Eddie Bauer is outfitting a team of four Americans embarking in mid-July on a crowd-funded, non-stop, unsupported row across the Arctic Ocean that will be used to document the effects of global warming.
Sponsored through Eddie Bauer's Be First program, Paul Ridley, Collin West, Neal Mueller and Scott Mortensen will travel 1,300 miles from Inuvik, Canada to Provideniya, Russia to raise awareness of the changes in the Arctic climate. The team will navigate through frigid Arctic waters, which have only recently become passable as a result of climate change and melting sea ice. To power the 29-foot-long, six-foot wide rowboat, the team will rotate between the two rowing positions, each rowing two hours on and two hours off for 24 hours a day. The voyage is expected to take approximately 30 days to complete.
"Eddie Bauer has a long legacy of championing the untamable spirit of adventure and outfitting 'firsts.' Our Be First program was conceived as a way to encourage others to challenge their own limits of what's possible and to accomplish what has never been done before," said Michael Egeck, president and CEO at Eddie Bauer. "We are proud to support Arctic Row in this endeavor as they not only attempt to achieve an amazing feat, but also draw awareness to the Arctic ecosystem and the threats that it faces today."
The Arctic Row expedition presents an unusual opportunity for the team to conduct scientific research with no impact on the Arctic ecosystem. Throughout the expedition, the team will record whale sightings, collect plankton samples, and monitor the salinity and temperature of the water. The recorded data will aid scientists at The University of Alaska Fairbanks and Adventurers and Scientists for Conservation to gain a better understanding of a whale's sense of smell and feeding habits in the Arctic Ocean.
"Our exploration is about human-powered imagination. As we marvel at the natural beauty of the Arctic, we are exploring how it can be conserved and protected for future generations," said Scott Mortensen of Arctic Row. "As explorers, overcoming adversity under extreme duress is part of our daily routine. So when we apply our mindset to global issues, it's exciting because the prospect to spark change is real."
Unlike traditional rowboats, the Arctic Row vessel is built with the latest in technology. The team will use a desalinator to convert 400-pounds of salt water into the 24 liters of drinking water that they will need every day. Solar panels are mounted above the cabin to power a VHF radio, GPS, a navigation system, and laptop for the team to stay in contact with followers throughout their journey. And to protect the team from the cold weather elements, they will be fully outfitted in First Ascent, Eddie Bauer's expedition-class gear and apparel that was launched in 2009.
Arctic Row 2012 is also a flag expedition of The Explorers Club, a non-profit organization dedicated to scientific exploration of land, sea, air, and space by supporting research and education in the physical, natural and biological sciences. To carry The Explorers Club flag is an honor and a privilege. It represents an impressive history of courage and accomplishment, and has been carried on hundreds of expeditions by Club members since 1918.
Eddie Bauer is inviting fans to follow Team Arctic Row as they navigate across the Arctic Ocean via their blog, Facebook or Twitter. The Artic Row expedition is attempting to raise $130,000 for the expedition thorugh Indiegogo.com, a crowd funding site for independent films, and through sponsorships. As of Wednesday, Adventure Medical Kits, Body Glide and Dematone had signe don as sponsors with Eddie Bauer.