The North Pole Is Open For Business!

The famous (floating!) Barneo Ice Camp is the last stop before the top of the world

One of the adventure world's annual rites of spring has come to pass with the opening of the Barneo Ice Camp. The floating Arctic base will serve as a temporary launching point for excursions to the North Pole, with researchers and adventure travelers all completing "last degree" journeys from there.

For those who aren't familiar with Barneo, it's a temporary camp created each spring by a private Russian company. In order to establish the Arctic base, the company 1) locates a suitably large piece of ice, 2) drops a team of engineers onto that surface by parachute, 3) they build structures,  tents and a runway that's large enough for big Ilyushin aircraft to land, and then 4) those planes deliver more equipment and, later, Arctic adventurers.

Typically Barneo is only open for a few weeks each spring. It's there to serve as a base of operations for a very limited time before warm weather forces it to close down again. The camp helps grant access to the North Pole between the winter freeze and the summer thaw. In the past, helicopters working out of Barneo would retrieve full-distance skiers coming from either side of the world. Since no one is skiing that route this year, there's no need to conduct those operations.

In case you're planning you're own expedition north, this year's camp is located at 89° 30'03" N and 167° 59'20" E. That puts it roughly 35 kilometers (22 miles) from the Pole. Temperature is reportedly a balmy -20ºC/-4ºF, and the camp intends to stay open until April 22.

This story was first published on The Adventure Blog.