The First Unsupported, Unassisted American Expedition to the North Pole

Gear Junkie - North Pole Gear Test 9/29/09

North Pole Gear Test

By STEPHEN REGENOLD

From a starting point on Canada’s Ellesmere Island, it took two long months of skiing, hauling, cooking, camping, scouting lines, and meandering steadily north on fractured ice.

But on April 25, 2009, John Huston and Tyler Fish reached the North Pole by ski — the first Americans to pull off the unsupported feat, which at 475 miles has been dubbed “the hardest trek on the planet.”

Indeed, to cross the arctic void, Huston and Fish, from Chicago and Ely, Minn., had to haul 650 pounds of food, fuel and gear. Each man pulled two sleds and trudged for hours a day, leaning into wind and bearing temps as low as minus-60 degrees F.

Like all polar trips, Huston and Fish’s Victorinox North Pole ’09 Expedition necessitated some unique gear. The pair cherry-picked from standard outdoors-industry items, including a DeLorme PN-40 GPS unit and, from their sponsor, the Victorinox Swiss Tool Spirit Plus Rachet, a $145 multi-tool that served as their repair kit.

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