The Arctic Project is a sailing and climbing expedition planned for the summer of 2012.  Our team of five (four South Africans and a Scot) will set sail in Appin, Scotland, crossing the Atlantic to spend the arctic summer in Greenland, Baffin Island, Northern Canada and Alaska.

We aim to complete the fabled NW Passage, navigating the ice-strewn waters in our 10m fiberglass sailboat, Dodo’s Delight.  Along the way we hope to establish several new big-wall climbs, many approachable only by boat.  Prominent destinations include the relatively untouched rock walls of Upernavik on the west coast of Greenland, Pond Inlet on the northern shore of Baffin Island, Arctic Bay in Northern Canada and, of course, anything else interesting that we come across!

Despite its remoteness, the Arctic is arguably the region hardest hit and most endangered by global warming.  Rapidly melting ice fields and the accumulation of the rest of the world’s toxins are causing many unwelcome changes. Add to this mounting pressure to mine resources exposed by retreating ice and plans to make the NW and NE passages fully-fledged shipping routes, and it’s easy to see why the area is an environmental battleground.

Our expedition aims to promote awareness of the region in its modern-day state. We will create a short film that captures the beauty and diversity of the environment and the modern way of life of its people. We will also compare the amount of sea ice we find to older photographs to provide a sense of the magnitude of change that the area is experiencing.

Our goal is to present the Arctic as we find it; not as one sees it through the media.  Hopefully, our efforts will help to generate greater public interest in preserving one of the world’s last pristine environments.

The shimmering cliffs of Pond Inlet, Baffin Island

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