Early expeditions to the North Pole were difficult, if not impossible, to verify. The generally accepted claim that Robert Peary’s 1909 expedition was first to arrive at the Pole remains somewhat in doubt and, even today, the 1926 over-flight of the Pole by Richard E. Byrd is questioned by some. However, for better or worse, a trip to the North Pole is now available to anyone with a well-loaded credit card.
Where And When To Go
While the Magnetic North Pole is currently situated near Ellesmere Island in northern Canada, the Geographic North Pole is located at 90°N – the top of the world – on a frozen section of the Arctic Ocean. The North Pole is a warmer, somewhat friendlier place than the frigid South Pole. Winter temperatures at the North Pole can range from about -15°F to -45°F, but summer (June – August) temps sometimes reach a balmy 32°F. During the winter months, there is 24-hour darkness, while the summer months enjoy 24-hour daylight. Consequently, tourist cruises, flights, and most expeditions take place during the summer. If you plan to take part in an extended skiing expedition, however, you’ll depart earlier in the season.
The Arctic Ocean beneath the North Pole is about 2.5 miles deep; the ice floes at the Geographic North Pole average between 7 to 10 feet thick.
If you will be flying to the North Pole, you’ll most likely leave from Longyearbyen, the capital of Svalbard, on the island of Spitzbergen, Norway.
- $2,120 to $3,815 – Round trip from New York City (LGA) to to Longyearbyen (LYR)
- $1,635 to $5,510 – Round trip from Chicago (ORD) to Longyearbyen (LYR)
- $2,080 to $5,860 – Round trip from Los Angeles LAX) to Longyearbyen (LYR)
If you choose to go through a Russian tour company, you’ll fly to the North Pole from Moscow.
- $1,245 to $3,145 – Round trip from New York City (LGA) to Moscow (MOW)
- $1,380 to $5,525 – Round trip from Chicago (ORD) to Moscow (MOW)
- $1,370 to $6,000 – Round trip from Los Angeles LAX) to Moscow (MOW)
If you plan to travel to the North Pole on board a nuclear icebreaker, you’ll leave from Murmansk, Russia. You’ll fly from the United States to Moscow first, and then either fly or take the train to Murmansk. There’s a new, budget airline in Russia with fares to Murmansk for under $200.
While all icebreaker cruises leave from Murmansk, some Finnish companies depart from Helsinki, Finland. The flight from Helsinki to Murmansk is included in the cost of the cruise.
- $1,150 to $1,600 – Round trip from New York City (LGA) to Helsinki (HEL)
- $1,150 to $1,475 – Round trip from Chicago (ORD) to Helsinki (HEL)
- $1,290 to $1,740 – Round trip from Los Angeles LAX) to Helsinki (HEL)
Gear And Clothing
Depending on the travel package and company you choose, you may have to bring your own cold weather clothing and gear, or the company may provide you with everything you need, from long underwear to skis and poles.