Around the world... the hard way...

The Cetaphil Arctic-Canada Challenge


Cetaphil Cross Canada ChallengeFollowing our training for the 360 Extremes Expedition in Arctic Canada, we travelled 2,000km across Canada between December 2014 and May 2015, in the middle of the winter with the Cetaphil Arctic Canada Challenge. We cycled and then skied from the southern border with the United States to Rankin Inlet, towards the north of the Hudson Bay. Although we were not able to reach the northernmost active settlement of Resolute Bay due to time constraints and the breakup of the ice – particularly with equipment failure causing significant delays – it was still a fantastic journey and training experience, giving us full confidence in our skills and capabilities in undertaking the most extreme of polar journeys.

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The route

While our previous training on Baffin Island was successful, it certainly enforced the reality that the more time we have in the hostile polar environment, the more chance that we have in making the full 360 Extremes Expedition a success. We cannot underestimate the dangers and difficulties of expeditions through the Polar Regions and the more experience we gain in these regions, the better. Indeed, just as the Transglobe team before us had two main Arctic training programs, this will be our second principal project in the polar environment.

The Cetaphil Cross Canada Challenge will be a fantastic step forward, building on the work done so far with the McNair family and on the Auyuittuq Expedition on Baffin Island. Furthermore, this five-month journey is unique in its own right: nobody has done this before. We will travel through the Arctic winter, where temperatures with wind-chill have been known to reach less than -70C; we will by mixing our journey with cycle, ski and kite ski; and, we will travel over roads, through forests, over tundra and sea ice before we reach out final destination. As well as training, the aim of this project is to also help build the profile of the 360 Extremes Expedition as a whole. The Cross Canada Challenge is unique and promises to be a fantastic challenge.

The Cetaphil Cross Canada Challenge is sponsored by Galderma and also supported by the Transglobe Expedition Trust. Really amazing to have your support and backing to help make this amazing journey happen!

More posts from the Cetaphil Arctic-Canada Challenge

A look back in numbers…

It was strange getting into Rankin Inlet. We had our final fantastic day of skiing, beating our record for distance in less than pleasant conditions. But once we arrived, it took a while to settle in that we wouldn’t be skiing any more, for now at least. We would soon be leaving the world of […]

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The final challenge!

In the end it was a fitting way to conclude the expedition. We challenged ourselves to beat our record distance for a day by going about 23.5km; temperatures had gone back down to close to -20C, and the winds from the previous day had not died down too much so we had a headwind coming […]

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Getting there…

62.6129N,92.1709W=0A=0AIt has been pretty steady since leaving Whale Cove – around 10 nautical miles a day through cloudy and breezy conditions. Today was pleasing as we managed 10km in the first three hours (normally we mange around 8 or 9) and this was in spite of lots of curves to go round headlands and rough […]

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What a reception!!!

62.3259N,92.4401W=0A=0AAfter a day which had some of the most miserable conditions of the entire journey – strong winds, whiteout, snow, rain, hail, sleet – that had kept us tent bound just 17.5km from Whale Cove (and giving us a good amount of work to dig the sleds and tent out of the snow deposited around […]

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Nearing Whale Cove

62.0383N,92.7595W=0A=0AApproaching Whale Cove now and we have been able to keep a good consistent pace of 10 nautical miles a day. Having to put up with a layer of thick white cloud above us has probably been the hardest part – it has been constant the last few days and it makes seeing obstacles in […]

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Closer to Whale Cove

61.6592N,93.4409W=0A=0AAfter three days of blizzards and whiteouts, it was good to get out of the tent again a couple of days ago. The snow that had fallen though really did make life tough – a good deep layer to pull out pulks through made us pleased to travel 15km on Saturday. =0A=0AOur bodies really did […]

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Towards Whale Cove

61.3871N,93.7434W=0A=0APatience is certainly a virtue in this environment. After a good couple of days when we travelled around 36km from Arviat, we have been confined to the tent in very poor weather for past days – in spite of forecasts saying getting slightly “warmer”!. It is indeed warmer today but the cold and warm weather […]

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Farewell to Arviat!

61.2671N,93.8805W=0A=0AThe two days we had in Arviat to refresh were definitely welcome, and it was great meeting the people we did while we were there. At the guesthouse we stayed, Michael cooked a muscox pasta – this was the first time we had tried the meat and it really was quite delicious! Brad also gave […]

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Arviat!

Arriving in Arviat wasn’t as simple and straightforward as we had hoped. We had gone a good distance of 21km the previous day to get within 16km of the town, so a relatively short distance for us. However, just as we were packing up the tent after a calm and still breakfast period, all of […]

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Closer to Arviat

Position: 60.8016N,94.3657W=0A=0AWe are speeding up the Hudson Bay now! Starting to consistently cover 10 nautical miles during the daily ski, though we were confined to the tent a couple of days ago due to a blizzard. Have said it before but it really is amazing how the weather can change so quickly here.=0A=0A10nm is a […]

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Audio Dispatch

A dispatch has been posted This post is also available in: Português

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Audio Dispatch

A dispatch has been posted This post is also available in: Português

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patience is a virtue!

Position: 59.5996N,94.7423W=0A=0ABeen a difficult few days that have been trying of the patience to say the least. The winds have just been constantly strong and too strong to make a move from the tent until late this afternoon. Our frustrations were compounded by the fact that we were pretty close to some unstable ice and […]

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Audio Dispatch

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Audio Dispatch

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close shave…

Position: 59.6135N,94.7195W=0A=0AAnother interesting three days: just as things were going so well, skiing along at 16km per day and the north all looking open for us, things have got complicated.=0ASince we passed Hubbart Point, we have been pushed northeast by a wall of pressure ridges. We were fine with this, though always kept a keen […]

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changes in the ice…

Position: 59.5110N,94.7342W=0A=0AAnother day and another 16km travelled. Yesterday was slightly less – Around 12km. Though things are definitely interesting that’s for sure. The sea ice varies incredibly. Sometimes it is hard to recognise the environment around us when we wake up in the morning from when we went to sleep. The tides push up pressure […]

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update from the ice

The last few days have been steady as we head north on the Hudson Bay. We have passed the 59th degree – a small market for us though we take the opportunity to commemorate as many things as we can to help keep us motivated.=0A=0AThe ice has been difficult especially yesterday and today – passing […]

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Up the Hudson Bay!

Position:=0A=0AIt has been a good couple of days. Solid progress of 30km or so, so we are now around 45km away from Churchill. Even this morning we could see the top of the town’s port terminal building in the horizon but now it has faded away and we really do feel all out by ourselves.=0A=0AIn […]

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leaving Churchill

Position: 58.7849N,94.3698W=0A=0AIt is good to be finally out on the ice again, though still not without frustrations! After repairing everything and having got back to Churchill earlier in the week, we still had to wait for a rather large blizzard to blow over – with winds of up to 100kmph, conditions were not really conducive […]

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A brief pause…

Frustrations are growing, that’s saying the least. The repairs that we made on the sleds didn’t hold up, so after going out onto the ice outside of Churchill and being confined to the tent just 7km away from the town, we had to go back in. On leaving the town we had gone via the […]

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Audio Dispatch

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Audio Dispatch

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Frustrations and repairs…

It has been a little frustrating but at the same productive few days. We had to get picked up on Saturday about 60km outside of Churchill by Brett who made the 2hour skidoo journey to get to us, and we have been in Churchill now for the past three days… What happened..? I hear you […]

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Right on track!

Position: N57.7231, W94.2329=0A=0AAfter a testing few days that have tried us with temperatures reaching as low as -52C (with windchill), strong winds and plenty of snow drifts and nasty terrain to go through we have finally reached a point where we can be pleased – we have reached the rail tracks..=2E=0A=0AGetting here wasn’t straight forward. […]

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tough going

Position: N57.4404, W94.3896=0A=0AMore tough few days. We had a great day three days ago when we switched to snow shoes in order to tackle the deep snow that we were going through. The water that had frozen in to our skis, though we had got most of it off, still stays in the climbing skins, […]

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Tough day…

Position: N57.1473, W94.4903=0A=0AFrustrating day! Funnily enough the conditions were perfect. The complete opposite of yesterday with no wind and great visibility. The problem was that the skis and sleds got… Frost bite! Let me explain…=0A=0AWe have to cross quite a few streams along the route. Most of them are frozen – as you would expect […]

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Cetaphil Challenge – 23 days of travelling to date

Position: N56.9740, W94.5128=0A=0AWe had our first big snow fall last night=2E So a journey that is already tough just got a little tougher: with about 4cm more of snow on top of what was already there, there is more resistance for the pulks so it is harder to pull them through… Especially when there are […]

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cetaphil challenge update

Position: 56.7728N, 94.5138W=0A=0ASlow, frustrating but solid progress are probably the best words to describe the last four days of skiing north. It hasn’t been too cold – I guess today was around -22C though the other days a little warmer but nothing really bad fortunately. This region is known for blizzards especially this time of […]

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Finally on to skis to Churchill

Back on the trail after a week sorting out our supplies and logistics for skiing. I can’t say I am particularly unhappy to leave the bikes behind – it was hard work though the last three days of cycling were definitely the best: leaving Ponton to Thompson and passing via Sasagiu Rapids and Pisew Falls. […]

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Thompson! … and getting ready to ski…

Finally got into Thompson – it has been a long ride, and the conditions we have faced have varied from a couple of days at around -1C to much harsher and crueller extremes of -48C with windchill. Tough to keep going at times, though seeing the signs welcoming us to Thompson were a nice reward […]

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Days then there are days…

The last couple of days have been good and bad. Yesterday was great to be honest: tail winds and reasonably flat – we felt like we were flying along at points as we almost managed 80km to reach Sasagui Rapids. The temperature was reasonable at only -20C. =0AToday, however, was completely the opposite. -32C and […]

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Slowly getting further north

As I commented in a post some time ago, this has to be the hardest cycling either Natalia or myself have ever done. Aside from the extreme cold, which at worst has reached -41C with windchill, the bikes are heavily loaded with gas, food, camping equipment and clothes. So we do really feel like the […]

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Almost half way through the cycling part…

New Year’s Eve! My, how time flies! We are currently at Grand Rapids, in the middle of the central Canadian province of Manitoba. We have been on the road now for about eight or nine days – it is difficult keeping track of time and everything, with day after day of cycling slowly along extremely […]

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