Go with the Floe

Adventure travel's love-hate relationship with climate change

Troy Glennon

Ice used to block tourists' view of this channel, where whales have been spotted

In late July, Jock Wishart, a 55-year-old professional adventurer from Scotland who has been to the magnetic North Pole so many times that he has lost count, took off for the top of the world once again. This time, however, he packed a paddle for the 450-mile (725 km) journey. Why are Wishart and his crew attempting to become the first to row there? Because, rather suddenly, they can.

Climate change has finally melted enough ice and opened enough waterway for boats to reach that far north. "Ten years ago, we never would have thought this was remotely possible," says Wishart,...