Dream of an adventure to the Arctic and you are, without a doubt, dreaming of a North Pole expedition. Endless horizons of white perfection. A whole century of extreme human endeavours, of dreams, of explorers lost and found, of insurmountable challenges and boundless adventures. A Guide to the North Pole – The Mother of all Arctic Adventures, brings you one of our world’s most unobtainable travel destinations.
North Pole expeditions are certainly not for the faint of heart, although a visit to Russia’s Barneo Ice Camp is not as challenging as you might imagine. Not many luxuries can be afforded up this far north, granted, yet accommodation for visitors is certainly comfortable enough. A fully-guided visit will see you in the hands of an incredibly competent expedition team, whose main aim is to not only ensure you come home with an incredible experience but to also keep you safe, happy and (for the most part) toasty warm.
As opposed to the South Pole which lies on Antarctica – a bona fide continent – the North Pole is ever-fleeting. Or rather, ever-floating. A permanently frozen sheet of ice where the planet’s axis intersects with its outer surface, leisurely cruising in the heart of the Arctic Ocean, the North Pole has been enticing explorers for well over a century. In winter, the north polar ice expanse doubles in size when compared to summer, and this constantly changing horizons are the primary reasons no human has ever settled here. That and the insane winter cold and crazy freezing winds, we assume.
The North Pole is owned by no-one, as the six closest nations to it (Norway, Russia, Iceland, Denmark, Canada and the USA) boast navigation and exploration privileges in the Arctic Ocean which only extend about 200 nautical miles from their respective coastlines. You don’t need a visa to visit the North Pole. All you need is behind-the-scenes access.
Visiting Barneo Ice Camp on a North Pole expedition
A fascinating place to visit, Barneo Ice Camp is a temporary research camp run by Russia, one which welcomes visitors during Spring every year, just before the big ice melt forces it to be packed up for yet another year. Russian oceanographer Kirill Kivva calls the Arctic Ocean the ‘kitchen’ of the Northern Hemisphere and it is at this floating camp where much environmental research is carried out. The Arctic, it may surprise you to learn, is an incredibly rich environment where (animal) life thrives, and whose health is a pivotal determiner of the health of our whole planet, in general. Global climate changes and their significance cannot be studied without in-depth research of the Arctic and all the waters around the North Pole.
The Barneo base itself is a phenomenal feat of polar engineering, one that is repeated in March every year. The first step is to locate a large-enough ice floe which could potentially hold the camp. This is done by helicopter. Then, once the ideal ‘ice mothership’ is located, everything needed to create Barneo is airlifted in. Tents, personnel, food, fuel, heavy equipment, and all the high-tech gizmos needed, are brought in by helicopter. The second task is to build a proper runway. Well, a semi-stable icy runway, that is, so that proper expedition planes can land. Building Barneo Ice Camp is truly a mammoth task of insane proportions and considered one of the most rewarding and undoubtedly unique travel destinations in the world.
We’re not sure what is more memorable: taking the 2.5hr flight over the Arctic Ocean to reach Barneo Ice Camp…or finding a souvenir store once you get there.
Our 3-day fly-in tour of Barneo Ice Camp, with springboard visit to stunning Spitsbergen, is your ticket to an unforgettable North Pole expedition. Contact us for more details if you’d like a seat on what will undoubtedly be the flight of your life.
Author: Laura Pattara
“Laura Pattara is a modern nomad who’s been vagabonding around the world, non-stop, for the past 13 years. She’s tour guided overland trips through South America and Africa, travelled independently through the Middle East and is now in the midst of a 5-year motorbike odyssey from Germany to Australia.”