An adventurer attempting to trek 2,300 kilometres on foot across the High Arctic had to be rescued Wednesday night just nine days into his journey.

Vincent Cochin had planned to spend 80 days travelling from Kugaaruk, Nunavut, to Qaanaaq, Greenland, by ski and snowshoe in an effort to break the world record for the longest unsupported, unassisted Arctic journey. 

Sgt. Yvonne Niego says Nunavut RCMP were notified late Wednesday night that a SPOT alarm had been triggered near Taloyoak.

Three search and rescue members from Taloyoak say they had problems finding the man at the location indicated by the SPOT device. They continued searching and say they found him in a tent, wrapped in a blanket and very cold.

Rescuer John Ukuqtunnuaq said Cochin got up, ate and drank tea. Cochin then said he did not need an emergency team to pick him up and that he would instead travel with the search and rescue team.

Cochin, 30, was taken to the health centre in Taloyoak, where he was treated for minor injuries and released.

Reached by CBC, Cochin said he activated his SPOT device after he discovered he had a frozen toe. He said his boots weren't warm enough, and the leather got tight with the cold and squeezed his feet.

He said a nurse at the Taloyoak health centre told him that she doesn't think he will lose any of his toes but he has to go to the hospital in Yellowknife to see a doctor.

His expedition is over and Cochin doesn't know if he will try again.

"It's a lot of money, a lot of preparation," he said. "I've been thinking to do that trip for years. I'd have to find the energy again to re-do the whole thing. It's a lot of money and I don't have a lot of money."

He said he now realizes that choosing the right equipment and testing it out beforehand is really important.

Cochin is from France but spends a lot of time in Yellowknife.


  • An earlier version of this story said Cochin's SPOT device was set off twice.
    Mar 14, 2014 7:26 AM CT