Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Crazy Arctic Guy is bit nippy

Tue, 14 Mar 2006 // 08:53

Latest position : N88°00'23' E89°26'04'
Distance to go: 222km
Temperature: -37°C (without windchill)
Wind: Northerly
Days of food left: 18
Average daily distance required: 13km

'This has been one of the very toughest days of our expedition. The day started with temperatures of -34°C, and we had the wind against us all day. When we called it quits, the thermometer showed -37°C. We're taking such a beating from this wind that we simply can't continue in this tempo. The two of us are just getting more and more tired, more and more exhausted, as the chilling wind sucks away all our strength. We've been walking for 10 hours today.

We have promised to do our best - and that's what we're doing. However, that also means taking care of ourselves and minding our health."

The extreme cold is once again taking its toll on their bodies with Mike suffering new frostbite damage on his fingertips, which now have cracked open. Borge is having problems with keeping his feet warm, and has pains in his right heel, due to walking long distances and long hours with little rest.

"We simply have to let go of the idea of reaching the North Pole in a hurry, be sensible in this extreme weather, and make safe decisions. There is still a long way to go. Tomorrow we're falling back into a less strenuous routine, settling for 10 hours walking, and no longer stretching the day beyond 24 hours. We simply can't walk 12 hours and make do with 6 hours sleep when the weather is fighting us. We have to have the weather on our side if we're to push that hard - and the winds and weather are definitely not. It's against us, and according to the forecast we can expect northerly winds and chilly temperatures all week. So that's why we're calming down our pace.

N88° has been one of the hardest yet - and this day one of the toughest. We're exhausted, but are pleased that we only have two degrees of latitude left.

The most goal of this expedition is to reach the North Pole in a sensible way. The great difficulties and major challenges are behind us. Now we have to mind our well-being. If the weather suddenly improves, we can make an extra effort. Otherwise we're going to continue at a normal pace.

We're both exhausted and hope to soon be asleep.

Wed, 15 Mar 2006 // 08:09

Latest position : N88°06'47' E86°59'42'
Distance to go: 211km
Temperature: -38°C without windchill (approx -60°C with!)
Wind: Northerly 9 metres/second (20mph)
Ice drift: Southwards 700 metres/hour
Days of food left: 16
Average daily distance required: 14km

'Everything was against us today. We pushed all day against very strong head-on northerly winds of 9m/s and temperatures of -38°C without windchill. We also had a southerly drift of 0.7 km/hr so all our effort has very little reward at the end of the day. We battle on in these conditions trying to protect our fingers, noses and feet from freezing and rejoice when we can pitch the tent at the end of the day, sheltering ourselves from the cutting wind, and to make our first hot drink.

My fingers are cracked and sore. I am taking a daily vasodilator and aspirin to increase the blood circulation. This helps a lot. Borge's hands are fine, but has one foot that tends to go completely numb on occasions. His remedy is to keep on walking. We struggle on in these conditions because we prefer to move rather than to sit in the tent. In a few more days the temperatures are expected to rise again. We must just be very careful not to make any mistakes in the meantime.

We encountered a lot of rubble-like-ice today, which was very hard on our skis. This is ice that has previously been crunched up because of a pressure ridge and has snowdrift in-between. Unfortunately because the surface was not flat, it was very hard on Borges already delicate skis and we discovered that the metal edges were beginning to lift off one of his skis. We had to stop early this evening so Borge could fix it. He is actually tearing the metal completely off the ski and gluing it back on with Araldite glue. Of course the glue is well frozen, so we need to heat up the glue and the tent before he can even start to think about this repair job. We believe they should be fine again for tomorrow morning. Luckily for us, we have a very adequate repair kit on this trip!

We are happy to return back to our normal 24 hour day. We were pushing ourselves into the ground with our 26 hour days, which was not at all sensible. In a few days we'll get back into normal routine again, and walk our regular 10 hours a day. At this rate we should arrive on the Pole on the 23rd of March and we'll be very happy with this.

The camp is pitched at N88°06'47' E86°59'42' and we have 211kms to go until we reach the Pole. I don't know why, but on every expedition I have done, it always seems that the last days are always the hardest!!


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