Friday, 3 June 2011

Richard Weber the world's leading polar traveller.


An unassuming 53 year old Canadian must be the world' leading polar traveller having been on over 50 expeditions to the Arctic,  17 trips to the North Pole and has also skiied to the South Pole.

I have known Richard since 1985 when we did a 1500 miles ski trip in the Arctic, and again in 1986 we were members of an unsupported expedition to the North Pole.

We met in Minneapolis/St. Paul in May this year and I had a chance to catch up with him, and talk about his travels during the past 25 years.

"One of the best parts about any polar expedition is walking where I have never been before and in some areas where no one (or at least very few) people have gone before. The Arctic ocean is special because every day is a new unknown challenge. The only thing that is sure each day is the unknown. Though I am now a bit tired of it." 

Richard, lives with his wife, Josée Auclair and their two boys, Tessum, age 22 and Nansen, age 20 near Alcove, Quebec. Richard started skiing at the age of two, he became a member of Canada's National Cross Country Ski Team in 1977. He retired in 1985 with twenty national titles. Richard has a bachelor degree in mechanical engineer from the University of Vermont. Richard has co-authored two books about his adventures.

Richard, together with wife, Josée, operate “Arctic Watch Lodge”, the world’s most northerly lodge located on Somerset Island in Nunavut. Arctic Watch is unique place to see arctic wildlife, including the best place in the world for beluga whales.






Misha Malakhov (left) and Richard Weber (right) on the first unsupported expedition to reach the North Pole and return to land


Togethet they did the first and only confirmed journey to the North Pole and return using only human resources. Richard, again with companion Misha Malakhov became the first to reach the North Pole and return to their starting point on land, with no outside help, no dogs, air planes, or re-supplies.


Richard has trekked from land to the geographic North Pole seven times, more than anyone in history. He has spent an unprecedented amount of time travelling on the Arctic Ocean, more than 600 days and nights.

Richard and Josée have designed and developed a line of speciality polar equipment and food, including boots, ski bindings, sleds and clothing. His web site is http://www.weberarctic.ca

Richard Weber's Polar Record
1978-2011 Participated in / lead and organized more than 50 Arctic Expeditions

2010 North Pole
Richard led a four-man team from Ellesmere Island to the Geographic North Pole with one re-supply. The team set a speed record of 41 days. Richard’s son Tessum becomes the youngest person to ski to the North Pole.

2008-2009 South Pole Quest
Richard led a three-man team, unsupported, from Hercules Inlet to the Geographic South Pole, a distance of 1130 kilometres in 33 days, 23 hours and 55 minutes. This is a world record, more than 5 days faster than the previous record.



2007 North Pole Quest
Richard guided two British adventurers from Ward Hunt Island to the North Pole with one re-supply. This was Richard’s sixth trek to the North Pole. He is without equals in the domain of North Pole travel, completing six treks to the North Pole.

2006 North Pole Classic
Richard guided Conrad Dickinson to the North Pole with no re-supplies. This was the first expedition to reach the North Pole on snowshoes. This was Richard’s fifth full North Pole expedition.

1995 Weber Malakhov Expedition
First and only confirmed journey to the North Pole and return using only human resources. Richard, again with companion Misha Malakhov became the first to reach the North Pole and return to their starting point on land, with no outside help, no dogs, air planes, or re-supplies.

First unsupported expedition to reach the North Pole and return to land

1993-2005 Weber Malakhov North Pole Dash
Richard and Josée lead commercial North Pole Expeditions. More than 100 People have made the trek, skiing the final 100 kilometres to the North Pole. In 1993 Richard and Josée pioneered the first commercial North Pole expedition. Today numerous companies take more than 100 people annually to the Pole. First commercial "North Pole Expedition"



Richard near his home in Quebec.

1992 Weber Malakhov Expedition
First attempt to journey to the North Pole and return using only human resources. Richard, along with companion Misha Malakhov became the first to reach the North Pole with no outside help, no dogs, air planes, or re-supplies. They established a record of 108 days for the longest unsupported polar journey and they are the only people to have reached the Pole three times. First unsupported expedition to reach the North Pole

1989 Global Concern Expedition
Richard guided the environmental group Global Concern, which launched the first hot air balloon from the North Pole. First hot air balloon flight launched from the Pole

1988 Soviet Canadian Polar Bridge Expedition
Richard was Canadian team leader of this Soviet Canadian transpolar ski expedition that crossed 1800 kilometres of Arctic Ocean from Northern Siberia to Ellesmere Island National Park Reserve in Canada, via the North Pole. Richard became the first person to reach the Pole from both sides - Canada and Russia. First surface crossing of the Arctic Ocean on skis

First person to reach the North Pole from both sides of the Arctic Ocean
Richard (l)  at the North Pole with one of his many clients.

1986 Steger International Polar Expedition
Used dog team and skis to reach the North Pole without re-supplies. Richard, along with team mate Brent Boddy, became the first Canadians to reach the North Pole on foot.
First confirmed expedition to reach the North Pole without re-supply
First Canadian (with Brent Boddy) to cross the surface of the Arctic Ocean to the North Pole

Arctic Watch Lodge
In 2000 Richard Weber and Josée Auclair purchased the bankrupt whale watching camp, Arctic Watch located in Cunningham Inlet on Somerset Island, Nunavut. Richard and Josée updated the facilities and equipment. Arctic Watch is entering its 12th year of operation as the world’s most northerly fly-in lodge. Arctic Watch is unique as it is the only place in the world where a tourist can visit a remote arctic setting and be comfortably accommodated. It is presently one of the largest tourist operations in Nunavut. A visit to Arctic Watch is an all-encompassing arctic safari. Visitors to Arctic Watch see thousands of beluga whales, muskox, arctic foxes, birds, and archaeological sites. They can travel the land and water by foot, sea kayak, raft, mountain bike, and ATV. (All terrain vehicle). Guests can climb mountains, hike through canyons, across tundra, and around waterfalls. Experience immense vistas, and 24 hour sunlight. The accommodations are the most comfortable remote facilities in the High Arctic. The web site is http://www.arcticwatch.ca/


Richard at the 1986 North Pole expedition reunion in May 2011.

Left to right back row. Bob McKerrow, Will Steger, Paul Schurke, Richard Weber. Front row:Geoff Carroll, Brent Boddy, Ann Bancroft and Bob "Ironman' Mantell.


The 1985 training trip for the North Pole the following year. L to R. Bob Mantell, Paul Schurke, Bob McKerrow, Richard Weber and Will Steger

17 comments:

Marja said...

Very impressive all these expeditions. That arctic watch lodge is a great initiative and sounds very interesting to me.

Bob McKerrow said...

Yes Marja, the Arctic Watch Lodge is a wonderful venture that gives people a high Arctic experience in the hands of the world's most experienced Arctic explorer.

PATERIKA HENGREAVES, Poet Laureate said...

Wow! I enjoyed reading this article. I like reading about icy places especially places I can only visit in my dreams. I shall be returning to Canada this year Quebec and Ontario and while there will apply for my NZ Visa no NZ Embassy is in Barbados only the Australian Embassy.

Thanks Bob for sharing interesting article and for posting the link I shall visit sometime soon.

Bob McKerrow said...

Kia Ora Paterika

A pleasure to hear from you again. So it's good to know we both have a love of icy places. Richard weber is a truly amazing arctic traveller.

I hope you get your NZ visa OK. Look forward to seeing you in my homeland.

Richard Weber said...

Bob,
Thank you for the nice blog. It was really great to see you last month in Minnesota.

Richard

Harriett said...

The chap is absolutely just, and there is no question.

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