Image: Ultimate North team
Barclays Capital Ultimate North
Expedition team members plant their flags at the North Pole, mirroring Robert Peary's 1909 expedition. From left are George Wells, Matty McNair, Tom Avery, Hugh Dale-Harris and Andrew Gerber.
updated 4/26/2005 2:07:06 PM ET 2005-04-26T18:07:06

A five-person team reached the North Pole on Tuesday, using sled dogs to arrive ahead of the pace set by American explorer Robert E. Peary during his disputed 1909 expedition, according to a Web site following the race.

British explorer Tom Avery was determined to verify Peary's claim by matching the 37-day time for the 475-mile (760-kilometer) trek from Cape Columbia in northern Nunavut, the Inuit territory of Canada opposite Greenland. Avery's team of four men and one woman traveled in a similar style to Peary, using Canadian Inuit huskies and custom-built wooden sledges.

The Web site for the Barclays Capital Ultimate North Expedition, sponsored by Barclay's Capital and the Prince's Trust, said the team reached the pole at around 9:30 a.m. ET. If Peary and Avery were racing to the pole, Avery's team would have beaten Peary's by seven miles, according to the Web report.

"Robert Peary died with his record unsubstantiated, and that's the key thing, to prove it can be done," said Geraldine McGrory, a spokeswoman for the expedition.

Record stood for a century
In nearly a century of polar exploration, the fastest journey that anyone had managed since Peary's day was by a Canadian team in 2000, which reached the Pole after 43 days.

Image: Celebration
Barclays Capital Ultimate North
Explorers celebrate their success. From left are Matty McNair, George Wells, Tom Avery, Hugh Dale-Harris and Andrew Gerber.
Avery, who was also promoting London's 2012 Olympic bid during his expedition, is a 29-year-old polar explorer from Sussex, England.

He became the youngest Briton to reach the South Pole in 2002. That record was beaten weeks later by Andrew Cooney, 23, from Nottinghamshire, who became the youngest person in the world to reach the South Pole on Jan. 2, 2003.

International team
The team is comprised of Avery; South African Andrew Gerber; American woman Matty McNair; George Wells of England; and Hugh Dale-Harris, a Canadian teacher and dog driver.

During the past year, the team prepared for one of the most inhospitable environments on the planet by driving dogs in the extreme climate of Baffin Island.

On their trek, the team encountered temperatures as low as 49 degrees below zero Fahrenheit (-45 degrees Celsius), enormous pressure ridges up to 30 feet (9 meters) high and constantly moving ice that split with areas of open water sometimes many miles wide.

Copyright 2005 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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