In order to access the North Pole next year, we will be relying on a runway that is built annually at a floating ice station called Barneo. Situated on the ice around 100km from the North Pole, the station drifts with the sea ice it sits on and so is never in the same place for very long. The runway, which is an area of smoothed ice, has to be strong enough to withstand the weight of aircraft landing.
Barneo has just opened for the 2017 season and the first teams heading for the North Pole have already arrived at the station. As this will be us next year, we are watching closely.
Each year the sea ice situation in the high Arctic becomes ever more precarious, so we are hoping that a successful season at Barneo this year will mean good things for us next year too. You can see how much the station drifts day by day on the charts posted on Barneo's facebook page @BarneoRU.
It's also interesting to see the complex logistics involved in setting up the camp each year.