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Crew Prepares to Paddle to North Pole

Row, row, row your boat ... to the North Pole?

A six-man rowing team is finishing its final preparations to become the first to do just that: paddle its way to the magnetic north pole.

The crew is led by Scottish adventurer Jock Wishart, who was part of the first team to walk unsupported to the pole. The new mission will highlight the effect of climate change on the ice around the Arctic.

The 450-mile (724 kilometers) route starts in Resolute Bay, in the Canadian Arctic, where the team was today (July 26). The crew is furiously working to iron out technical glitches and wrap up other last-minute preparations. The crew reported having difficulties with its satellite communication system, which is necessary for the mission.

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Getting the communication system running soon is critical, because timing can make or break the journey. The crew will row to the pole via a route that is open because of an increase in seasonal ice melt in the region due to climate change. But even with the increasingly open Arctic waters, the final section of their trip is navigable only a few weeks of the year before the water refreezes.

The team expects the expedition to take four to six weeks. Where the waters are impassable, the team will carry its custom boat over land. The crew will row in two shifts of three rowers.

This latest paddle to the pole will be the first polar expedition involving rowing since Ernest Shackleton's men took to their boats to save their lives on the other end of the Earth , the South Pole, on his now legendary 1916 Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition.

The first expedition to reach the magnetic north pole was led by James Clark Ross. He found it at Cape Adelaide on the Boothia Peninsula in what is now Nunavut, Canda, on June 1, 1831.

Follow the team via satellite tracking here and check back with us for updates on their expedition.

Live Science Staff
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