North Pole Expeditions & Mountaineering
Every year, I ask people to come with me to the North or South Poles to see the effects of climate change with their own eyes. By bringing these people with me, I hope that the benefits these people's testimony brings will far outweigh the carbon emissions caused by their travels.
I also love moutaineering and can organise an expedition on demand.
I don't think there's any way we can save the polar bears.
Next Polar Expedition
Arctic Ocean, Last Degree to the North Pole 2013 (2 April to 16 April 2013)
A place where all roads meet, a convergence of the imaginary, the North Pole is at the axis of rotation of the Earth. At this point, all longitudes coalesce, all time-lines meet, and the hours fuse together. All directions are South… This is a mystical, mythic point whose meaning outstrips the imaginations ability to grapple with it.
That was my journal entry, on the 16th of May 1994, the day when I finally reached the North Pole for the first time after a 76 days trip on the icepack with a friend.
Many have dreamt, perhaps with trepidation, of one day reaching the North Pole, but few have ever been able to realise the desire to reach this fabled place.
However, thanks to the enormous experience of the Russians in Arctic logistics, it is now possible, for a small number of hardy souls to be able to experience a unique voyage to one of the furthest reaches of our planet, at a not too exorbitant cost.
It is proposed to transport the intrepid voyagers to the 89°, or ultimate degree, via Svalbard. The first staging point will be Longyearbyen in the heart of Svalbard, from where both Amundsen and André started for their expedition.
A specially chartered plane will then transfer the party to a Russian base (Barneo) on the Arctic Ice pack, in the proximity of the 89th degree. From there the group will set out on foot to cover the remaining 110km to the North Pole. Each member of the group will be provided with a sledge, which will contain the articles necessary to sustain them for the next 7 to 9 days. The sledge will weigh in the region of 38kg.
We will set up our tents every night, on the floating ice, in the midst of the spectacular Arctic landscape: the midnight sun, the compression ridges, open water channels between perpetually moving ice floes, as air temperatures fluctuate between –20°C and –30°C. This is a universe that I love profoundly, and I will guide you through it, so that you too can partake of the glories of this icy world, and experience at first hand the secret joy of Polar exploration.
What makes this polar trek unique ?
As a seasoned Polar explorer (IPGA affiliated) having completed record-breaking Arctic and Antarctic crossings, I have had the time and the experience to be able to select the best and highest performing technical equipment to support your journey. In my work as I mountain guide (UIAGM/IFMGA) I see time and again that the failure to complete an expedition because of equipment deficiencies is extremely frequent. In order to reduce any external reasons for not achieving the goal, I have developed an equipment kit containing articles of apparel and other, tested personally by me, and which contributed to the success of my own expeditions. (see Chapter “Equipment for the journey”)
Experiencing a challenging adventure, with reassurance and confidence in one’s equipment can make all the difference to the mental state allowing you to relax and enjoy fully this absolutely amazing trek on the middle of the Arctic Ocean.
At night we will enjoy the atmosphere of a common mess tent for dinner before retiring to sleep in private individual tents.
Qualifications and training
This polar trek is for people who want to experience something extraordinary and who are ready to dive deep into their physical and mental strenghts. Of course, one has to be in good health also and have good cadiovascular conditions. Because the participants will have to ski for long hours on the ice (in general between five and six hours) and in the same time they to pull each a 30-40 kilos sled. Not a very special task indeed.
Besides, threre are also of course the cold conditions the group will encounter. But this is more a matter of getting used to it than making strong efforts to endure the climate. I will not hesitate to teach every participant how to deal daily with the cold.
Being rested before the departure and following a regular training and preparation during the last three months will help you to make the expedition more enjoyable and safer.
How to conduct a proper training?
A regular training will have to be conducted between 2 and 4 times a week:
- Jogging: 45min - 1h30
- Biking: 1h30 - 3h
- Active walking (if possible with up and downhill): 2h - 4h
- Swimming: 30min - 1h
The regularity and the variety of the training program are important. Even if you don’t have enough time during the week, two sessions during the WE will be sufficient. For those who practice activities such indoor biking or rowing, remind that a session has to be conducted on a daily basis and for a minimum of 20min.
Please contact us with further information if needed.
Description of the trek
Although the voyage is not a very difficult one, this trek remains a real adventure in itself. First : the terrain (the icepack) can be somewhat chaotic and hazardous, second, we will for sure encounter much water and open leads. So be ready to be supple enough to zigzag between the iceblocks and careful enough to negociate the free waters with two sled attached together. Or sometimes passing them over with the skis on.
The journey begins at Longyearbyen in Svalbard, an old coal mining place located at 78 degrees North: A place which has become a centre for outdoor adventure and polar science.
We will first re-check the all equipment to make sure that every single thing will be embarked in the sledge and off course make a last test of the equipment in the field around Longyearbyen. Safety procedures and all aspects of the trek will also be reviewed.
From Longyearbyen we'll fly to approximately the degree 89 via a charter flight. We couild possibly add a small final jump with an MI 8 helicopter belonging to the Russians. The day of our flights, we could set up camp for the night or leave right away for the trek. Depending on the time of arrival.
No need to say, that apart from some difficult passages requiring all the attention to be negociated, everyone will be able to admire for long hours the extraordinary sceneries the icepack is offering every moment of the day and of the year. And the gorgeous lights which often run in the sky anytime during day and nights.
Be certain in any case that one of the most important concern I have during my treks is to help each other as much as I can. In order to make this exprience as unique as I can to each one of you.
A medical certificate will be required from all participants, attesting to the fact that they are physically fit enough to undertake the proposed journey. Evidence of travel insurance to cover medical risks should also be presented. The organizers cannot take any responsibility for any harm to participants arising from their lack of physical condition prior to undertaking the proposed expedition.
Every participant must have rescue travel insurance (like Europe-Assistance or equivalent). A copy of the contract has to be showed prior the departure of the expedition. Most of the travel insurance only covers your travel until Longyearbyen.
Under request, we can provide a personal rescue insurance for the duration of the trip (please ask for information)
Despite the fact that we will guide this trip to the best of our ability, it is important to emphasize that this expedition cannot be compared with normal organized travel, and that special conditions apply. It is also important to make clear that accident and injuries can occur and that all parties join at their own risk, and participate in the full knowledge of these facts. All participants must sign a waiver stating that they participate on this trip at their own risk.
As Air travel from Oslo to Longyearbyen could be a bottleneck, you should book your ticket well in advance and make sure that your ticket might be changed in case of weather delay.
- Alain Hubert
- From mountain guide certification to extensive experience of polar environments and expedition, Alain has it all.
On demand Expeditions
We can organise polar and mountaineering expeditions on demand. As a certifed mountain guide, I have the qualifications, background and authorisation to organise treks at your convenience. Just get in touch and we'll discuss.