2014 Malamute Expedition

 

“Ordinary dogs have accomplished extraordinary things because they didn’t know they couldn’t

 2014 Alaskan Malamute Arctic Expedition

Team Malamute has returned from another successful Arctic expedition. The team was outstanding! Now, they are enjoying a well deserved rest in the shaded forest outside my log cabin window and howling to their hearts content.

I want to thank everyone for their generous support. Without you, Malamute Expedition would not have been possible! It was an amazing expedition. The team exhibited incredible power and stamina in some of the worst snow conditions that I have ever experienced in the Arctic. The snow supported cross country skis and snowshoes very well, but the dogs fell through the top layer of crusted snow at each step. It was a tough pull for them. There were many days that we averaged ½ mph because of the terrible snow conditions. Each year however, the team takes it to a new level and grows in spirit, passion, and strength. And they never have given up. They keep trudging along with smiles and wagging tails like cheerful warriors. The Arctic is their element, love, and home.

Also, I’d like to give thanks to the Good Lord for providing me strong health and the opportunity to explore his vast Arctic creation and share it with you.

 “A dog’s iron will and a person’s spirit combined is a formidable force. They become one team, one being, one cohesive unit working together to overcome what was believed to be impossible.”

 Team Malamute pioneered a route into the gut of the mighty Brooks Range where never in recorded history has a dogteam traveled. They cut trail in two to four feet deep snow across five river drainages, climbed, several steep mountain passes, endured record cold temperatures including -92F wind-chill, four blizzards,, and a rainstorm! We traveled unsupported-without food drops, snow-mobile trails, or any other means of assistance. The expedition was powered by 22 iron willed and specially trained dogs. Most of which were pure breed Alaskan malamutes.

 The Team has proved again that Alaskan malamutes are powerful freighters that have an inherited desire and love for pulling heavy loads. Also, the Malamute Expedition has set in stone that it is not impossible for a properly trained team to break trail while pulling heavily loaded freight sleds in snow two to four feet deep. The expedition highlights the significance of keeping alive the lost art of sled dog freighting, Arctic travel and Arctic exploration with Alaskan malamutes. When airplanes replaced the sled dog freighters during 1930′s the art of freighting and Arctic travel by dogteam has nearly died. It is an essential part of the Alaskan malamute history and the foundation of their legacy. Most importantly though, I hope the expedition helps draw attention to an increasing demand of many Alaskan malamute rescues that are in dire need of support.

 

“When both an animal and a person recognize that their survival depends on each other there is no longer a dominate role of either person or animal. They work and live together as one unit. Emotions are felt between them like they are one being. When one suffers or feels joy so does the other.”

 

The 2014 Expedition Team:

Farmer Luna

Pete Charlie

Penny Barney

Texas Mitch

Major Dino

Nikko Bucko

Sally Bear

Tip Junior

Howdy Ben

Red Petra

Champ Lupin

 

Here are a few statistics from the 2014 Expedition;

Approximate dogs’ weights 75lb-125lb

Duration of expedition: 67 days

Amount of dog food consumed – 2,584lbs

(1.75 per dog 38lb per day)

Temperatures ranges: +35F to -92F wind-chill

The team traveled in four days of -72F to -92F wind-chill temperatures.

14 days of -45F and colder

Four blizzards totaling 9 days

Snow depth: 2ft to 4ft

Harnessed and harnessed dogs combined: 1,300 times

Consumed approximately 335 cups of coffee.

“When a dog discovers that his strength has a limit. He will accept this limit as the peak of his strength. But if he does not know his limit, and he has never discovered it, then he will reach deep within his soul and spirit and exhibit feats of strength which is beyond human comprehension. And then, when 22 dogs are combined into a team, all of which do not know their limits of strength, the team can conquer what has been claimed to be impossible.”

 A few Career facts

Conducted the longest solo, unassisted, (unsupported) dog sled, Arctic expedition on record.

Within the past decade of expeditions:

- Spent 1,050 nights in a tent (almost three years total).

- Harnessed and unharnessed dogs 45,000 times.

- Worn out three pair of snowshoes

- Worn out seven pair of caribou fur mukluks

- Consumed approximately 5,500 cups of coffee

- Endured wind-chill temperatures as low as -92F to -100F

 

“The Arctic is an unforgiving place that commands deep respect. You cannot conquer her or plant flags into her soils and claim it as your own. She does not succumb to society’s restraints on freedom. She has her own spirit and governs the land how she chooses and rewards or punishes whom she wishes. And those who venture onto her frozen soils will either heed to her demands or become a frozen part of her landscape where the Arctic wolves mark.”

——-Joe Henderson——-

Malamute Expedition Update

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Here is the Malamute expedition update. Because of 11 days of extreme cold temps the rivers have broken loose with deep overflow. This has forced us to reroute.

The team traveled every day during one of the most severe cold snaps I’ve seen in a while. Temps ranged from -45F to -72F wind-chill.

The dogs maintained their original fat levels during the cold snap while consuming on average 1.72lb dry kibble per dog a day 100lb+ dogs ate less than 80lb dogs. The Malamute’s low metabolism and ability to cope with extreme cold is incredible. Myself, I consumed more than 10,000 calories a day and still lose weight.

Got Cold?

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Today is -72F wind-chill.  For those of you that don’t know what heading into a -72F wind-chill it feels like eat very quickly as much ice cream you can until you are numb.

Yesterday was a little chilly -50F but the team did great. Retrieved a cache I had buried before a steep hill before the three blizzard onslaught. I was lucky to find it.

On the trail….

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On the move again with my best trail breakers in lead, Farmer & his son Jr. -42F windchill, clear skies, & northern. -45F today, & the team is doing great. Tough going as the snow is drying out to the consistency of sand. Typical Arctic.

 

First Blizzard – Snow Tunneling

 

blizzard

Update after 34 hrs. the blizzard is raging with a nastier temper than ever before. Mother Nature is pissed. Now, 30F-40F wind-chill blowing snow persists and drifting deep. It was a struggle to escape from my tent this am. When I pulled the zipper on the door I was greeted with solid white after tunneling through the snow like a mole I managed to escape. The dogs are doing well. One sled is buried & cannot be seen, the other sled is partly buried.

Getting Started.

Good news. We had some communication issues, but we believe it has been fixed. Joe has made some progress this week, but became wet today. Many of the rivers and lakes are not fully frozen, causing issues for the team.

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21 Alaskan Malamute Team

This is one of my favorite photos taken last winter. The picture itself describes the pure love for pulling that’s ingrained in Alaskan Malamutes. These guys, Farmer, Bear and Boss, are leaders of a 21-dog team pulling a 2,500 lb. load of supplies in Alaska’s arctic. Angus Mill captured these three photos on his second 21 day expedition with me and the team.

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2014 Alaskan Malamute Expedition

2014 Alaskan Malamute Expedition

The proposed date of the 2014 solo, unsupported, dogsled expedition will begin January 22nd.and end April 1st.

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The team and I will travel through the most remote, rugged region in Alaska’s Arctic Brooks Range where never in modern recorded history has a dog team traveled. We will not be resupplied for the entire multi-month expedition. The supplies, including one ton of dog food, will be hauled on two large freight sleds with 22 freight dogs hitched to the sleds. Our innovative traveling technique is unprecedented and has allowed the dog team and me to travel in so-called inaccessible regions of the Arctic for as long as four months without resupply.

The terrain in Alaska’s Brooks Range is treacherous and is well known as having one of the most brutal environments on earth. I expect to endure hurricane force winds with -100F wind-chill and deep snow. The 2014 Arctic expedition will be the ultimate proving ground for equipment, clothing, and technical gear. I do not expect to see another human being during the entire expedition.

Mission; is to raise awareness of a growing worldwide homeless dog population in rescue shelters. Now, with our increasing international popularity of our expeditions, I have a greater opportunity to raise awareness of this crisis than ever before. Our audience encompasses the globe with many thousands of people which virtually follow the team and me trek across the rugged mountains. I have pledged to contribute a large percentage of expedition donations to shelters in the United Kingdom and U.S.A.

We appreciate any donation amount. We have set up four levels for donors.
1. $10 Receive Expedition Email Updates
2. $25 Email updates & T-Shirt
3. $100 Email updates, T-Shirt & Signed Expedition Print
4. $125 or Email updates, T-Shirt & Signed Expedition Print & Honorary Sponsor Recognition

Sponsor’s support and products will be highlighted in my speaking engagements. In the past I have given presentations in Europe, Scandinavia, and the US. Additionally, I will write reviews in magazines and mention sponsor’s products in social media sites, blogs, and websites. Also, I have an upcoming book that will be published fall of 2014 in which my sponsors will be highlighted.

This year, I will document the expedition with video, still photography, and a written daily log. I plan is to post daily updates on twitter, outdoor enthusiast’s blogs, and Face Book, via Delorme InReach device.