An Iqaluit woman has successfully led a trek to the North Pole, making her one of the youngest in the world to lead an expedition to the top of the world.
Sarah McNair-Landry, 23, guided an Australian couple on the gruelling 55-day, 800-kilometre ski trip across the sea ice. They arrived at the North Pole on Sunday after departing from the northern tip of Ellesmere Island in late February.
Early Monday morning, a Russian helicopter picked up McNair and her clients, Linda Beilharz and Rob Rigato, and airlifted them to the Barneo station in Russia, located about an hour away.
From there, a cargo plane was expected to fly the group to Svalbard, Norway. There, McNair-Landry will part ways with the couple, who are in their 50s.
Difficult last hours: mother
A posting on the expedition's website said Beilharz and Rigato are "both elated and exhausted but so far have only been able to celebrate with good chocolate."
McNair-Landry's mother, longtime polar guide Matty McNair, told CBC News she kept in touch with the group throughout the trek. McNair-Landry currently works as a guide with her mother's polar expedition company, NorthWinds.
"The last 14 hours was really hard. They had drifted south. Ice was moving them south, so as fast as they were going north, they kept going south. Then they got into an area were all the ice was heaved up; she said [it was] a storey high. It's just incredible," McNair said.
"It's stressful on an emotional point — my daughter is out there. As far as a business, I'm responsible for the lives of two people out on the polar ice."
During the last four days of the trip, the group took only two-hour naps in between ski legs, she said.
McNair said her daughter's team is one of four expedition teams to have reached the North Pole this year.