32: THINGS ARE LOOKING GOOD!
Wed, 22 Feb 2006 // 18:54
Quote of the Day:
'With 32 days done and another
38 days to go until the end of the winter we are feeling
positive that we will make it...'
Latest position: N84°10'01' E103°46'
Distance to go: 650km
Ice drift: Northwest
'After another 9.5 hours
walking we are 20kms further north, that is 650kms away
from the Pole. Things are looking good. With 32 days
done and another 38 days to go until the end of the
winter we are feeling positive that we will make it.
We drifted south 2kms during the night but now the ice
drift is in a NW direction. It's strange that as soon as
the drift is in our favour the wind suddenly dies down
to nothing. We are wondering if this might not be the
calm before the storm. We think the bad weather will
effect us tomorrow or perhaps Friday. We are expecting
winds of 15 metres per second (33mph) and very cold
temperatures once again. The problem with strong wind is
that waves are formed on the ocean creating pressure
under the ice and causing it to break up. Water becomes
exposed and huge blocks of ice are pushed up onto the
surface creating more obstacles for us to get over.
The ice conditions were great today. There were still a
lot of leads to get over but we were lucky to find a
path most times and only needed to swim once.
For now we'll carry on as usual and stick to the same
routine. When we leave the tent in the morning we walk
2.5 hours without stopping to put a bit of distance
behind us and while our oatmeal breakfast is still
giving us lots of energy. After that we take turns
leading, switching every 80 minutes, so in the course of
the day we have five breaks.
The sledges are gradually getting lighter. We are strong
and our equipment is working well. Things must continue
like this and we'll soon be at the Pole!
33: MIKE FALLS IN THE WATER!
Thu, 23 Feb 2006 // 17:21
Quote of the Day:
'The ice started splitting,
the crack between my legs was getting wider and wider
and then I fell in...'
Latest position: N84°17'41' E102°49'09'
Distance to go: 637km
Temperature: -15°C (without windchill)
Mike called earlier than usual today from campsite:
'We didn't stop early because of the wind. We were
forced to stop because I fell in the water - not once,
but twice!!! We left the tent early this morning and
walked a half hour in very strong northwesterly winds.
As we expected these strong winds are breaking the ice
and many openings are appearing. The snow is flying in
all directions and the visibility is so bad that you
cannot even see the front of your skis.
The first lead we came across, my foot broke through the
ice. I quickly corrected myself but my foot was wet. We
had no choice but to pitch the tent and get the cooker
alight to dry out my shoe before I froze my toes. This
held us back this morning but as soon as my shoe was dry
and I had changed my sock we decided to get going again.
I was fine.
We walked 11 - 12 kms and came across another lead. This
time Borge had found a nice passage to cross or at least
this is what we thought! He walked first with no problem
and then it was my turn. The ice was fine but when I
took my next step and I saw the ice start cracking
underneath me. The ice started splitting and this time I
was unable to correct myself. The crack between my legs
was getting wider and wider and then I fell in. I fell
in the water up to my waist and managed to pull myself
out by getting a grip on the ice edge. I immediately
rolled myself in the snow. The snow sticks to my
clothing and has the effect of soaking up the water,
which then immediately freezes and I can brush off. This
takes away a large proportion of the outside moisture
but does not help for the moisture in my underwear.
Borge, in the meantime was already pitching the tent.
This time we had a big drying job to do!
I am fine now. The cooker is still going. We have extra
reserves of fuel for this reason. We have managed to dry
the clothing out 80%. I think that it'll be fine by
tomorrow and we will be able to walk again as usual.
I was fortunate that the temperatures had risen to about
-15° today (without wind). We'll have to be very
careful the next few days. That's enough swimming for
637 kms to go to the Pole!'
34: A FUNNY START FOLLOWED BY A DIFFICULT DAY...
Fri, 24 Feb 2006 // 20:04
Quote of the Day:
'In difficult conditions and
reduced visibility, we crossed an average of one lead of
seawater every hour. When they're covered with snow,
they can be deadly...'
Latest position: N84°20'12' E101°30'
Distance to go: 632km
Wind: Strong NW winds 20-26mph
Conditions: Snowing, poor visibility
Today started with a comical accident with the pepper
spray, as Borge explains,
'Mike was a tad bit careless and released pepper spray,
which gave us a rather hilarious start! Pepper spray is
intended as a defence or last resort when you're
standing eye to eye with a polar bear, and it's
extremely effective. Well, it worked. Shortly after
breakfast, our tent was suddenly full of it, and we
could hardly breathe - we lay next to each of our vents
gasping for air, struggling to catch our breath. That
episode certainly did get our blood circulation going!'
The weather conditions were borderline this morning,
with 20-26mph northeast winds and almost zero visibility
in the snow, so Mike and Borge decided to stay in the
tent to see how things developed, Mike listened to his
music and Borge listened to the Hobbit by JRR Tolkien.
Throughout the morning conditions outside the tent
seemed to be improving slightly:
'Around noon the wind had
abated a bit, so we packed our equipment and broke camp.
It was still a miserable day. Even so, it did us good to
get out of the tent. It is so easy to just remain there
once you've settled into your sleeping bag. Hence it
feels like an even greater victory when you get it
together and brave the elements.
In difficult conditions and reduced visibility, we
crossed an average of one lead of seawater every hour.
When they're covered with snow, they can be deadly. We
have to always be scanning, looking left or right,
trying to read the terrain. Sometimes a snowdrift will
run straight across the water. But we managed to cross
each lead safely.
At the end of our day, we came to a huge lead that was
newly frozen and started walking. We were fine, but
discovered that the ice was very varied, with patches of
very thin, dangerous ice that looked almost the same as
the thicker ice. Here and there the ice had cracked, and
was obviously moving, forming pack ice a number of
At this point, Mike and Borge decided it was best to
withdraw, retreating several hundred metres on to solid
ice, as Borge explains: 'By
tomorrow we expect the lead to have frozen, so that we
can continue without taking undue risks. The wind is
supposed to come from a more southerly direction
tomorrow, and the weather forecast calls for good
weather the next few days. We don't mind it so much when
the wind is at our backs.
We're in the tent once again and our dinner is waiting
for us. Tomorrow we're going to cross that lead.'
Mike and Borge battled in these difficult conditions
today, and coupled with the southwards drift only
managed to walk 4km in 6 hours, leaving them 632km to
go. Hopefully tomorrow the southerly winds will return,
and help them progress north.
For latest news on Mike and Borge go to: www.mikehornnorthpole.com
Sign up for updates on Mike's progress on his North Pole
Winter Expedition at www.mikehornnorthpole.com
here to view Mike & Borge's latest position on
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For further information on Mike Horn contact:
T: +44 (0)870 063 0210
MIKE HORN PERSONAL DETAILS
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
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.'
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