The challenge comes in making a decision which supports your estimation of open water navigation - select the wrong route, filled with blocking ice and you could become stuck in the Arctic for another year or longer.
Here are select ice charts as of today - August 15th - take a look and make a route decision... will the ice melt ALLOWING YOUR VESSELS TO TRANSIT CHOKE POINTS BEFORE WINTER WEATHER RETURNS AND FREEZING RESUMES? AND DON'T FORGET - TRAVELING EAST TO WEST YOU MUST PASS POINT BARROW BEFORE FREEZE UP OTHERWISE YOU WILL BE TRAPPED IN THE ALASKA ARCTIC COAST WITHOUT PROTECTION.
Make a poor selection and you can be wintering over in the Arctic - can you and your vessel survive? How much sea ice pressure can your vessel hull withstand? How low of a temperature cold will your vessel withstand? How about you and your crew? Do you carry enough fuel, food, and water to survive for a year?
FIRST - GENERAL OVERVIEW.... WHAT ARE THE TRENDS THIS SEASON? REMEMBER TWO LIKELY DIRECTIONS OF TRAVEL - EAST TO WEST AND WEST TO EAST - DIRECTION OF TRAVEL IS AN IMPORTANT FACTOR IN MAKING A GOOD DECISION.