12.04.2014 -30 °C
Each year in April, the Russian Geographical Society builds a spectacular tent camp for scientists, explorers and tourists. The Logistical effort to build Barneo is fascinating. They called it Barneo, because, ahem, well, it is not Borneo ! 🙂
Take off from Spitsbergen, Norway on an Antonov AN-74 “Arctic” airplane, nicknamed “Cheburashka” (a comic figure with large ears) …
… with 32 passengers max
On the flight deck with 4 pilots and navigators, plus one flight engineer and one steward (drinks only during the 2.5 hrs)
Landing on the ice runway at Barneo, 89°12.562’ N (today’s drift position: 87 km from the North Pole)
Built every year from scratch with a scraper tractor, which is parachuted in at the beginning, and then sunk (without oils or fuels) at the end of each season
Impressions from the drifting ice camp
Toilet facilities. A hard affair at temperatures around -30 °C
Tents are for 12 people max and heated to ca 12 °C. Excellent sleeping bags are provided.
The main public mess tent
Rules. Against ice bears and ice cracks.
Current overview of “last degree” expeditions to the Pole by foot or dogsled
With Victor Serov, the Russian expedition leader
(and Ice Figure Skating World Champion Miki Ando from Japan …
… who went for the first ice skate at the North Pole.)
With Horacio Galanti, world class explorer of 7summits2poles
Just a day before, Artur Chilingarov, Russia’s most famous explorer, Member of Parliament, Presidential Envoy for International Cooperation in the Arctic and Antarctic, President of ASPOL had visited the Barneo Camp.
His daughter Ksenia Chilingarova produces the Russian Arctic Explorer clothing.
North Pole Ice Camp Barneo patch or sticker anyone ? A variety of passport stamps and other souvenirs are available from the friendly Russians
Guns against icebears. There was a rare sighting of a female with 2 cubs in the vicinity.
A symbolic foto opportunity at the Ice Camp Barneo
30 min helicopter ride …
… on a 25-seater MI-8T Russian helicopter …
… to a provisional pole at the North Pole on the constantly moving ice (ca. 4.000 km per year!) …
… at -41 °C …
… and 90°N 00′ 00″ * …
— on Horacio Galanti’s GPS.
A certificate for the rest of the world
It is no surprise that the Russians have a certain right to claim the North Pole, as their territory circles around more than half of it – and they are uniquely capable of operating in those difficult and cold conditions – as proven by Ice Camp Barneo. It is now scientific fact that the first person to reach the North Pole was Russian Ivan Papanin in 1937 – and not Frederick Cook or Robert Peary, who faked their accounts (North Pole History ). The South Pole (McMurdo Base) is instead controlled by the US-Americans.
The first and only drive to the Geographic North Pole by car was the Russian Yemelya Expedition by Vasily Elagin, in 2013, crossing the whole Arctic Cap from Russia to Canada. The first and only drive by motorbike to the Geographic North Pole was the amazing Shinji Kazama in 1987. In comparison, the 2007 English “Top Gear” drive to the Magnetic North Pole of 1996 went to 78°N “only”. Think about it…