How to get to the North Pole quickly and safe

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North Pole - Pinguins

The North Pole is one of the most inaccessible areas of the Earth, which doesn’t stop becoming increasingly popular with tourists.

This place is unique: the ocean, the ice, and everywhere you look – everything around is just to the south. Although people have been trying to get to the North Pole for almost three hundred years, you can now get there in a week.

Technically, the North Pole is a virtual point through which the axis of the Earth’s rotation passes. This point is located in the central part of the Arctic Ocean. There is no concept of geographic longitude here because all meridians converge at the Pole. Also, all time zones of the planet are not working here, and travelers are free to use any convenient time, for example, Greenwich Mean Time (Coordinated Universal Time, aka UTC) or the time zone of their home country. Because of its location, the day at the North Pole lasts about 186-193 days and the polar night about 172-178 days.

Polar bear

In contrast to the South Pole, which is located approximately in the center of Antarctica, the land at the North Pole is not found – the nearest islands to it are Greenlandic Kaffelubben and ATOW1996, and the nearest settlement was the settlement of Alert (Ellesmere Island, Canada). Ayrth is located 817 kilometers from the geographic North Pole.

The first references to the North Pole date back to the middle of the 15th century – that’s when this term was first used for the point at which the axis of rotation of the Earth crosses its surface in the Northern Hemisphere. Earlier, at the end of the XIV century, written sources mentioned the name “Arctic Pole.”

The first attempt to reach the North Pole was made in 1607 when the English navigator Henry Hudson (the one after whom the bay off the coast of Canada would later be named) decided to use the northern sea route from Europe to China. However, after reaching the northern tip of Spitsbergen, the expedition ran into the Arctic ice and turned back.

Arctic - North pole

By the end of the 19th century, several British, Russian, and American expeditions had attempted to complete the work begun by Hudson, but none of them could reach a point north of 82deg. At the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries, scientists and adventurers turned the goal of going to the North Pole into an actual race. The term “Farthest North” even appeared in the English language, meaning the northernmost latitude reached by expeditions on their way to the cherished “peak of the Earth”.

At the beginning of the twentieth century, two explorers at once – Frederick Cook and Robert Peary – announced the conquest of the planet’s northernmost point within a year. However, the timing of Peary’s expedition indicated that he could not reach the North Pole as quickly as he claimed, and Cook’s claim was not initially believed. It is still a mystery which of them conquered the North Pole.

The first, who nevertheless reached the northernmost point of the planet, were 16 passengers of the dirigible “Norway,” who in 1926 completed a transatlantic expedition, reaching the cherished 90deg northern latitude. The organizer and inspirer of the flight was the great Norwegian traveler Roald Amundsen, the first conqueror of the South Pole of the planet.

However, flying over the North Pole may not be the limit of humanity’s dreams. On April 23, 1948, the Soviet expedition “North-2″, led by Alexander Kuznetsov, took off in three planes from Kotelny Island, glaciated at 90deg00’00” north latitude camp, and conducted the first official research on the North Pole ice.

the atomic icebreaker "50 Years of Victory"
the atomic icebreaker “50 Years of Victory”

Today anyone can reach the northern tip of the world, although this pleasure is not cheap. The easiest and most comfortable way to be at the North Pole is to cruise on the atomic icebreaker “50 Years of Victory”, which paves its way to breaking the Arctic ice up to several meters thick. Travel time is six days, and it will take the same amount of time to get back to the port of Murmansk. Geographically the North Pole does not belong to any country. Still, the journey to it would probably have to be made from one of the Arctic countries – Russia, Canada, Norway, Denmark (via Greenland), or the USA.

Once at the North Pole, the ship stops, and everyone gets to walk on the ice and even swim in the Arctic Ocean. The sights here are a landscape of eternal ice, extending hundreds of kilometers across the horizon.

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