He knows high latitudes. He has crossed the Arctic and Antarctic with canoes and dogsleds. He has led expeditions to both the North and South Poles.

But Steger had never attempted a journey like this one. Neither had anyone else. Without companions of any kind or aid en route, he planned to venture from earthÕs northernmost point to the nearest land-half an ocean away. He set out in the summer, when ice covering the Arctic Ocean is at its thinnest and most treacherous.

Conditions proved even more treacherous than expected. Steger terminated his trek on July 19, 1997, and spent the next week camped on an ice floe while awaiting evacuation via helicopter and icebreaker.