1996 American Top Of The World Expedition

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photo of Oodaaq Island

Oodaaq Island

On Wednesday, July 10, 1996, world exploration history was made by placing the first Americans on the northernmost point of land on Earth. The Expedition team also made the first sea ice crossing to Oodaaq Island from the Greenland mainland. Discovered in 1978, Oodaaq Island lies approximately five (5) km. off the northern coast of Greenland and 400 miles from the geographic North Pole. (N83 degrees 40' 34.8" / W30 degrees 38' 38.6")

After this successful crossing to the Island, the Expedition Team went on to achieve first ascents of peaks in one of the northernmost mountain ranges on Earth.

Here is the story of finding Oodaaq Island as told by Steve Gardiner, Expedition Team Member:

Bad weather delayed us at Station Nord where we enjoyed the hospitality of the Danish soldiers stationed there. On July 6, we were able to make a landing in the Twin Otter on the northern coast near Bliss Bay where we established a base camp.

We hiked north and west to the point where we could see Kaffeklubben Island. On July 10, 1996, all ten members were able to hike through thigh-deep lakes of meltwater trapped on the sea ice and reach Kaffeklubben. From there, we set out in search of Oodaaq Island, a small point of land we had heard would be 30 meters in diameter and 1 meter high. Finally, after 13 hours in icy waters, we found a single rock two feet long and sticking three inches out of the water. We could see the island under the meltwater and ice. Oodaaq Island was flooded, but we had achieved our first goal under the midnight sun.

Map of Oodaaq Island Location Relative to North Pole

map of arctic region showing Oodaaq Island