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24 Apr, 2009 05:32

Get to the top of the world… literally!

The planet’s northernmost point is one of the most exclusive and hardest to reach holiday destinations. People pay about $20,000 to go there, though they only get to stay at the North Pole for a couple of hours.

The North Pole is a seemingly indistinguishable spot in the Arctic ice, but some people have dreamed of getting there their whole lives.

The wonders of modern technology mean you can't just pretend any old ice hummock or hill is the North Pole.

You haven't really been there unless you have a flag, and then you can circle the Earth in seven seconds flat.

However, everybody has their own way of celebrating.

Some come there to celebrate those who've gone before them.

For others, it's a personal conquest all of their own.

David Shannon, a respected disabled rights lawyer, is the first quadriplegic ever to reach the world's summit.

“I thought now it would be wonderful to go to the North Pole to show you can get past any barrier,” he says.

Viktor Boyarsky, a renowned explorer, has been to the Pole more than 50 times, to say nothing of the helicopter rides.

“You have to be inwardly ready to be here. For people who are not motivated, it doesn't make a big difference if you are here, or a thousand meters away,” Boyarsky says.

He's a versatile operator too – this time, moonlighting as master of ceremonies, forging a romantic polar partnership.

The wedding rituals are followed faithfully, but with temperatures at minus forty degrees Celsius, the service is a quick affair.

“Now we are both at the top of the world,” newlyweds Alexis and William Browning said.

And so is everyone else there.

And if anyone asks them about what the North Pole is like, most will say: "You just had to be there."