April 28, 2013

2013 Arctic Expedition – We’re Back!

Hello, everyone! The team and I have arrived home safe and sound and I’d like to extend my deepest gratitude to our expedition sponsors, past and present, for their support. Because of you, our expeditions have been a great success, especially the 2013 expedition which was one of the most challenging yet successful expeditions I have ever conducted. And of course, I want to thank my wife, Andrea, for enduring my absence for the coldest three months of winter and taking care of the dogs I left at home because they were either retired or too young to partake in the expedition. Also, I feel very blessed and thank the good Lord for another opportunity to travel with such a fine team of dogs. They did a fantastic job!

During the 2013 solo expedition the team and I experienced one of the heaviest snow falls on Alaska’s North Slope that I can recall in the past 30 years. With snow depth ranging between 2 and 5ft, the 23-dog team and I traveled for three months into areas of Alaska’s Brooks Range where never in recorded history has a dog team traveled in winter, proving again that a freighting team can be trained to break trail in unlimited snow depth while pulling seemingly impossible loads. I saw incredible country and I am still struck by how vast, rugged, and untouched the Brooks Range is, even after exploring the area for almost 3 decades. Also, I discovered and documented some new geologic features which will hopefully result in a published report for the State of Alaska.

During the expedition I took a total of 4,500 digital photos of both landscape and dogs, so I have quite a job ahead of me sorting and categorizing them. In the meantime, here are a few statistics from the 2013 Expedition that I thought would be interesting to share:

Temperatures (with wind-chill)
Above 0°F (40 days)
0°F to -25°F (15 days)
-26°F to -50°F (26 days)
-51°F to -75°F (19 days)

Blizzard days

Incidents of frostbite

For the first 7 days of the expedition, the sun never rose above the horizon.

Number of times I put a harness on a dog
Approximately 2000+ times (thank goodness they don’t require booties!)

Miles traveled on an established trail system
Zero! As always, we make and break our own trail as we go. There aren’t any trails out there anyway!

Snowshoes worn out beyond repair
One pair

Number of people/signs of human activity observed during the expedition

Number of food drops or resupplies

Range of ages of the 23 dogs on the 2013 Expedition team
2.5 to 12 years old

15 (all intact)

8 (1 spayed) – Note: the females went into season almost one at a time which lasted for 5 consecutive weeks. Needless to say, the males howled for 5 weeks straight. No joke.

Number of injuries/casualties (dogs)

Number of injuries (Joe)

Amount of kibble consumed
35 lbs/day of kibble mixed with oil. For 23 dogs, that’s 1.5 lbs/day per dog. I attribute their relatively low food consumption to good metabolism maintained through a carefully managed breeding program. They stayed healthy and actually gained fat over the duration of the expedition.

If you can think of any other statistics you’d like to hear about, please feel free to leave a comment and I’ll address it. In the meantime, I’m going to demobilize, decompress, and get some time in with my two favorite girls.



  • Harry Schhlitz

    Welcome home all of you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    As a Musher(retired) and Educator, thanks to all of you for this great story and so much more! After having Malamute’s for the past 20+ years, it makes us here in Montana so very proud!!
    Enjoy your rest all of you!
    Thanks again for your time.
    Harry, Lela and TEAM
    Park City, Montana 59063

    • alaskanarcticexpeditions

      Thanks Harry, Lela and TEAM!!

      Kind Regards,
      Joe and the Team

  • Gery Allan

    Awesome! Am looking forward to hearing more – maybe a Mushing Magazine story in the future? https://www.facebook.com/gery.allan?ref=tn_tnmn

  • http://www.vildmarksupplevelse.se Christer Afséer

    Welcome back to civilization Joe! Sounds like you and the dogs had an amazing expedition this year into the Brooks Range. The idea of travelling into a wilderness like this is tempting but for shure a challenge. Did you see any wild animals or tracks on the tour? and for how many days were you out in the wilderness? Enjoy the spring with your family now, and hug your team comrades!

    Christer and Kristin / Sweden

  • http://www.teamwalkabout.com/ Will Williams

    An incredible journey Joe! and amazing statistics. I’m glad it went incident free and I’m looking forward to seeing the pics.