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Copeland-Heger Expedition to the North Pole


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Here's an article from PR-Inside.com

A "PARTY" ON THE ICE. TWO POLAR EXPEDITIONS MEET AND GREET ON WAY TO NORTH POLE. No need for extra ice sculptures at this "party".

2009-03-24 18:46:14 - Peary-Henson Centennial Expedition joins briefly with Copeland-Heger Expedition en route to the North Pole.

Resolute Bay, Nunavut and Wilmette, IL - March 24th, 2009

There's a party on the ice today as Keith Heger of Polar Explorers and Arctic adventurer, author, and photographer Sebastian Copeland fly in from Resolute Bay, Nunavut, to resupply the Polar Explorers Peary-Henson Centennial Expedition led by Lonnie Dupre, and then embark on their own expedition to the North Pole. They'll share hot drinks and a few hours of companionship with Dupre, Stuart Smith, and Maxime Chaya before parting ways to complete their separate journeys to the North Pole. Combined, the two teams expect to cover about 900 miles of arctic ice before achieving their ultimate goal - 90 degrees North.

Dupre, Chaya, and Smith have been on the ice for nearly three weeks, enduring temperatures in the -50s and spotting polar bear tracks along their route, which commemorates the path taken during the discovery of the North Pole by Robert Peary and Matthew Henson in 1909.

Copeland and Heger plan to traverse about half of that distance while documenting ice conditions and photographing the Arctic environment. Copeland, the creator of "Antarctica: The Global Warning", is on the Board of Directors of Global Green, an environmental protection advocacy group. Copeland's expedition will lead to a forum at the UN in November chaired by Sebastian Copeland aimed at establishing an international charter of protection for the Arctic similar to the treaty of Madrid for Antarctica which declared it "land of science, land of peace".The mission is also sponsored by HP, the clothing brand Napapijri and MySpace and will be made carbon neutral by Climate Partners.

A daily audio and image blog of both expeditions is available at Polar Explorers.

And a picture of Sebastian and Keith from the blog.


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Thank you Sunstar for bringing this over! :hug:

I wish all the best and a safe trip to Sebastian & Keith as they make their trek into the North Pole. I will be looking forward to hearing about Sebastian's exhibition at the UN in November! :thumbsup:


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Thanks for keeping us up to date on Sebastian's latest project, Sunstar.

I'm glad he's using his talent to bring attention to an environment at risk. I wonder if he'll have anything to say about the waterway disputes that are happening in the high arctic right now. With the exception of Greenland (which belongs to Denmark) the arctic islands and waterways have always been left to Canada's care. But thanks to global warming, the waterways are becoming increasingly passable and Canada is currently experiencing some diplomatic disputes with Denmark, Russia, and the USA over ownership of the newly passable shipping routes.

If you'll allow me to get a bit nit picky about word choice for a moment, I have to admit I associate the words "arctic expedition" with a bigone era. Canada's north is so well settled with it's own research centres and industries that mounting an "expedition" there seems a bit redundant. Sort of like saying, "I'm mounting an expedition to California" instead of saying, "I'm taking a trip to California."

ETA: And its Nunavut, not Nunavit. Nunavut is Inuktitut for "Our land"; Nunavit is a lazy Anglophone saying "none of it".

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Sebastian is also posting updates on his blog at myspace.com/sebastiancopeland

It is widely said that Santa Claus lives at the North Pole. Why this cuddly, gentle man would pick as harsh an environment as the Pole to live in gives a glimpse into the little understood conditions of the polar regions. The Poles are the coldest environments on earth, primarily because they receive the least amount of directional heat from the sun. And yet, as the overall temperature of the Earth rises due to the green house effect, the poles are the first line of casualty at the hands of climate change, warming at twice the global average. Because the Arctic region consists primarily of a thin layer of ice covering the ocean - unlike Antarctica, its sibling to the South, which is a vast and elevated continent with an average ice thickness of two miles - the Northern polar ice cap is particularly susceptible to this warming trend.

In fact, it is now widely believed that the ice there could be all but gone by as early as 2013 in the summer months, losing progressively more of its ice cover in the winter months. In short, the Arctic is in trouble. As one of the great climate regulators in the Northern hemisphere, vast ice losses in the north threatens the thin balance of its ecosystem, in place for hundreds of thousands of years, and spells trouble for the world.

One hundred years ago, Admiral Peary led the first successful expedition to the North Pole, reaching it on April 6th 1909 with Mathew A. Henson and four Inuit. In Peary's day, the ice at Pole was twelve feet deep on average. Today, the ice is around five and half feet deep. The changing icy environment spells an ominous future for the Arctic region which, unlike Antarctica, does not benefit from an international treaty of protection. This needs to change.

Warmer global temperatures means the opening of new maritime sea lanes, increasing prospect of exploitation of the Arctic's natural resources and further disruption of an environment in place for about a million years. Consider that one oil platform in the Arctic has a 33% to 55% chance of a major spill. That is for just one platform! Oil spills in sea ice are exponentially more disastrous than in open sea: they are impossible to clean up. What's more, because sea ice is virtually always in motion, a spill affects thousands of square miles. This is tragic for the Arctic's biodiversity, notably the endangered Bear. Oil on its coat means a bear will poison itself to death whilst licking itself clean. As if they needed another challenge.

It is sad that the eight surrounding nations of the Arctic look at this devastated region as an opportunity to further the damage. Isn't it time we rally behind a policy of conservation, preservation and investment in technologies that will takes us away from this destructive cycle? Einstein said: "Today's problems cannot be solved if we still think the way we thought when we created them". Today, we have the tools to rethink our future, and commit to a change that can help us meet our intellectual and spiritual potential. And give our children a future we can be proud of.

My expedition is dedicated to educating people and engaging them to take action by getting involved; and committing to reducing our carbon footprint, eliminating waste and becoming true eco soldiers. I will be skiing with my partner Keith Heger for over a month in frigid temperatures pulling heavy sledges. But you don't have to walk to the top of the world to be an eco warrior. You can do this from anywhere. I invite you to visit www.globalgreen.org and join the movement today!

I hope you will follow me on my trip by visiting the daily blog that I will be keeping from the ice. This is going to be an adventure! See you on the other side.


There is a short video clip at Pix Morning News

Lovely Pride, Nunavut was misspelled in the article at PR-Inside.com. I've edited my post.

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This is the last add of Sebastian to his blog on My Space, posted on 14th April 2009:

Rush hour traffic.

One thing you would not expect up here on the ice is a traffic jam. Yet,

that is effectively what happened to us at the end of our day.


we lost a mile south overnight to the drift, not to mention the

easterly drift which has increased to two latitude points a day, for

the last two days! With that, and yesterday's disappointing distance,

today's focus was on performance: I was determined to do 14 nautical

miles. Less than that, and I thought our prospects to make the pole by

the 26th were poor, a sentiment I knew was shared among our logistics

team. Setting off, I was gripped by the irony of bringing a time

pressure into such a seemingly timeless environment. Such a human thing

to do. In our communion with Nature up here, this felt so out of

context. And sad. Even out here, we cannot help but bring our social

baggage. Brought to focus on speed and efficiency, I could not help but

feel upset at myself: here as well, in the end, I would be competing.

This meant no indulgences in travel, and no shoot time until I felt we

could afford it. On a day like today this proved more painful than I

thought, as we saw big weather shifts, and with it some visuals which

were new to us. Battered again by winds from the south west lashing out

and turning us into whip boys, a cloud cover shortly set in,

progressively covering the sun. The landscape became tough to read, as

all the already low contrast of this white environment was gone--save

the blue and green hues off the pressure ridges. Imagine walking into a

thick white fog, but with no fog: that is more or less what it felt

like out here--but add 25 mph winds! Luckily, the clouds lifted, but

the wind persisted, increasing through the day. We mostly lucked out

with the terrain and, save a couple of tough spots, benefitted at last

from friendlier large flat pans. But towards the end of the day, we

came upon a wide wet lead: open water near our bank, and no clear idea

of how solid the ice was on the other side. We proceeded to walk to the

east as one spot in the distance seemed cluttered with slush that might

help our passage. That is when something very different came into view.

Two unidentified black spots, standing where we were headed. We these

humans? As we approached, it turned out to be John Huston and Tyler

Fish, who are also going for the pole, their trip unsupported! Within

millions a square miles we run into two other dots who like ourselves,

elected to subject themselves to this exercise in self torture! To be

fair we knew they were within striking distance of us and were, too,

caught in this powerful easterly drift. We had a good moment with them,

as they put on their water suits and we thought to set up camp and wait

until morning as the crossing looked sketchy. This was the end of our

day, the beginning of theirs. Surely by morning, the lead would freeze

over. But soon they were on the other side and gave us the thumbs up!

We quickly gathered our stuff and made the testy crossing through

slush. Both Keith and I put one boot through the ice, but made it

safely. On the other side, these boys had left an angel in the snow as

a sign of good luck. They are on the same tight schedule as we are. We

eventually caught up with them and shared tracks for about an hour,

when we called it a day after a solid 14 hours. We are tired but

satisfied with 14 nautical miles of true north travel. Factoring the

drift and the weaving, we probably did three miles more than that. We

will lose some overnight but currently our position is N87°42.449 and

W72°20.880. Temperature were in the order of minus 22F degrees not

factoring windshield. Good night and thank you for being with us.

Sebastian Copeland's My Space

And his mom wrote today:

16 apr 2009 02.09

Hey Everyone! Sebastian's Mom here! It's 1.30 AM in France, and I've just had a phone call (by radio-satellite) from Sebastian who told me to tell you that he is extremely grateful for all the support he's getting from you all! He says it's really important for him and for Keith to know that there are so many people out there rooting for them, and he's counting on you all to spread the word to get as many of your friends and family to follow his daily journal. He sounded good except that his voice was a little slurred from a frostbite at the end of his tongue from breathing in the icy air. He thinks they're pretty well on course to get to the North Pole before the ice starts to seriously melt. I told him that following his daily journal was like watching a TV series every day with an amazing cliff-hanger at the end of each episode, and he laughed! Thanks for the loyal support. It's important for me, also, to to know that people are aware of the supreme effort my son is making to enlighten as many people as possible

Good luck to Sebastian for his trip!! :thumbsup:

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Hard day today for Sebastian:

Leads and fog

You can tell a "wet" or open lead from a frozen one for the discolorisation on the ice at the water's edge. A wet lead has a brownish hue which noticeably breaks from the duotone spectrum of white and blue of the Arctic ice. From an ice mound even just a couple of feet high, you can spot a large open lead from a distance; and invariably, tension sets into the pit of your stomach. An open leads means business: it will generally cut your route (for obvious reasons you are more likely to run into an east/west lead when traveling north), and challenge you for a strategy to bypass it. Often, this will involve a calculated risk. At best, a wet lead will cost you time; at worst it will kill you. We crossed so many open leads today (the strong winds of the last few days have surely helped put more cracks in the ice) that I lost count. Sivce the sea ice feels and looks like a desert, it's a always a mind twisterr to acknowledge that leads are not canals or rivers: they immediately drop to the ocean's floor; and that below your feet, the ice is just a few feet thick floating above the same great depth!

After being robbed of two miles ovenight to the south drift, we set off onto broken-up terrain, which slowed us down. Route finding and lead crossing strategy are some of the fundementals of North Pole travel. And today, we had plenty of opportunity for both. The weather was not bad to start at minus 22F, sunny and a light 5mph breeze. You always get an elated sense of relief and satisfaction when you beat the challenge of an open lead. Sometimes you "trick" it, sometimes you luck out; other times you work hard at it. But when nature does the work for you, that is undoubtedly one of the greatest shows on Earth. By afternoon, we got trapped in a mangled maze of twisted and fragmented cracks system, spread over a couple of miles. But unlike the seemingly still, icy world which we have mainly been privy to, today--like yesterday--displayed the enormous power that lurks the sea. Upon approaching a massive open lead, we spotted what seemed like a pinch crowded with ice blocks. In fact, those blocks--some weightiing multiple tons--were being shoved around like rubber duckies and pressed into a 20 foot pressure ridge right before our eyes. A spectacle of sound and sights of incredible proportion which not many people get to see!

Due in part to the abundance of open water, we were soon shrouded in a thick ice fog. And over the course of the day, the winds grew again to 25-35 mph strong with visibility reduced to a couple of hundred feet. Ice fogs, as you'd expect from the name, are not warm. Temperature dropped to -27F and high humidity which makes it feel 10 degrees lower. Between the terrain and the conditions, travel became increasingly difficult. Additionally, the snow drift from the wind covered many of the small wet leads making them blend in and seem frozen--a challenge when you're in the lead.

We are also now constantly thinking about food, as it is now clear that we have to ration or we will run out, and it is affecting our psyche. We traveled for 12.5 hours and only covered 10 nautical miles--probably two more factoring drift. We are still flying east and our position upon stopping was N88°15.115 and W58°13.915. Today was tough. We hope for better conditions tomorrow. Thank you for keeping with us.

Sebastian Copeland My Space

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