K8494 BC-CQ-Steger-global-warm 05-29 0372

Steger global warming expedition ends in good health


By Lisa Baumann

The Pine Journal, Cloquet, Minn.



May 29--As far as the Cloquet Fire Department is concerned, the latest Will Steger international dog sled expedition around Ellesmere Island was uneventful.

And that’s exactly the way they like it.

The department acted as a base camp for the expedition during the past two months, with a team member calling to check in nearly every three days, according to Kevin Schroeder, Cloquet firefighter/paramedic. The expedition ended this week, he said, and the only medical situations that arose were a sprained ankle and some ongoing pain due to a repetitive stress injury.

"We only had to deal with minor things, which is great," Schroeder said.

In January, Cloquet firefighters spent a week training Thorleif Tobias Thorleiffson (Toby), from Oslo, Norway, to be the medical point person on the expedition.

Later Cloquet firefighter/paramedic Brian Roth traveled to Baffin Island, next to Greenland, to finalize the emergency and medical preparations with Thorleiffson and other members of the team.

The expedition crew planned to follow in the footsteps of legendary polar explorers and visit ice shelves that have collapsed or are on the brink of collapse due to global warming. Crossing fjords, mountain ranges and sea ice, the Expedition Team recorded the impact global warming has had on the northern coast of the third largest and northernmost island in the Canadian Arctic. They didn’t make it as far as they would have liked, however, Schroeder said.

"The ice was very rough and made their travel difficult," he said. "I’m sure we’ll hear much more about it when 1/8Thorleiffson 3/8 comes back to pay us a visit in the coming weeks."


Steger has two future expeditions in the works and so far Cloquet is part of the planning for those, Schroeder said.


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(c) 2008, The Pine Journal, Cloquet, Minn.

Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.

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