The How Expeditions to the North Pole work.

HOW EXPEDITIONS TO
THE NORTH POLE WORK

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How do expeditions to the North Pole work?



Expeditions to the North Pole are often compared to a cheaper form of space travel. While the two are of course vastly different, there are similarities between the two that make both places extremely intriguing. The North Pole is considered to a wide unknown, a vast space where there is very little life form of any kind and where climate conditions are some of the hardest for the human body to endure. Because of this, the North Pole is not somewhere people often travel to for any reason but just like space, it’s important that we explore it and learn about it. There is definitely much to learn about this place in the high north and understanding what makes up this mysterious place and what may be underneath all that snow and ice will help researchers and scientists to better understand the more inhabited parts of the globe.

While travelling to the North Pole is certainly cheaper than flying to space, and possible by just about anyone who wants to do it, survival cannot be guaranteed due to the extremely harsh conditions that are found there and the months of preparation and gear that is needed to survive so far up North. Winters in the North Pole generally see temperatures of approximately -40 degrees Celsius (-40 degrees Fahrenheit) and it only reaches the freezing point in the warmest month of July, which is 0 degrees Celsius or 32 degrees Fahrenheit. The North Pole isn’t the coldest place on earth, and it’s not even the coldest place in Northern Hemisphere, due to the fact that it is so vast and flat, the cold temperature moves easily. The region has two different times of year: six months of broad daylight and six months of almost complete darkness. There are no homes to speak of in the North Pole due to that fact that it is mostly made up of the Arctic Ocean, with 6 to 12 feet of ice and snow covering that. An igloo is the closest thing that comes to any kind of real estate at the North Pole and these are generally used for only very short periods by explorers coming to learn more about the area. There are also some Inuit villages in certain areas of the North Pole and they also use igloos as their homes.

Although it may seem as though there are no natural resources to speak of on the North Pole, this desolate place is an important part of the world and finding what resources are available is just as important. The North Pole doesn’t actually belong in any specific country and so, there are no real rights claimed on the area or the resources that it contains. This can make it more difficult or easier on the researchers that go in search of new findings, depending on what is found and in what part of the North Pole. One thing that is continuing to make researching this area easier is global warming, as the ice and snow melts and makes penetrating the icy waters beneath easier. However, it is also global warming that may be destroying these resources before man ever gets a chance to see them.

Preparing for the Pole

The first step anybody must take before they go on an expedition to the North Pole is to research and understand what life is like in the region. This will offer insight as to how to prepare for the trip to the Pole and what tools are essential to bring, and how to prepare for the wildlife that may be encountered along the way. If a polar bear comes looking for human interaction, it is generally because they are more interested in the food the person is carrying than the person themselves. They are also just naturally curious about humans. The warming that is happening within the waters is bringing the bear’s time to hunt to a closer end every year and so, the bears are turning up in Inuit villages more often as they continue to find other sources of food.

Although there is very little life on the North Pole, there is some. Polar bears are the most common life found in the area although expediters may not run into many of them as they spend much of their time below the ice in the water searching for food. Global warming is causing these polar bears to lose the ice and snow patches that they use to breed, rest and live while not hunting and it is because of this that these animals are such a huge focus in the fight against global warming. Caribou and arctic fox also live in the area during certain times of the year. Although amphibians and reptiles cannot exist in the North Pole, the area is home to many different species of birds and these include: the puffin, albatross, bald eagle, peregrine falcon, and the snowy owl are a few. Other animals that exist in the North Pole are belugas and killer whales, sea otters, seals, and the walrus. Most of the animals that live in the North Pole are the 400 species of fish that live in the chilly waters of the Arctic Ocean. Arctic cod is the most common of these fish.

It cannot be stressed enough how very important it is to be prepared for a trip to the North Pole. One must be ready for every element of the trip whether it is getting there, getting back, creating shelter while there, eating while there, as well as any other aspect of life. Of course, when trekking to, or through the North Pole, there are no roads or throughways to speak of. In fact, the closest thing that may resemble a ‘road’ of any kind are the tracks of animals or people who have walked in the snow before you. Because of this, a person must walk, ski, bike, or take a dog sled through the treacherous landscape. For this reason, an excessive amount of calories needs to be taken in to compensate for the amount being expended through energy. It’s also just as important to stock up on calories before you go, which translates into simply gaining weight. The more body fat a person can have before they leave, the more fat reserves the body will have to draw on for both food and energy supply. In addition, the layer of extra fat also protects your internal core temperature from dropping too low or too rapidly.

Besides what’s on your physical body, there is also some gear and equipment that is needed to travel to the North Pole. Of course, as many layers of clothing as possible are always preferred for the same reasons that the extra layer of fat is preferred: to keep the body warm. If the body temperature becomes too cold, hypothermia will set in before the person will enter cardiac arrest. This is one reason why some expediters to the North Pole don’t survive the trip. However, it’s not only the amount of clothing but the type of clothing that is also important. Because multiple, thick layers can cause you to become overheated and then start to sweat. This sweat will then react with the cold temperatures outside of the body and can freeze immediately to the skin. For this reason, many thin layers are preferred to many thick ones and clothing should be made out of material that takes sweat away from the body. The feet should generally be fitted in warm, waterproof boots that reach at least halfway up the shin, if not to the knee as the snow gets very deep. Snowshoes should also be worn for the deeper areas so the snow can simply be walked across instead of through. It’s also important to remember while travelling across the North Pole that direction can quickly become very confusing due to the large, flat area that is mostly white, due to the snow, with breaks of water in between. While explorers in the past had to rely on simple measures such as compasses, today we are much more fortunate to have tools such as a GPS, which should always be taken on treks through the North Pole.

Besides your snowshoes and your directional equipment, you’ll also want to bring cash with you for the trip. Although you won’t be spending your money in high-end boutique stores, you will need a way to actually get to the North Pole. Because it is really just a mass of ice and snow sitting in the Arctic Ocean, it is nearly impossible for someone to get there on their own. However, there are many companies that offer tourist packages to the North Pole and they will charge different rates for travelling to the North Pole. Entry usually comes from Canada or Russia, with Canadian departures start in Resolute Bay while Russian departures come from Siberia. Both of these require a four-hour ride in a very small plane after arriving at the initial destination and after that, the plane simply leaves for you to journey the last 450 miles on your own. Generally, doing this once in a lifetime is enough for most people and so, money is also required for someone to come and get you and bring you back.

The best time to go to the Pole is between the months of March and May. This is after the period of darkness has ended and so tourists will be able to see better as well it will not be so cold and can help when dealing with many of the dangerous elements that come with this type of cold. Travelling to the Pole any later than May is during the area’s summer and this is when much melting occurs and can make travelling across unstable snow and ice very dangerous. Although the length of time for prime travelling opportunities is small, it is much safer and easier to do it during this time.

The length of time that is spent at the Pole during expeditions will definitely vary, depending on the type of travel being used, when the trip is taken, and what you are doing while you are there. Research trips obviously take much longer than tourist trips but they are also much better prepared for the conditions and for long-term stay. When dog sledding or skiing to the Pole, a week-long training course after which it will take approximately two to three weeks to get to the Pole. Renting a dogsled generally costs approximately $50,000. If you’re more interested in your time spent at the North Pole rather than actually getting there, there are trips available that will take you directly to the North Pole where a few days can be spent skiing or sledding. And if you simply want to see the North Pole, but don’t want to actually experience life on the Pole, there are also ships that will travel through the Arctic Ocean, without the passengers disembarking the ship. This is a particularly good trip for those who want to watch the whale migration.


Expeditions to the North Pole .

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