Hunting for 90 degrees North at Barneo Ice Camp

April 15, 2015 Special Guest Author

You could be forgiven for thinking that all the excitement of a trip to the North Pole ends when you get to Barneo Ice Camp.

Karl and Richard

The camp is at 89 degrees after all. Not to mention the fact that you've already experienced Longyearbyen in April, with its snow, ice, and 21 hours of daylight; you've flown 2.5 hours in an Antonov-74 over the frozen Arctic Ocean to get here; landed on an ice runway; and Barneo itself is buzzing with activity and has a sense of kinship and camaraderie that you don't find any more. You could call that a good, honest day of adventure. 

But the excitement hasn't peaked yet! The reason we're all here, is the quest for 90 degrees north, the North Pole. And as close as it is to Barneo, it's not easy to get to. Sure the powerful Mil 8 helicopters will get you there, but the navigators can have a tough time finding the exact spot. The ice is moving, constantly drifting as it floats on top of the Arctic Ocean. The pilot gets you as close as he can, but then you jump out of the helicopter, GPS in hand, and try to find the exact spot.

90 degrees north

This isn't as easy as it sounds. But wind, and weather, and drift permitting, eventually somebody cries out, "Got it!"  We all run over, and there it is, 90.00.00. This is the spot where all lines of latitude converge, everything is south from here, this is where Santa lives. We've heard about this place our entire lives. 

 And a moment later it's gone. 

 Now that's adventure! 

An adventure at Barneo Ice Camp

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