Get access to everything we publish when you sign up for Outside+.
MSR®-sponsored polar explorers Eric Larsen and Ryan Waters depart Boulder, Colorado today for Northern Ellesmere Island—the starting point of what will likely be the world’s last unsupported ground expedition to the geographic North Pole.
The pair aims to break the 2006 expedition speed record. To do so, they must overcome sub-zero weather, polar bears, and 500 miles of increasingly dangerous icepack in less than 49 days. ‘The Last North’ expedition will require Larsen and Waters to traverse the unstable, moving ice pack via skis, snowshoes, and, in worst-case scenarios, by swimming through the semi-frozen slush.
“The icepack is rapidly shrinking. Today, it’s nearly impossible to safely travel over ground,” Larsen said. “Our survival is 100 percent dependent on our gear’s ability to perform in hostile, sub-zero terrain.”
Given the challenging terrain and temperatures, the pair looked to MSR, the engineers behind some of the world’s most reliable, high-quality gear, for tailor-made equipment to take on the Arctic.
In order to pull their supplies—some 350 pounds of food and gear—in Kevlar sleds, Larsen and Waters will rely on MSR’s lightweight Lightning Ascent™ snowshoes for sure-footed, aggressive traction when they hit terrain too unstable and challenging for skis. And they’ll depend on MSR’s Flight™ 2 poles, featuring innovative SureLock™ push-button technology, for stability and zero-slip performance throughout their traverse.
Among the many challenges Larsen and Waters will face in the arctic, maintaining adequate hydration and energy levels will be of utmost concern. To rapidly melt snow, boil water and cook meals, the pair will turn to MSR’s legendary, extreme-condition XGK-EX™ stove. Trusted on expeditions in remote corners of the world for over 35 years, the XGK-EX stove offers unrivaled performance, dependability and better multi-fuel burning capabilities than any other stove on the market.
Throughout the expedition, keep up with trip reports by following MSR’s blog, www.thesummitregister.com, and check in on minute-by-minute progress updates on Erik Larsen’s website, www.ericlarsenexplore.com.
About MSR® (Mountain Safety Research®)
Seattle-based MSR has been engineering standard-setting high-performance outdoor equipment since 1969. A commitment to quality manufacturing and innovation ensures customers are outfitted with the finest, most reliable gear available for outdoor adventures. MSR product lines include: stoves, fuel, cookware, water treatment and hydration systems, shelters, trekking poles, snowshoes, snow tools, and backcountry poles. The majority of MSR products are made in the company’s Seattle, U.S.A. and Cork, Ireland manufacturing facilities. For more information, visit www.msrgear.com.