List of Arctic expeditions

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Gerardus Mercator's 1595 map of the Arctic

This list of Arctic expeditions is a timeline of historic expeditions in, and explorers of, the Arctic.




The Death of Wiliam Barents


  • 1612–13 British Button Expedition, commanded by Thomas Button, names Mansel Island
  • 1613 Several whaling expeditions, consisting of a total of at least thirty ships, from England, France, Spain, and the Netherlands crowd Spitsbergen's west coast
  • 1614 Dutch and French expeditions discover Jan Mayen
  • 1615 Robert Fotherby, in the pinnace Richard, is the first English expedition to reach Jan Mayen
  • 1616 English expedition piloted by William Baffin explores the Davis Strait–Baffin Bay region
  • 1619–20 Danish expedition led by Jens Munk in Enhiörningen (Unicorn) and Lamprenen (Lamprey) to discover the Northwest Passage penetrated Davis Strait as far north as 69°, found Frobisher Bay, spent a winter in Hudson Bay
  • 1633–34 I. Rebrov explores the mouth of the Lena River
  • 1633–35 Ilya Perfilyev explores the Lena and Yana Rivers and intervening coast
  • 1638 I. Rebrov explores coast between the Lena and Indigirka Rivers
  • 1641 Dimitry Zyryan and Mikhail Stadukhin explore the mouth of the Indigirka River and adjoining coast
  • 1646 I. Ignatyev explores the mouth of the Kolyma River and adjoining coast
  • 1648 Ya. Semyonov explores the mouth of Kotuy River and adjoining coast
  • 1648 Semyon Dezhnev and Fedot Alekseyevich Popov explore from the Kolyma River through the Bering Strait
  • 1649 Mikhail Stadukhin explores the coast from the Kolyma River to the Bering Strait
  • 1686–87 Ivan Tolstoukhov Expedition explores mouth of Yenisey River and the coast of the Taymyr Peninsula





  • 2000 Ukraine - North Pole - 2000 Ukraine parachute expedition to the North Pole. It consisted of two parts: the flight on the Kyiv-Khatanga-North Pole-Khatanga-Kyiv route and the landing of parachutists from the Il-76 aircraft on the drifting ice of the North Pole among the boundless waters of the Arctic Ocean and the flight of the An-28 aircraft on a similar route with a landing on the same iceberg
  • 2002 Jean Lemire and the crew of the Sedna IV successfully navigate the Northwest Passage on a three-mast schooner, sailing from Montreal to Vancouver in five months while filming La grande traversée and four other documentaries about the effects of global warming on the Canadian Arctic Archipelago (at the time, only the seventh sailboat in history to make the legendary Northwest Passage from east to west)[15]
  • 2003 Pen Hadow makes solo trek from Canada to North Pole without resupply[16]
  • 2004 Together to the Pole – a Polish four-man expedition led by Marek Kamiński, with Jan Mela (a teenage double amputee, who in the same year reached also the South Pole)
  • 2004 Five members of the Ice Warrior Squad reach the Geomagnetic North Pole, including the first two women in history to do so.
  • 2006 Start of the French Tara expedition
  • 2007 Arktika 2007, Russian submersible descends to the ocean floor below the North Pole from the Akademik Fyodorov
  • 2007 Top Gear: Polar Special, BBC's Top Gear team are the first to reach the magnetic North Pole in a car
  • 2007 The Arctic Mars Analog Svalbard Expedition uses Mars analog sites on Svalbard for testing of science questions and payload instruments onboard Mars missions
  • 2008 Alex Hibbert and George Bullard complete the Tiso Trans Greenland expedition. The longest fully unsupported land Arctic journey in history at 1,374 mi (2,211 km)
  • 2009 MLAE-2009 traversed the Arctic waters and ice between Ostrov Sredniy island of the Severnaya Zemlya archipelago and the North Pole
  • 2009 David Scott Cowper becomes the only person to have sailed the Northwest Passage solo in a single season
  • 2011 MLAE-2011 led by Vasily Igorevich Yelagin travelled from Dudinka, Russia – North Pole – Resolute, Nunavut, Canada
  • 2011 Edna Elias, at the time Commissioner of Nunavut and five other women, including the mayor of Cambridge Bay walked 220 km (140 mi) from Umingmaktok (Bay Chimo) to Cambridge Bay[17]
  • 2011 Old Pulteney Row To The Pole, a publicity stunt sponsored by Old Pulteney whisky, organised by Jock Wishart who also operated the Polar Race
  • 2013 MLAE-2013
  • 2013 Babouchka, a combination ice boat and sailing catamaran set out for the Pole. It was halted by ice. The two-man crew was rescued by a Russian icebreaker.[18]
  • 2015 Interdisciplinary Arctic Expedition "Kartesh" – complex arctic expedition, organized by the Polar Expedition Gallery project (later rebranded as Polar Expedition "Kartesh") in collaboration with the LMSU Marine Research Center. Research tasks: assessing the Arctic coastline vulnerability towards human impact; marine and coastal ecosystem and Arctic seas landform condition monitoring; West Arctic biodiversity research; oil oxidizing microorganism activity research; testing new methods of water areas remote sensing.
    Fiann Paul, Alex Gregory and Carlo Facchino ocean rowing aboard Polar Row.
  • 2017 Arctic Mission of two 15m sailboats led by Pen Hadow made it to 80° 10' N, sailing from and returning to Nome, Alaska.[19]
  • 2017 Polar Row, led by world's fastest ocean rower Fiann Paul, is the most record-breaking man-powered expedition (11 Guinness World Records). The team covered 1440 miles measured in a straight line in the Arctic Ocean in a row boat and pioneered ocean rowing routes from Tromsø to Longyearbyen, from Longyearbyen to Arctic Ice Shelf (79º55'500 N) and from the Arctic Ice Shelf to Jan Mayen.[20]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ E. C. Coleman (2006). The Royal Navy in Polar Exploration: From Frobisher to Ross. Tempus. pp. 65–77. ISBN 9780752436609. Retrieved 22 October 2012.
  2. ^ Beechey, F. W. (1843). A Voyage Of Discovery Towards The North Pole, Performed In His Majesty's Ships Dorothea And Trent, Under The Command Of Captain David Buchan, R. N., 1818. London: Richard Bentley. Retrieved 2009-08-15.
  3. ^ *An Officer Of The Expedition (1821). Letters Written During The Later Voyage Of Discovery In The Western Arctic Sea. London: Sir Richard Phillips And Co. Retrieved 2009-08-15.
  4. ^ "Polar Discovery". Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. Retrieved May 20, 2013.
  5. ^ King, Richard (1836). Narrative Of A Journey To The Shores Of The Arctic Ocean In 1833, 1834, and 1835; Under The Command Of Capt. Back, R. N., Volume I. London: Richard Bentley. Retrieved 2009-08-15.
  6. ^ King, Richard (1836). Narrative Of A Journey To The Shores Of The Arctic Ocean In 1833, 1834, and 1835; Under The Command Of Capt. Back, R. N., Volume II. London: Richard Bentley. Retrieved 2009-08-15.
  7. ^ Sonntag, August (1865). Professor Sonntag's Thrilling Narrative Of The Grinnell Exploring Expedition To The Arctic Ocean In The Years 1853, 1854, and 1855 In Search of Sir John Franklin, Under The Command of Dr. E. K. Kane, U.S.N. Philadelphia: Jas. T. Lloyd & Co. Retrieved 2009-08-15.
  8. ^ Bliss, Richard W.; Raymond Lee Newcomb (1882). Our Lost Explorers: The Narrative of The Jeanette Arctic Expedition. Hartford, Conn.: American Publishing Company. Retrieved 2009-08-15.
  9. ^ New Lands: Explorations of the Northern Party
  10. ^ Graf Zeppelin’s Arctic Flight, 1931
  11. ^ Stanislaw, Siedlecki. "Crossing West Spitsbergen from South to North" (PDF). Retrieved 2019-01-08.
  12. ^ Discoverer 1
  13. ^ "POES Project Timeline". NASA. Archived from the original on May 11, 2012.
  14. ^ Alone Across The Arctic
  15. ^ "Jean Lemire Chief of mission". Canal D. Retrieved 27 January 2019.
  16. ^ Dougary, Ginny (May 20, 2003). "Pen Hadow makes history by walking solo to the North Pole". The Times. Retrieved 15 August 2017.
  17. ^ NTI Praises Women in Action for Completing 220-km Walk
  18. ^ "French Arctic adventurers end their mission due to bad weather". Radio France International. 2013-02-09. Retrieved 2017-08-02.
  19. ^ Montgomery, Marc (September 27, 2017). "Worrisome discovery near North Pole". Radio Canada International. Retrieved 5 October 2017.
  20. ^ "Freezing Temps and Rotting Hands: Speaking With the Men of the Record-Breaking Polar Row Expedition". Men's Journal. Retrieved 2017-10-05.

Further reading[edit]

  • To the Arctic, The Story of Northern Exploration from Earliest Times (Jeanette Mirsky, 1997)