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Plaisted first to reach North Pole over ice

Polar Explorer Ralph Plaisted, above, is shown on his Ski-Doo snowmobile, one used on his expedition to the North Pole. Plaisted and his team of Walt Pederson, Gerald Pitzl, and Jean-Luc Bombardier became the first to plant American and Canadian flags at the North Pole. Ski-Doo, a Canadian company, helped support the expedition as a promotional event. Bombardier was the nephew of Armand Bombardier, the owner of Ski-Doo in 1968. (Submitted Photos)

 

Ralph Plaisted

 

Travelling across the Arctic to the North Pole was difficult for drivers and their snowmobiles. The photo above is from the 1967 Plaisted expedition that was ended after a month. The photo appeared in the New York Times.

 

Above is a portion of the display case the Stevens family created after Ralph Plaisted told them they could keep his sweater that he left behind at the Stevens annual spring fish fry in 1980. It was the last time Plaisted came to the fish fry. (Photo by Doug Voerding)

 

Once at the North Pole, Plaisted was able to signal for verification. Above, at 9:30 a.m., on Saturday, April 20, 1968, a plane of the U.S. Air Force Weather Service flies over the Plaisted Polar Expedition and verifies their position as 90 degrees north. Verification was needed, as the ice over the North Pole is constantly shifting. The expedition had reached the North Pole the day before on Friday, April 19, 1968, at 3:00 p.m. Gerald Pitzl, the navigator of the expedition, took this photo that appeared in several publications.

 

Above, Ralph Plaisted points to a spot north of Baffin Bay during an interview in St. Paul in February, 1968. Plaisted was an insurance salesman turned explorer. This photo is from the Associated Press.

 

Many times on the expedition, the Plaisted team had to cross ice ridges with their equipment and snowmobiles. This photo was found at snowmobile.com and appeared in other publications.

 


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