A HUGE congratulations to our team who reached the North Pole at 1 PM (Norwegian time) today. They skied the last five miles of the expedition under sunny skies with a slight wind from the North. In the words of the team "it was the perfect finish to a great expedition." After reaching the North Pole they had a short celebration before getting picked up by helicopter and returned to the Borneo basecamp where they boarded a charter flight back to Longyearbyen.
If you're thinking that is a lot to absorb in one day you're right! Standing at the top of the world you have to remind yourself that you are at the only spot on the globe where every direction is south. There is no marker welcoming you, and no sign to tell you you've reached your destination. In fact, the North Pole looks no different than any other piece of ice that you have passed during the journey! It's only with a GPS (or sextant) that you can fix the exact location - and even then it is sometimes hard to find. But it is a very special moment... and one that will stay with each team member forever.
Hopping on the helicopter it can feel strange to cover so much ground (okay, ice) with so little effort. As the team flew to Borneo over the pack ice, sometimes as low as several hundred feet above the ice, they had a bird-eye view of the ice that they had just traversed. It is a very satisfying feeling to watch the ice pass beneath you knowing that all the hard work is over!
Our team reached Longyearbyen in the evening and settled in at the hotel where they showered (ahhh...) and had a celebratory dinner. You can listen to some of their final comments in the audio posts below.
We are so proud of this team and their achievement. A big congratulations to Elham, Ian, Andrea, Taylor, Keith, and Rick. Way to go!!!