‘Into the Cold’: A Filmmaker’s Trek to the Top of the World

BY Saskia de Melker  April 14, 2011 at 2:22 PM EST



To get to the North Pole, Sebastian Copeland and his partner Keith Heger had to trek 400 miles on foot, scaling high boulders and forging icy rivers — and all while dragging a 200-pound sled in temperatures as low as -50 degrees Fahrenheit.

The expedition makes them two of just 150 people who have ever reached the geographic North Pole on foot. Copeland chronicles their journey across the Arctic in his latest documentary, “Into the Cold.” The film is timed to the centennial of the first ever successful expedition to the North Pole, completed by Robert Peary in April 1909.

For two months, they navigated the Arctic’s constantly fluctuating terrain — a composition of various ice forms, ranging from pressure ridges and boulders to the thin frozen crust that melts each spring.

A world renowned photographer, Copeland has made exploring and documenting polar regions his life’s work. In 2007, he released “Antarctica”, a book of photos from his many trips to the Antarctic. For his next expedition, he is planning a 2,500 mile trek across Antarctica to commemorate the centennial of Roald Amundsen’s 1911 pioneer expedition. He’s scheduled to leave next fall. As the spring season accelerates and sea ice continues to melt, Copeland warns that reaching the North Pole on foot may soon be impossible.

NewsHour’s Hari Sreenivasan recently spoke to Sebastian Copeland about his trek across the Arctic, the North Pole’s shifting ice composition, and how to survive while burning as many as 12,000 calories per day.

*Follow Hari and Sebastian on Twitter. *