Operation Kigliqaqvik Ranger

The Canadian Rangers’ Expedition to the Magnetic North Pole, 2002

Operational Histories, No. 10

In 2002, Canadian Rangers undertook one of the most ambitious patrols in their proud history. Often lauded as the “eyes and ears” of the Canadian Armed Forces in the Canadian North, the Rangers set their sights on the Magnetic North Pole. Operation Kigiliqaqvik Ranger, named after the Inuktitut word for “the place at the edge of known land,” covered more than 1,600 kilometres of rough sea ice, pressure ridges, rocky river valleys, and breathtaking expanses of tundra. Each Ranger on the patrol drove a snowmachine that pulled a sixteen-foot komatik (sled) laden with up to 675 kilograms of supplies. As this volume reveals in stories, photographs, diary excerpts, and newspaper articles, the Rangers endured wind chill temperatures below minus fifty degrees Celsius, near whiteout conditions, and twenty-four-hour sunlight.  This volume celebrates their collective achievements and highlights the mental and physical toughness, perseverance, and esprit de corps required of participants in Arctic military operations.

Edited and Introduced by Julian Tomlinson and P. Whitney Lackenbauer

WHITNEY LACKENBAUER, Ph.D., is Canada Research Chair (Tier 1) in the Study of the Canadian North and professor in the School for the Study of Canada at Trent University, and the Honorary Lieutenant Colonel of 1st Canadian Ranger Patrol Group (1CRPG) based in Yellowknife. Whitney is an adjunct professor at the Center for Arctic Security and Resilience at the University of Alaska Fairbanks and the Mulroney Institute for Governance at St. Francis Xavier University. Previously, he has been Killam Visiting Scholar at the University of Calgary, Distinguished Visiting Professor at Canadian Forces College, and a Fulbright Scholar at Johns Hopkins University. He has (co-)written or (co-)edited more than fifty books and more than one hundred academic articles and book chapters. His recent books include The Joint Arctic Weather Stations: Science and Sovereignty in the High Arctic, 1946-1972 (2022); A History of the Canadian Rangers of Quebec: 2nd Canadian Ranger Patrol Group (2022); The Canadian Armed Forces’ Eyes, Ears, and Voice in Remote Regions: Selected Writings on the Canadian Rangers (2022); Lines in the Snow: Thoughts on the Past and Future of Northern Canadian Policy Issues (2021); On Thin Ice? Perspectives on Arctic Security (2021); Breaking Through: Understanding Sovereignty and Security in the Circumpolar Arctic (2021); and China’s Arctic Engagement: Following the Polar Silk Road to Greenland and Russia (2021). He is married with three children.

An accomplished leader with over 30 years of experience, in both the public and private sectors, JULIAN TOMLINSON is an award-winning educator and recipient of both the Queen’s Golden Jubilee Medal and Diamond Jubilee Medals for service to Canada. His unbridled passion for Canada’s North has translated into expeditions to the Magnetic North Pole; co-leading an 86 day 7,153km winter expedition across the North West Passage; and supporting establishment the Trans-Canada Trail in Canada’s most remote regions -- all in service of illustrating the incredible, knowledge, talent, skill and resilience of the people and cultures of the North.


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