Day 29 – "At least no one died…"

On walking up to a lead, AJ turned around and asked me if I thought it was safe. I responded, ‘Maybe, take a few steps out there and see what happenss.’ AJ thought it should be nominated for the quote of the day (not that we have one yet – quote of the day that is).

AJ’s hesitation is not unfounded. After a scary dunk a couple days ago, he is taking all the right precautions to be safe. Still, it’s a delicate balance. Part of what we do every day is inherently unsafe. Also, we are traveling under finite time constraints. We have to be at the pole by April 26th. Therefore, we need to factor efficiency and our forward progress.

My comment to AJ was simply acknowledging all these factors. A quick visual assessment of the ice – whitish in color with one inch diameter ice flowers – indicated it was passable. A winding seam down the middle of the two sides suggested some instability. Other clues: no open water anywhere near and some frozen over flow pieces.

‘You can’t think about these things too much,’ my old dog sledding boss Arleigh Jorgenson used to say. Loading up his dog truck with 34 sled dogs, gear and a month’s supply of food for a three day drive to Yellowknife and an expedition north of Great Slave Lake, we were an accident waiting to happen Yet, we were successful.

‘Well, no one died…’

Read the rest of Eric’s update at


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