NORTH POLE EXPEDITION 2006  Days 21-25

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FOLLOW THE EXPLOITS OF MIKE HORN AND BORGE OUSLAND AS THEY NAVIGATE THE NORTH POLE

 

 

 

PROGRESS DAY CHART

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

DAY 21: PICKING UP SPEED AT LAST!...
Sat, 11 Feb 2006 // 17:05

Quote of the Day:
'Would love to send you some photos but with this temperature it is not only the hands that don't want to work but also the equipment - everything tends to stop working around - 40C...'

DATA LOG
Latest position: N8238'32' E10535'10'
Temperature: -36C

Mike calls at 15h30 sounding very happy: 'We had a great day. We walked our average 9.5 hours and advanced 17 kms. The winds have calmed down and are now from the North East. We have unfortunately stopped our northward drift for the time being, but this is okay as long as we are not drifting southwards!!!

It's now exactly three weeks that we have been walking, and as we expected on the 82latitude, the ice is finally getting better. There is still a lot of pack ice but we are managing to find our way around it rather than having to go over it. We are also coming across some open areas. After these few days of very cold weather the leads are completely frozen and are solid enough to walk over without the fear of breaking through. Also with the more food we eat and the more fuel we burn our sledges are also slowly but surely getting lighter.

We are now beginning to see more during the day. There are several hours of twilight in the middle of the day, and the moon is almost full. Behind us is a magnificent glow on the horizon, which unfortunately, we are walking away from. We are beginning to distinguish the contours and contrasts in the ice well enough to choose a good path.

My fingers are pretty painful in this extreme cold and are my main preoccupation at this time. I have changed my gloves, am taking aspirin daily to thin the blood and an occasional vasodilator to help get the blood circulating. This seems to being helping for now.

Would love to send you some photos but with this temperature it is not only the hands that don't want to work but also the equipment. Everything tends to stop working around - 40C.

I'll have to keep you up to date with my phonecalls for the time being. Luckily the phone works still!

Best regards to you all!'

Mike

 

 

DAY 23: HEAVY PACK ICE YET AGAIN!
Mon, 13 Feb 2006 // 14:58

Quote of the Day:
'The sledges are slowly getting lighter and we are certainly noticing the difference but unfortunately they are also sticking to the snow today. Even on the downhill they are not slipping...'

DATA LOG
Latest position: N8257'50' E10453'10'
Distance to go: 786km
Temperature: around -30C

TOUGH DAY HAULING 120KG SLEDGES OVER BLOCKS OF ICE...
Mike and Borge experienced slightly warmer temperatures throughout the day (-28C in the morning dropping to -35C in the evening) and with virtually little to no winds. This meant that the conditions were a lot less harsh than their previous days.

Heavy pack ice once again encumbered their path and no getting around it this time! They struggled with their heavy sledges (around 120kgs each) hauling them over the blocks of ice the entire day.

'The sledges are slowly getting lighter and we are certainly noticing the difference but unfortunately they are also sticking to the snow today. Even on the downhill they are not slipping!

We have walked right into a compression zone, which seems to last for as far as the eye can see. We're hoping to move out of this vast area of pack ice soon because it really does slow down our progress a lot. That's why we only managed to move 14 km today.

We are well but are both tired. If things continue like this we'll be able to take a rest day in 5 days time, which will be our second since the beginning of the expedition.

Borge's taking medicine for his knees and me vasodilators for my hands. I have a little bit of frost nip on my fingers, which is pretty normal under these circumstances. My sore hands do tend to hold me back somewhat because I am unable to carry my skis. This means I may need to double track to recuperate equipment on the other side of the blocks of ice.

Our position today is N8257'50" and E 10453'10". We are getting closer to the 83rd latitude and are 786kms from the North Pole!

It's getting lighter and lighter. Just think, in a about 3 or 4 more days we might even be able to turn our headlights off for an hour!!'

Best regards,
Mike


LATEST AUDIO FROM MIKE:
Click here to listen to full audio:

'After our 23rd day on the ice, things are looking much better than about two weeks ago. At this stage things are going a little bit better, the weather has warmed up and hopefully we can make good progress. There is a full moon and that gives us a lot of light on the ice, although we still progress with our headlamps 24 hours a day. The ice has turned in to pack ice simple because of compression zones, and we're slowly but surely working our way through them. Our morale is 100% and there is not much wind at this stage, that makes it possible to make very good progress.'


DAY 22: 20KM ADVANCED - 'OUR RECORD YET!'...
Yesterday (Sunday) was a record breaking day for the walking duo as Mike reports:

'Another day of walking and we advanced 20kms - our record yet!!

We stopped at N8249'10' E10510'25' which means we have 802 kms to go until we arrive at the North Pole. It's great to see that we are gradually getting closer to the Pole. We'll sleep this evening and expect we will drift 2 km north throughout the night. Sleeping is virtually impossible in these temperatures but at least we'll have more peace of mind tonight!

When I do sleep I am dreaming about eating those chocolate coated marshmallows - not exactly sure what they are called, but give me a dozen and I promise I eat them straight away! Borge is longing for blueberry pancakes and sour cream - must be a Norwegian thing! After being deprived of normal life for a while it's funny what you start thinking about when you are out here in this harsh environment.

We are still hoping for milder temperatures. It surely can't get any colder than this! Both my thumbs have a touch of frost nip. It's nothing serious, just a little painful. We are still taking every precaution possible - you must in these conditions.'

Mike



JARGON BUSTER
Compression Zone: an area of compression at the base of a slide path where terrain steepness decreases. This zone is concave in profile, and subject to gravitational pressure from the snow above.
www.avalanche.org

Vasodilator: an agent, such as a nerve or hormone that widens the blood vessels, which in turn decreases resistance to blood flow and lowers blood pressure.
Encarta World English Dictionary

Pack ice: frozen blocks of sea ice, broken up and of variable size and thickness, some pieces can be the size of a coffee table and about 1 foot (30cm) thick, other pieces are larger than a tennis court and can be 30ft (9m) or more thick.
www.coolantarctica.com

 

 

 

DAY 24: IN AND OUT OF THE PACK ICE...
Tue, 14 Feb 2006 // 16:33

Quote of the Day:
'Milder temperatures today, around -27C without the windchill and -40C with...'

DATA LOG
Latest position 13.2.06: N8257'50' E10453'10' (no position received today)
Distance to go: 769km
Temperature: -40C with windchill
Wind speed: 20km/hour

Mike rings at 1600hrs to report about his day:
'We were in and out of the pack ice again today, but we still managed to do 15-16kms. We have a slight NE drift with southerly winds at 5-6metres per second (20km/hour) and blowing snow. Luckily for us the winds blew away the snow so it was not as deep as it was yesterday. The sledges were more willing to follow us today. Milder temperatures today. Around -27C without the windchill and -40C with.

We're preparing our dinner now. It's so good to get hot food into your stomach at the end of the day.

HAPPY VALENTINES DAY!!!'

Mike

 

 

 

DAY 25: RECORD DAY FOR DISTANCE - 27KM!
Wed, 15 Feb 2006 // 16:21

Quote of the Day:
'I'm more prone to freezing my nose than Borge it seems, I guess because of my 27 month expedition around the Arctic Circle! It is already starting to turn black on the tip and around the nostrils...'

DATA LOG
Latest position: N8321'54.5' E10405'19.4'
Distance to go: 741km
Wind: 22mph SE winds
Drift: NW ice drift of around 0.3mph

Today Mike and Borge did their record day for distance - 27 km! (previous record was 20km on Day 22):
'Everything was in our favour today. We were very fortunate to have a NW drift of 0.3 to 0.6 km /hr helping us in the right direction and the sledges were sliding beautifully on the thin layer of fresh snow. Now that we are on the 83rd latitude we are seeing the difference in the ice. Today the ice packs are thicker and are pressing hard against one another. A few days ago the ice was thinner and under pressure the ice would break up creating huge mounds that we needed to climb over.

At the moment we are experiencing southeasterly winds at 10 metres per second (22mph). We are expecting soon that the winds will turn from the north. It will not be very good for us if it does because we will have once again the problem of the head-on wind freezing our noses. I'm more prone to freezing my nose than Borge it seems, I guess because of my 27 month expedition around the Arctic Circle! It is already starting to turn black on the tip and around the nostrils. We will probably most likely wait for those harsh head-on northerly winds for our next rest day.

It is important for us now to move while we can. We believe that if we continue with an average of 20kms a day we'll have enough food rations to see us to the North Pole but we prefer to be cautious and are saving three extra days for the 'just-in-case'.

741 kms to go ! It's getting closer!'

Mike

 

 




For latest news on Mike and Borge go to: www.mikehornnorthpole.com


WEB LINKS

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For further information on Mike Horn contact:
Josie Robinson
T: +44 (0)870 063 0210
E: josie.robinson@ocgroup.com



MIKE HORN PERSONAL DETAILS


Age: 39
Nationality: South African resides Switzerland
Status: Married to Cathy, two children aged 11 and 12

 

 


MIKE HORN'S PHILOSOPHY:


'The drive to go beyond our physical, mental and spiritual limits is an internal attitude that transcends global borders. It tests our personal limits and opens the way for new levels of achievement in all aspects of life. This philosophy is the driving force behind every endeavour.

Although I find myself in the most extreme circumstances, I always use caution. My philosophical approach is to live the endeavour as an expression of my being. Alone, immersed in nature, with no creature comforts, to surpass the limits imposed by man and nature itself. With faith and determination, one can embody the purest expression of this philosophy.'

 

 

 


 

 

 

ARCTIC AND ANTARCTIC EXPLORATION LINKS:

 

 

Ernest Shackleton

Roald Amundsen

Scott of the Antarctic

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

Nelson Kruschandl:  We're with you all the way.

 

 

 


 

 

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