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Polar explorers to talk about upcoming Arctic expedition

By David Gonnerman '90
February 11, 2005

Polar explorers Eric Larsen '93 and Rolex Award-winning Lonnie Dupre of Grand Marais, Minn., will talk about their upcoming One World Expedition of the Arctic Ocean at Froggy Bottoms in downtown Northfield on Saturday, Feb. 12, at 7 p.m. The event will help raise funds for their expedition, which the duo hopes will highlight the perils of global warming. The two hope to hold another pre-expedition event at St. Olaf in March.

Explorers Lonnie Dupre (front) and Eric Larsen '93 negotiate Lake Superior pack ice while training for One World Expedition.
Dupre and Larsen plan to begin their unsupported journey on May 11 at Cape Arctichesky, Siberia, and finish 100 days later at Ellesmere Island, Canada. The explorers will pull and paddle specially modified canoes across 1,240 miles of shifting sea ice and open ocean. Due to the dangerous nature of the crossing -- extreme fog, hypothermic temperatures and unstable ice conditions -- this is the first summer crossing of the Arctic Ocean ever attempted.

The team hopes to raise awareness of the growing threat of global climate change that affects the entire planet, but which has particular impact on the Earth's delicate Polar regions. In the Arctic Ocean alone, ice covering has diminished 40 percent during the past 40 years.

Larsen has spent his entire life in pursuit of wilderness. A dog musher, white water canoe guide, back-country ranger, competitive cyclist and educator, he has ventured throughout Alaska and the Canadian Arctic. Trained as an educator and a biologist, Larsen brings a unique blend of experience to the expedition. In 2002, Larsen completed a 700-mile dog sled expedition in the Canadian subarctic that focused on the culture and land of the Oji-Cree people of northern Ontario. While working as education director for NOMADS Adventure & Education, he helped develop a comprehensive Web site and integrated K-12 curriculum to support the expedition. Larsen also led month-long treks in Hawaii and guided white water canoe trips in Colorado. He also holds medical training as a wilderness first responder.

During the past 17 years Dupre has traveled more than 13,500 miles throughout the high Arctic regions by dog team, ski and kayak. In 2001, Dupre and Australian teammate John Hoelscher completed the first circumnavigation of Greenland, using dog sleds in winter and kayaks in summer. Dupre was awarded the Soviet Sportsman Medal for Arctic exploration in 1989, was elected Fellow National of the Explorers Club in 1996 and was keynote lecturer to the Fellows of the Royal Geographic Society in London. Dupre received one of five Rolex Awards for Enterprise in 2004, a $100,000 award given every two years to provide visionary men and women worldwide with the financial support and recognition to carry out innovative projects that expand human knowledge. He is using the award money for One World Expedition.

Contact David Gonnerman at 507-786-3315 or