Barneo Ice Station Canceled for Another Year

Unsurprisingly, Barneo has canceled its 2022 season. Citing lingering COVID regulations but mainly the restriction on Russian planes in European airspace, they made their official decision yesterday.

The floating ice station is built every spring about 100km from the North Pole to host Last Degree skiers, marathon runners, and champagne tourists. Full-length North Pole expeditions also used its aircraft for pickup at the end of their journeys in recent years.

This marks the fourth year in a row that Barneo has not run. In 2019, a dispute around allowing a Ukrainian plane to land at the Russian ice station led to a last-minute cancelation. Then in 2020-21, it was the pandemic. Now in 2022, repercussions from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine made this decision inevitable.



Jerry Kobalenko is the editor of ExplorersWeb. Canada's premier arctic traveler, he is the author of The Horizontal Everest and Arctic Eden, and is currently working on a book about adventures in Labrador. In 2018, he was awarded the Polar Medal by the Governor General of Canada.

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[…] the Barneo ice station is cancelled again this year because of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, several arctic expeditions have just […]

David Paabo
1 month ago

Moving forward, there is a need for a completely new approach to north pole tourism, including expeditions and adventure activities such as marathon running. There must be a disengagement from all Russian involvement – including airspace, aircraft, logistics, departure point and employees. This shall require a completely new approach by either Barneo AG or another company or country.

1 month ago
Reply to  David Paabo

Agree. The situation was problematic long before Russia invaded Ukraine. But I doubt there is enough tourism, particularly independent expedition tourism, to cover the huge costs involved, even with soft tourism (pole flights, luxury camps etc) thrown in. What might work is a hybrid private-government operation out of Greenland that offers science logistics to Arctic nations and any other academic, national or industrial/corporate bodies. Like how for Antarctica, ALCI started out of Cape Town from servicing government programs in Queen Maud Land, with some private expeditions fitted in sporadically, then more services are added later. Some synergy between broader tourism,… Read more »

Alex Hibbert
1 month ago
Reply to  damiengildea

The challenge, and reason why previous operators that supported/dabbled with private Arctic Ocean logistics (KBA, Norland, Air Greenland, First Air etc) have mostly stopped, is that the risk and hassle outweighs the scale of income. Economy of scale made the costs half-affordable for around a decade, but then a squeeze on both tourism/exploration/research teams and the aircraft operators has driven a wedge that now widens. If there’s to be new ways to reliably access the ocean, it’s likely going to have to be separated. With eight-figure-budget science being funded centrally (govts) or not at all, only the hyper-rich affording private… Read more »

Last edited 1 month ago by ahlon
1 month ago

Next to 2019, this year was the biggest disappointment. Finally started to get my hopes up for this year.
Even if 2023 is a go, I do worry about the quality of the ice.