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For centuries, countless explorers, servicemen, scientists and tourists have attempted to reach the North Pole. Methods of travel have included ships, balloons, aircraft, dog-sleds, skidoos and even a motorbike, as well as the arduous business of sledge-hauling. More expeditions have failed than succeeded, and it is estimated that only 72 people have reached the North Pole from the coast by surface traverse (Headland, 2001).

The following is a selection of significant North Pole achievements and previous successful non-commercial sledge-hauling expeditions (ie. independently organised expeditions without guides). With one exception, all the sledge-hauling expeditions set off from the recognised start point of the coast. All non-commercial unsuccessful women's attempts are also shown.

In 1997, the M&G Polar Team were members of the first all-women's expedition to the North Pole. This expedition was a relay organised by the Polar Travel Company (www.polartravel.co.uk) involving two guides, Denise Martin and Matty McNair. As such, the expedition is not included in the following list.


1908
Frederick Cook (US)
Claimed to reach North Pole using dog-sleds and sledge-hauling
1909
Robert Peary (US), Matthew Hensen (US) and others
Claimed to reach North Pole using dog-sleds and sledge-hauling
1926
Richard Byrd (US) and others
Claimed to fly over North Pole in an aircraft
Roald Amundsen (Nor), Lincoln Ellsworth (US), Umberto Nobile (It) and others
Flew over North Pole in an airship
1948
Aleksandr Kuznetsov (USSR) and 23 others
Flew to North Pole and landed
1959
James Calvert (US) and crew
Surfaced at North Pole in nuclear submarine
1968
Ralph Plaisted (US) and 3 others
Reached North Pole using aircraft and skidoos
1969
Wally Herbert (GB) and 3 others
First surface traverse definitely to reach North Pole. Part of Arctic crossing using dog-sleds with resupplies
Myrtle and Hugh Simpson (GB)
Unsuccessful attempt to reach North Pole sledge-hauling
1977
Yuri Kuchiyev (USSR) and crew
Reached North Pole in an ice-breaker
1979
Dmitriy Shparo and 6 others (USSR)
Reached North Pole sledge-hauling with resupplies
1982
Sir Ranulph Fiennes (GB) and Charlie Burton (GB)
Reached North Pole during Transglobe Expedition using mechanised transport
1986
Will Steger (US), Ann Bancroft (US) and 4 others
Reached North Pole using dog-sleds with resupplies
Madeline Griselin (Fr) and 7 other women (Fr)
Unsuccessful attempt to reach North Pole sledge-hauling
Jean-Louis Etienne (Fr)
Reached North Pole solo using dog-sled with resupplies
1988
Dmitriy Shparo and 12 others (USSR and Can)
Reached North Pole as part of Arctic crossing using dog-sleds with resupplies
1989
Robert Swan (GB) and 7 others
Reached North Pole sledge-hauling with resupplies
1990
Erling Kagge (Nor) and Borge Ousland (Nor)
Reached North Pole sledge-hauling without resupply, after 3rd team-member evacuated
1994
Borge Ousland (Nor)
Reached North Pole sledge-hauling solo without resupply
Alain Hubert (Belg) and Didier Goetghebuer (Belg)
Reached North Pole sledge-hauling with resupply
1995
Richard Weber (Can) and Mikhail Malakov (Russ)
Reached North Pole and returned to Canada sledge-hauling without resupply
1997 Atchan Miyagawa (Jap), Nobu Narita (Jap) and Dave Scott (NZ)
Reached North Pole sledge-hauling with resupply
Stephen Martin (GB) and David Mitchell (GB)
Reached North Pole sledge-hauling without resupply, after re-starting on sea-ice north of coast
Hyoichi Kono (Jap)
Reached North Pole solo sledge-hauling with resupplies
Pam Flowers (US)
Unsuccessful solo attempt to reach North Pole sledge-hauling
1998 Rune Gjelnes (Nor) and David Hempleman-Adams (GB)
Reached North Pole sledge-hauling with resupplies
2000 Rune Gjelnes (Nor) and Torry Larsen (Nor)
Reached North Pole sledge-hauling while crossing Arctic Ocean without resupply
Alan Chambers (GB) and Charlie Paton (GB)
Reached North Pole sledge-hauling without resupply, after 2 team-members evacuated
Ola Skinnarmo (Sw)
Reached North Pole sledge-hauling with resupply, after team-mate evacuated

Paul Crowley (Can) and Paul Landry (Can)
Reached North Pole using dog-sleds with resupply

2001 Borge Ousland (Nor)
Reached North Pole sledge-hauling as part of solo crossing of Arctic Ocean with resupplies
Bettina Aller (Den)
Unsuccessful solo attempt to reach North Pole sledge-hauling

Please note that while every effort has been made to ensure this information is correct, no published records exist and therefore no warranty is given as to its accuracy. The M&G Polar Team would like to hear of any suggested additions or corrections - click here.
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