Saturday, March 11, 2006

Crazy Arctic Guy Updates

Mission: First ever attempt to walk the 1000km to the North Pole in the Arctic winter unassisted by machines or dogs.

Tue, 7 Mar 2006 // 21:21

Latest position : N86°43' E93°33'
Distance to go: 367km
Temperature: -28°C without windchill
Wind direction: Southerly
Ice drift: Northwards 0.3km/hour
Days of food left: 24
Average daily distance required: 16km (to complete expedition)

This is a zone where the ice is compressed and crushed. You literally hear it crushing and grinding under our feet. It's quite freaky to hear but we know that the ice is solid and we are in no danger. The ice slowly grinds away and pushes up mountains of ice, which can be 5-6 metres high and block our path completely.

We are well. The equipment is holding out still, but of course we are being extremely careful. We must!! No more bears - no animals at all. Just us in this barren environment. It's beautiful to see and I hope we can share a little of what we are experiencing with the photos we are sending back.

367 kms to go!! We'll be able to predict our arrival date on the Pole once we arrive at N88°. In the meantime we'll keep moving and save our rest days until the Pole. After all this effort we would like to stay there for a few days and take in the scenery.

Wed, 8 Mar 2006 // 21:09

Latest position : N87° E97°
Distance to go: approx 333km
Temperature: -15°C
Days of food left: 23
Average daily distance required: 15km (to complete expedition)

We have now about -15°C which seems a little odd to say the least. We think this might be the calm before the storm. Strong winds have been predicted along with a radical drop in temperature. My fingers will not be looking forward to that!!!

Borge and I decided today that we want to make a run for the Pole. We are averaging 1 degree every 3 days so believe that if we go for it we can do the last 3 degrees in 12 days, which will get us there on the 21st of March. We hope then we'll be able to camp some last few days on the Pole, taking the time to relax and to appreciate the mammoth task which we would have just accomplished.

It will certainly be a great moment arriving at the Pole!!! Ha, I'm speaking to soon. Anything can happen yet. We are still at the mercy of the nature and we mustn't forget that!!!

Thu, 9 Mar 2006 // 20:50

Latest position : N87°12'47' E91°51'37'
Distance to go: 311km
Temperature: -34°C (without windchill)
Days of food left: 22
Average daily distance required: 15km (to complete expedition)

Borge and I have decided to get to the North Pole as quickly as we possibly can. To do this we've decided to walk an extra two hours everyday, doing 12 hours rather than 10. These are long hard days for us.

The winds have finally calmed this evening and are coming from the west. We hope that the very cold temperatures will freeze all open water and the westerly winds will push the old ice over the young leads. This will give us an easier day tomorrow. Our camp coordinates tonight are N87°12'47' E91°51'37'.

311 km to go! Because we will now walk 12 hours everyday, we have also decided to sleep and extra 1.5 hours longer each night. This way a smaller portion of our time is taken up by all the other tasks that need doing. However, it also means that you will be getting our progress reports a bit later every day.

Fri, 10 Mar 2006 // 21:27

Latest position : N87°24'25' E90°35'39'
Distance to go: 290km
Temperature: -38°C (without windchill)
Wind: Northwesterly 4m/s (9mph)
Ice drift: Southwards 0.3km/hr
Days of food left: 21
Average daily distance required: 14km

'We were once again in very cold temperatures today. We walked 12 hours in -38° C (without windchill) and a northwesterly wind (about 4m/s) blowing right into our faces. My fingers can only take 8 hours in these conditions and after that they really start to suffer. They eventually came right once I got back into the tent and was able to warm them up around a hot cup of soup. We did well under these conditions as we managed to advance 23kms even with a southerly drift of 0.3 km/hr.

You would think that the sledges would slide well when it is cold like this, but in fact, they don't! The snow becomes dry and it feels like we are dragging the sledges over sandpaper. There was also a very big accumulation of snow that we had to work our way though. The only advantage in these cold temperatures is that all the open water is frozen and it is normally thick enough to walk over.

Hope tomorrow will be a warmer day!'


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