Sporting adventure, a pinch of science and frozen hair's-breath escapes enliven the youthful Staib's assault by skis and dog-sled on the North Pole. The Norwegian lad fell early under the spell of Nansen's and Peary's expeditions. His would be a simpler breaching of the Arctic, with minimal equipment, and would rely upon the novel device of using skis. (The escapade was something like Woodrow Wilson, Jr.'s recent shoestring assault at Everest.) In his middle twenties and with five equally young companions, Staib stabbed North from the uppermost point of Canada in winter '64. Winter weather was necessary because of the greater stability of the ice; as it was, their trek went on too long and finally had to be abandoned in lieu of a fatal victory in June. Previously, Staib had made a Greenland expedition to toughen himself up and study problems. The terrain he chose for his big push, though, proved fantastically chopped up. The greatest danger was thin ice--often they skied over ice thin enough to read a newspaper through. As a writer, Staib pays more attention to his huskies than his companions' idiosyncrasies, which is a choice his readers will applaud as they wipe their brows.