Arctic Traverse Completed - 1000 km - No Resupply
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Arctic 1000 Expedition Completes First Unsupported* Traverse of America's Largest and Most Remote Contiguous Wilderness, Visits America's Remotest Spot En Route
Bozeman, Mont. (July 11, 2006) - On July 4, a team of long distance trekkers completed the first and longest ever unsupported* trekking traverse of America's most remote, roadless, uninhabited wilderness, a distance of 1000 km (600 mi) across Alaska's western Arctic region from the Chukchi Sea to the Alaskan Pipeline.
En route, in addition to completing America's longest wilderness traverse, the party became the first to visit the most remote location in the U.S. by fair means - carrying all of their gear, food, and supplies for the entirety of the trek in their backpacks and traveling entirely on foot.
"We crested the final hill, and there it was: the remotest place in America, situated in the mouth of a shallow draw, with a gravel band above, and a cluster of pretty mountains behind it, and a hundred-foot cliff bank below it. It was a beautiful scene." - Expedition Member Roman Dial, from America's Remotest Spot on June 25, 2006
Their route traversed the most remote (westernmost) region of Alaska's Brooks Range, starting at the Chukchi Sea near the Native village of Kivalina and ending at the Alaskan Oil Pipeline Highway ("Haul Road") near Wiseman. This region is notable for two key characteristics: it is the largest contiguous roadless, uninhabited, and unprotected wilderness in America, and it contains America's remotest spot (defined by its distance from the nearest roads or habitations) in an area that is more than 15 times the area of the remotest spot in the contiguous U.S., which lies SE of Yellowstone National Park.
They faced tremendous challenges, including trekking up to forty miles per day in the Alaskan bush and tundra, crossing the Brooks Range, swimming rivers swollen with snowmelt, standing down threatening grizzly bears, managing foot injuries, and trekking quickly to the end in the face of rapidly dwindling food supplies.
Early in the expedition, expedition member Ryan Jordan fell through a shelf of river ice and badly sprained an ankle, requiring the party to adjust their already precarious schedule, travel off their maps, and navigate to a safe location for a bush pilot to land. In another incident, they surprised a grizzly bear protecting a moose kill. On another day, they swam across one of the largest rivers in the Arctic. A few days later, they crossed the crest of the Brooks Range in a storm that threatened them with hypothermia. The closest they came to encountering human presence included occasional benchmarks more than fifty years old, squatter's cabins, and ancient Inpuiat caribou mittens (Photo: Jason geck peers into the remains of an ancient stone Inuksuk built by Inupiat caribou hunters).
The party completed the route in ultralight style, using fragile and lightweight gear considered absurdly inadequate by mainstream outdoor industry manufacturers. They slept under tarps made with the lightest racing sailcloth materials available, carried backpacks that weighed only 24 ounces but carried 55-60 lbs (mostly food), and cooked over bush fires. They wore trail running shoes - and carried no extra footwear. They traveled at night, and slept during the day - minimizing the amount of insulating gear they had to carry. The weight of their trekking gear, not including food and water, was less than seven pounds per person.
During the expedition, readers of the live satellite dispatches sent by the team to their website, Arctic1000.com, expressed controversial opionions about the team's style and strategy, from their choice not to take guns for bear protection, to their use of a satellite phone to ensure safety in an emergency, to their use of running shoes as a means to trek through the Alaskan bush. "Our style, gear, and strategy - it's not for everyone," said Dial.
Expedition member Ryan Jordan, Publisher of Backpacking Light Magazine and the BackpackingLight.com website, says "This expedition was ambitious. There was never a guaranteed outcome of success, even towards the end. It was a serious test of ultralight trekking technique and gear, our own athletic abilities, and sheer power of will. It was the most engaging strategy I've ever used to enjoy a wilderness traverse. I was challenged, humbled, and richly rewarded on a deeply personal level."
Roman Dial is a Professor of Biology and Mathematics at Alaska Pacific University, an expedition adventure racer, and has trekked, skied, biked, and paddled some of the longest wilderness routes ever attempted in Alaska. Ryan Jordan is the publisher of Backpacking Light Magazine, pioneer of some of the longest unsupported long distance routes in the Northern Rockies and Yellowstone Ecosystems, and leading practitioner and educator about ultralight trekking style and technique. Jason Geck is an Instructor of GIS, Mathematics, and Outdoor Studies at Alaska Pacific University, reknowned wilderness athlete, and record-holder and 2005 champion of the Alaskan Mountain Wilderness Classic, considered to be the toughest adventure race in the world.
The expedition's title sponsor is Backpacking Light Magazine (www.
Other key supporters include: National Public Radio (www.npr.org), Alaska Pacific University (www.alaskapacific.edu), Patagonia ( www.patagonia.com), ULA-Equipment (www.ula-equipment.com), Smartwool ( www.smartwool.com), GoLite (www.golite.com), Pacific Outdoor Equipment ( www.pacoutdoor.com), and Cuben Fiber (www.cubenfiber.com).
Visit Arctic1000.com for expedition information, gear notes, photography, route progress, and live dispatches from the Arctic sent via satellite.
Ryan Jordan Bozeman, MT USA Email: firstname.lastname@example.org