguiev (website – YouTube – Twitter – Instagram) started cycling from the Arctic Ocean at Tuktoyaktuk, in Canada’s Northwest Territories. The plan was to cycle to the tip of South America in a year, maybe a few more months.
T MINUS SIX MONTHS
Gearing up: I’ll be photographing a team of extreme adventurers mountain biking across the frozen Arctic Ocean in Canada. I’ll be on a snowmobile, which is still hard work, so I need to get in good shape. A few months before, I start running and doing core workouts. In the Arctic you can’t sit down if you’re tired—you have to keep moving or get in your sleeping bag. I also put in a request to my sponsors for some gear: a down-filled sleeping mat and gloves I can shoot with.
T MINUS TWO WEEKS
Essential packing list: Our camp in Auyuittuq is 50 miles from civilization in any direction, so I take everything I need for the 2.5-day February trip.
– Emergency beacon
– A satellite phone (which will be on for only two hours a day, so I go over safety protocols with my family beforehand)
– Macadamia nuts (they have the highest fat content)
– A toothbrush with pre-applied toothpaste
– A dozen camera batteries. The cold zaps their power, so I keep them in my vest or sleeping bag.
– Two sets of long underwear
As much we admire the explorers traveling to the ends of the Earth on large scale Expeditons it’s the everyday man (or women) exploring their own backyard that often inspire the most. Guys like Chris Dahl-Bredine, who built an experimental aircraft in his garage in order to bring a new perspective to his life & creative vision. There isn’t much glamour in this type of exploration. No sponsors footing the bill. Just hard work, cold mornings & sometimes a bit of duct tape. Part cowboy, part photographer, part mechanic, Chris’ work blends a blue collar work ethic with a special eye for landscapes and the interconnectedness of it all.
The North Pole has long fascinated adventurers, each one eager to set new records. But being first is no longer the holy grail of Arctic exploration. Polar explorer Eric Larsen shares what expeditions are like now—when the finish line is melting.
“It’s not about being first,” polar explorer Eric Larsen tells me, before we embark on a overnight winter camping trip with a group of other cold-weather loving adventurers. “It’s about being last, and seeing these places before they’re forever changed.”
Self-shot and edited whilst cycling around the world, this short film charts my winter journey into the Canadian Arctic as I completed my bike ride up the American continent. Compelled by Jack London’s assertion, that ‘any man who is a man can travel alone’, I sought an adventure of perfect solitude. Yet, as I came to realise, the harsh truths of travelling in such a formidable environment were a long way from the romantic images I’d held of this land. The Frozen Road is an honest reflection on my solo trip; of the wonder, terror and frustration I experienced when riding through the unforgiving emptiness of one of the world’s ‘last great wildernesses’.
Notable awards for the film:
‘Special Jury Mention’ – Banff Mountain Film Festival
‘Best Director’ – Bilbao Mendi Film Festival
‘Spirit of Adventure’ – 5Point Film Festival
‘Best Adventure Film’ – New York WILD
‘Best Exploration and Adventure Film’ – Fort William Mountain Film Festival
To this day, there is no record of anyone reaching the North Pole under their own power, without resupply, in winter.
English explorers Alex Hibbert, George Bullard, and James Wheeldon want to meet the challenge, and have been preparing for the journey in the Yellowknife area. They’re hoping to set out for the North Pole this fall.
All are veteran explorers — Hibbert and Bullard set a world record for the longest unsupported traverse of Greenland in 2008, while Wheeldon and Hibbert spent a winter together in northern Greenland. But they have never worked together as a trio.
Ada Blackjack was barely five feet tall and 100 pounds and lacked any wilderness skills. Left alone in the arctic, she survived by teaching herself to hunt and trap, pick roots, haul wood, make her own clothing, and avoid hungry polar bears.
Except for the polar bears, a corpse, and a small house cat named Vic, Ada Blackjack found herself alone on Wrangel Island in late June 1923. Nearly two years had passed since a schooner dropped her off with four young white explorers who intended to claim the Arctic isle for the British.
Blackjack, a petite 23-year-old Inupiaq woman, had come along as a seamstress. Her job was to sew foul-weather clothing out of animal hides so the men could survive the northern winters. The team was planning to live off six months’ worth of supplies and local game before being relieved a year later with a new crew. But when a ship didn’t show up as promised in the summer of 1922, the expedition turned desperate. Three men went for help by dogsled over the ocean ice, some 100 miles south to Siberia, leaving Blackjack on her own to care for the remaining expedition member, Lorne Knight, who was bedridden with scurvy.
The 1902 footage shows disorganized and somewhat unruly crew on the failed William Ziegler expedition to the arctic. It was the first time National Geographic did a field documentary. The 42-man team were attempting to be the first to reach the North Pole.
Today is Tuesday, 30 May, 2023
My adventures are currently on.
Your Mileage May Vary #YMMV — It probably should.
Your Mileage May Vary
It’s a one way ticket.
Take the long way.
Enjoy the ride!
Because in the end, you won’t remember the time you spent working in the office or mowing your lawn. Climb that goddamn mountain.
Please tread lightly, pack out your trash, and treat every person and location with respect.
Please do not bury waste or wipes – even those that are biodegradable. Always pack out bags, sanitary wipes, and feminine hygiene products to minimize impact on the environment and the spread of disease.
If you find any errors, have any tips, or see anything that might need improving, please let me know.