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The first "Barneo" ice base was established in 2002. The ice base is sponsored by the Russian Geographical Society and normally lasts for the month of April. Depending on the base's location, excursions to the actual North Pole can be conducted on skis, by dog sled, or by helicopter. In 2007 Barneo was located at about . However, northerly winds cause the camp to drift toward the southeast at a speed of 0.8 km/h. Beginning in 2008, "Barneo" has become a better known unique tourist destination. The "Barneo" ice base should not be confused with the sequential Soviet/Russian "North Pole" drifting ice stations established by the Russian Academy of Sciences Arctic and Scientific Research Institute of the Arctic and Antarctic headquartered in St. Petersburg.
2012 marked the establishment of the eleventh sequential "Barneo" ice base.
Barneo ice base is the unique complex consisting of ice runway and ice camp, both are integral parts of the project. Because of the constant moving ice on the Arctic Ocean, Barneo has to be rebuilt from scratch each year. Barneo is not merely a tent camp; a flown-in bulldozer was used to flatten the snow so cargo planes like the Antonov An-74 can land. Another runway is being built.
On 12 March 2013, the head of Russia's High-Latitude Arctic Expedition confirmed to Russian news agency RIA Novosti that the Arctic and Antarctic Research Institute (AARI) intends to establish Camp Barneo in late March 2013, with the first team of AARI scientists planning to fly to the camp on 1 April, en route to resupplying the drifting ice station SP-40.
The Russian Geographic Society announced that the camp opened for the 2014 season on Friday 4 April. A total of 44 runners are registered for the annual "North Pole Marathon" which will be held at Camp Barneo on 9 April 2014.
It is an airstrip of about 1200 by 60 meters size, which is built at the end of March on the drifting floe in the area around 89 degrees North. This is a fully functional runway, capable of landing the Antonov An-74 cargo-passenger aircraft.
Ice Camp is the main infrastructure component of dominantly tourist expeditions to the North Pole, a unique complex for hosting visitors and base personnel. An Ice Camp consists of specially designed tents with rigid frames. All the tents are heated, and the temperature inside is kept between 15 and 18 °С.
The largest ones are mess tents: one for staff and one for visitors. These tents are connected by a kitchen block. Mess tent for visitors is the main place for meetings and briefings, here travelers meet and get to know each other. Breakfasts, lunches and dinners are served here at specified times, and snacks, tea or coffee are available 24 hours a day. Living tents for visitors accommodate up to 12 persons. Camp staff lives in separate modules. An important part of the Camp is bio-toilets. There are also technical modules for storing and maintenance of equipment.
If necessary, the Camp doctor can provide medical first aid.
The Scientific Camp and the camp of helicopter crews are satellites of the main Camp.
Since it is impossible to keep the runway on drifting ice floe for more than one season, the Camp has to be constructed from scratch every year. This is the main difference between this project and that of the similar projects in the Antarctic. At the end of every season all the equipment is removed from the ice.