For polar expeditions, climbing the North Pole is the big test. In essence, there are not many journeys that are more extreme than this one. To achieve this monumental goal, you’ll need serious logistics and planning. However, due to sea ice and its being in total darkness for more than half a year, exploring the North Pole is only possible for a short period.
In case you go too early, you’ll end up in the dark and extreme temperatures before you know it. On the other hand, if you go late, the ice will begin to melt, and you might end up on a frozen island floating in the Arctic Ocean. Luckily, we’ll list some facts about the North Pole in the hope of helping you achieve your goal.
Why the North Pole Suits Your Climbing Adventure
Before we talk about guides to climb the North Pole, let’s first see why people do it. First, this is the northernmost point of our planet. For geography noobs, it’s where the axis and surface of the Earth meet. No matter which direction you chose while over there, you’ll be going south. It’s the opposite of the South Pole, obviously, and it’s somewhat warmer, as the highest temperatures reach 32 degrees Fahrenheit.
The first expedition to the North Pole began in the 1800s. It was William Parry in 1827 who was the leader of a team to reach the northernmost point of Earth. After his expedition, Norwegians and the Swedes would try a land-based campaign and try to fly over it. Nevertheless, it wasn’t until the late 1940s when Soviet scientists would actually step foot on the North Pole and spend three days exploring it.
In the last couple of decades, commercial exploration of the North Pole became a thing. More and more adventurers are beginning to go over there, as it’s a unique experience that only a few live through. And it’s easy to understand why someone would sign up for it. In some ways, it’s like going to the Moon for the first time. There aren’t many unique experiences left on Earth, yet reaching the northernmost point on Earth is still a hell of an experience.
The North Pole Isn’t Filled With Land
Unlike its southbound cousin, the South Pole, the North Pole doesn’t have any land. It’s, in fact, a gigantic island of ice floating in the ocean. Unfortunately, over the last forty years, research suggests that this ice mass is shrinking. This is one of the major signs of global warming, and we should talk about it more at some other time.
The way we monitor the North Pole is by using satellites. Scientists combine daily images to see how fast the Arctic circle is shrinking. Of course, we’re not here to bum you out, but the results from the last few years are not good. They show that we’re heading towards a breakdown faster than it was first thought.
The Coldest Place on Earth Is Not the North Pole
Although both poles of our planet are pretty cold, the north one is warmer than its southern cousin. Both places are so chilly because there is no direct sunlight. On the horizon, the Sun is always low, and it can’t warm them the way it does the rest of our planet.
During the winter, on the North Pole, the Sun is so low that there’s almost six months of complete darkness. This means that days and nights become the same, and they’re both cold as hell. However, on the South Pole, it’s even colder. This is because it has actual land, which isn’t as warm as the ocean that surrounds the north and elevates the temperature.
Time Zone Is Different in the North Pole
This might sound like something straight from the Twilight Zone but bear with us. Namely, there is no meaning to how we perceive time on the North Pole. And if you add to that the lack of sun and people, it gets really bizarre, doesn’t it? Well, since there are no people around you and days are nights, the concept of time is useless.
Researchers who find themselves over there use time zones from neighboring countries or decide their own. This way they can sync with supply and rescue ships. However, on the other side of the planet, on the South Pole, things are more conventional. Due to numerous research stations, time functions properly with actual zones.
How Do These Facts Affect My Climb?
Not having actual ground and being dark, the North Pole doesn’t seem like the best of places to visit. And yes, that’s true. It’s not the safest. However, if you visit it at the right time, that is, from April to July, you won’t have any problems. The patch of land you stand on won’t detach from the rest and float out in the Arctic Ocean, and there will be sunlight.
On the other hand, polar travel to the north during those months will mean bearable temperatures. As we’ve said, the temperature at the North Pole is low, but it’s not as low as in the south. Thirty-two degrees Fahrenheit is more than acceptable for expeditions, and with the right gear, you can last well over a day.
When it comes to time, well, it’s also not that big of a deal. Sure, it might be confusing at first, but you get used to it. Since no people live at the North Pole, you won’t need to sync with anyone. You and your team adjust watches to one another, or with your supply or get-away ship. After all, they’re the only thing that matters when you’re there.
Additional Precautionary Measures
Before we conclude our guide to climbing the North Pole, we should mention some other helpful tips. Check these out:
- Prepare for anything: Polar regions are naturally dangerous, let alone the very north of our planet. As such, we suggest that your wardrobe consists of the best and warmest gear you can buy. So, don’t save money when packing.
- Sunscreen and sunglasses: Although it might seem awkward to combine shades and extreme cold, it’s actually pretty important. Due to a weak layer of ozone, the sunlight is extremely dangerous to your skin and eyes.
- Hypothermia: Extreme temperatures mean that it’s possible to suffer from hypothermia. Therefore, you should be aware of symptoms like slurred speech, confusion, sleepiness, and constant shivering.
- Health check-up: Before you go, we strongly propose that you visit your doctor for a complete body inspection. From head to toes, it’s vital to know how well your body is prepared before you face these extreme conditions.