Russian explorer and priest Fyodor Konyukhov is preparing for a dog sled expedition from North Pole to southern Greenland scheduled to set off in April 2013.
"The technical and organizational problems have on the whole been solved. There is only one problem now - financing. We will need about $1 million. Talks are under way with potential sponsors about the terms on which they may agree to finance the expedition: some may give money in return for advertising, while others may be driven by science, and still others by the development of tourism," Konyukhov told reporters.
The future expedition has no equivalents, he said. The explorers are planning to cover more than 3,000 km from North Pole to the southern coast of Greenland, a record distance for a dog sled trip across the Arctic.
Father Fyodor will be accompanied by another Russian explorer, Director of the St. Petersburg State Museum of the Arctic and Antarctic Viktor Boyarsky.
Among the expedition's supporters are Vice President of the Russian Geographical Society Artur Chilingarov and Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia.
The dogs will be provided by Karelia's dog breeders, deputy head of the local dog sledding federation Viktor Simonov said.
"On March 12-13, we are planning to set off from Petrozavodsk to the Murmansk region for the dogs to get acclimatized In late March, we will return to Karelia. From Petrozavodsk, we will fly to the Barneo ice base 70 km from the North Pole," Simonov said.
In April, the explorers, the dogs and the accompanying personnel are to be brought to the expedition's starting point. Food, fuel and equipment deliveries will have to be organized.
If the expedition fails to set off as planned, it will have to be postponed for a year, Fr. Fyodor said, but he added that chances are high that this won't happen.
Boyarsky, for his part, said that if the expedition is a success, Karelia will not only demonstrate its high dog training potential, but may also initiate the return of dog sledding on the Olympic winter sports list ahead of the 2014 Sochi Olympics.