In another spring tradition, the Barneo Ice Station has opened for another season, providing the gateway for adventure travelers and explorers to make a “last degree” journey to the geographic North Pole from the Russian side of the ice.
The ice station sits roughly 60 miles from the Pole at 89º N. Latitude, and each year it has to be rebuilt thanks to the shifting ice flows at the top of the world. The process begins with two Russian built Hind helicopters scouting the region for relatively flat, smooth surfaces on the ice. Once the location is selected, the first supplies, along with a team of engineers, hits the area to go to work creating a runway. Once that runway is finished, large supply planes can land on the surface, and a full blown camp, including a Russian post office, is established.
Shortly after the camp is officially opened, visitors begin to arrive. Some are polar tourists who will make an expedition to the North Pole on skis, while others are scientists and environmentalist that come to study the area, and the effects of climate change on the health of the ice, as well as the creatures that live there.
Generally the station closes down at the end of April or early May at the latest. It is just there long enough to support the teams, and then everything is packed back on to the supply planes and shipped off for another year, when the process will begin again. But for a few short weeks each spring, it becomes a hub of arctic adventure.