Endurance rowers and paddlers prepare for the Northwest Passage

🚣 Three expeditions, each using different small vessels, aim to take on the challenging crossing late this summer. One group calls it the “last great first.” The Arctic ice typically reaches its minimum coverage in late August or early September. Ships big and little are eyeing the route with the reduction of sea ice.

  • After a multi-year postponement, Karl Kruger will attempt the journey on a stand up paddleboard. In 2017, he became the first person to complete the 750-mile Race to Alaska (R2AK) on a SUP. Well known in the Pacific Northwest maritime community, Kruger also runs sailboat charters and is a yacht broker.
  • Starting from the eastern entrance of the Northwest Passage, a group of kayakers calling themselves “The Arctic Cowboys” also plan to transit after a multi-year delay. The group is led by Texan West Hansen, who has paddled thousands of miles on the Amazon River and the Volga River in Russia.
  • Also starting from Baffin Bay between Canada and Greenland, is a 16-person expedition led by Scot Leven Brown. The NW Expedition crew will be split across two ocean rowing boats, appropriate for the international group’s extensive ocean rowing experience.

    UPDATE: The NW Expedition announced its postponing their attempt until 2023.

Related: Hakai Magazine looked at a new study that found instead becoming more navigable by 2050, many trans-Arctic routes are already navigable for large chunks of the year. Another researcher says the variability of ice year-to-year still presents a navigational risk but that may decrease in the next decade or two.