Great Bear Lake 2005

Expedition Log and Pictures

Team Details

This is a cutting edge Arctic expedition to the North West Territories of Canada which aims to make a surface crossing of ‘Great Bear Lake’ between the lower ‘Dease Arm’ peninsula and the remote settlement of Fort Franklin in the ‘Keith Arm. From enquiries made, it appears a foot crossing has never been undertaken before. It is a unique and exciting project. It may be very challenging.

The expedition departs Heathrow Airport on Saturday 19th February 2005, returning to the UK on Tuesday 8th March 2005. We fly via Calgary, continuing on to Yellowknife. (Famous for its gold and diamond mining.) We then transfer to comfortable and friendly bed & breakfast accommodation at the ‘Blue Raven.’ Here, over the next two days we will attend to last minute preparations and finish our training.

On 20th February we fly 400 miles north by privately chartered Twin Otter ski equipped aircraft to the lower Dease Arm peninsula situated on the Arctic Circle where our journey begins. Travel will be on skis, towing 40 Kg pulks of equipment and supplies. The first day will be short, but thereafter we progress between 6 to 8 hours a day until we complete the 119 miles distance to Fort Franklin. Currently information is vague about expected surface conditions, but the lake is typically well frozen and covered with snow. The terrain is low-lying and hugely expansive. During the day, the sun will create wonderful lighting effects and on clear nights the Aurora will be stunning. The weather is regarded as ‘generally stable’ in February, although temperatures can sometimes dip below –40C. At night we shall camp on the lake with a surprising degree of comfort. Once the journey is completed, we will be colleted and flown back to Yellowknife to enjoy quality time in resort before flying home.

Make no mistake; the Arctic is a beautiful, but supremely hostile environment. For this reason ‘safety’ is always top priority. It will not be compromised for any reason - because the Arctic never compromises. Prior to the journey you will be instructed on safety matters and how we must work together as a team. By the time you return to England you will have gained a rewarding insight into both the Polar environment - and your own self.