First ever attempt to walk the 1000km to the North Pole
in the total darkness unassisted by machines or dogs.
40: 11 HOURS OF DIFFICULT SKI REPAIRS
Thu, 2 Mar 2006 // 17:07
Quote of the Day:
'Since we don't have so many
screws, I drilled 16 holes through the ski and the
reinforcement, and then used a shoelace - I have very
strong shoelaces - to tighten it all...'
DATA LOG 1/3/06
Latest position : N85°33'37' E97°40'33'
Distance to go: approx 495km
(no position received today, may have changed slightly
due to drift)
Today Mike and Borge spent the entire day in the day
making some crucial repairs to their skis: 'We've
just finished - the operation has taken us 11 hours and
it was extremely difficult and demanding!
The first thing we did was to move the bindings on three
of our skis 5-6cm further back. Each of them are now
positioned immediately above where we registered the
strain in the materials. This moves the main strain
point - and hopefully in time. We can only hope that the
skis are not so damaged inside that they break anyway.'
Borge had a particularly big repair job to do on his one
broken ski: 'It was
excruciatingly difficult, and we still don't know how it
will hold, since we haven't had a chance to walk at all
today. What I did was to first saw off 25cm from the
back of that ski. Then I used that piece as a
reinforcement where the ski was completely broken,
attaching the binding to it, and screwed it onto the
middle of the main section of the ski. Well, actually
since we don't have so many screws, I had to find an
alternative way to attach them. I drilled 16 holes
through the ski and the reinforcement, and then used a
shoelace - I have very strong shoelaces - to tighten it
all. That should give a strong yet flexible joint.
I'm really hoping this repair job will hold! I think it
will. But it's horrible to consider the thought that
every single one of our skis might have to be repaired
in the same manner. Hopefully we won't have to do that -
because it took an insane amount of time.
We're going to have to have a serious word with our ski
producer when we get back. These skis are clearly not
what they're made out to be and not what we ordered. It
looks like they've just given us ordinary skis, and not
the reinforced ones that we were promised.
Tomorrow we'll test the results on the ice.'
here to view images Mike and Borge sent back today
of their skis - before and after repairs.
39: PAST HALFWAY MARK - 495KM TO GO...
Wed, 1 Mar 2006 // 16:55
Quote of the Day:
'The future looks ok but we
have had a lot of equipment failure, tent poles and shoe
soles have been breaking because of the cold, and our
biggest worrying is that one of Borge's skis has
Latest position: N85°33'37' E97°40'33'
Distance to go: 495km
Ice drift: Northwards
Ice conditions: Heavy pack ice
Tonight, Mike and Borge set up camp after progressing
20km, 18km walked and 2km thanks to the northerly ice
drift last night. Although they spent 10.5 hours walking
today, they weren't able to cover as much distance as
the past few days. Borge explains why... 'We
spent a fair part of the time going through pack ice or
looking for ways around the blocks of ice. Another
factor is poor glide; it was -31°C today and that
seemed to influence the surface of the snow.'
Update from Mike: (Click
here to listen to full audio)
'We've basically reached the
halfway mark of the expedition in distance. Although we
spent 40 days reaching 500km, we expect another 30 days
to end the expedition. The days are becoming much
lighter, the ice conditions have improved. Although
we've been battling with a lot of pack ice today, we
made reasonably good progress.
The future looks ok, we have had a lot of equipment
failure at this stage, tent poles have been breaking
because of the cold, shoe soles have been coming off
because of the cold and our biggest worrying is that one
of Borge's skis has broken. We'll have to take a day off
to try and fix the ski, basically to try and move the
binding back to change the stress point on the ski.
Usually this should not happen, it's never happened in
any of my expeditions and it is a bit of a
disappointment. It's like driving a car without a motor
- it's impossible to walk to the pole that can only be
done in skis.
The future looks good - we've made very good progress
and we're hoping to get to the Pole in the week of the
24th - 29th (March). Everything seems to be ok with our
health - my little frost bite fingers have improved,
Borge's feet have not been giving him too much hassle,
and basically we hope that things in the equipment will
last to carry us all the way through to the Pole without
assistance. We have currently about 30 days of food,
with 3 days of emergency rations just to survive if we
might need it.
So that's about all the news for now!'
Mike and Borge now face some difficult repair jobs,
which they expect will take most of tomorrow: 'We've
figured out a way to do the repairs and are hoping they
will go well. I'll give you a full report when we're
38: EXCELLENT ICE CONDITIONS
Tue, 28 Feb 2006 // 22:48
Quote of the Day:
'The light is fantastic up
here! It's bluish violet with a trace of red near the
Latest position: N85°22'42' E98°12'51'
Distance to go: 515km
Temperature: -28°C (without windchill)
MAKING GOOD HEADWAY...
'It has been another good day
for us. We've walked 25 km today in ten hours - that's
28 km closer to the North Pole, taking into account last
night's ice drift. We are really satisfied with that
kind of progress! We had an easterly wind today, too,
but not as annoying or biting cold as yesterday. -28°C
is within our 'comfort zone', unless the wind factor
make's life chillier. Fortunately the wind velocity
stayed around 5 metres per second (11mph), and now it's
died down completely. We wonder what tomorrow will
We saw polar bear tracks today and yesterday, but they
Tonight our position is N85°22'42' E98°12'51'. The
light is fantastic up here! It's bluish violet with a
trace of red near the southern horizon. We only have to
use our headlights in the morning and for a few hours in
the evening. The rest of the time, there is enough light
from the sky to navigate.
We see our surroundings well and the ice conditions are
still really excellent. Perhaps a bit more chaotic and
mixed, but we're making good headway. We still have
about 515 km to go.
We're going to bed now, hoping to wake to yet another
good day tomorrow!'
Borge and Mike
LOOKING GOOD...MIKE AND BORGE FEELING POSITIVE
Mon, 27 Feb 2006 // 18:29
Quote of the Day:
'Only one thing to do when
it's cold like this and that is to move, move, move! You
do not stop moving at all during the day otherwise you
freeze on the spot!'
Latest position: N85°08'07' E98°56'09'
Distance to go: 543km
Wind: Strong easterly 18mph
Ice drift: Easterly
Temperature: -40°C (with windchill)
Mike and Borge have made excellent progress over the
last few days, breaking their record for distance
covered in one day which now stands at 30km after 10
hours walking. On Saturday they reached the halfway mark
in the expedition, in terms of days on the ice (37 out
of an estimated 70) and are now nearly half way in
distance covered (457km done with 543km to go). As a
result their sledges are becoming noticeable lighter as
the days go by with the more food and fuel they burn.
Now in the 85th degree of latitude, the ice conditions
are noticeably improving too as they move on to the
older, thicker and more stable ice (100-150cm). Even at
this stage, there is still a chance the ice can break up
and form open leads but this is less likely to form
troublesome pack ice. Although donning their survival
suits to swim across these leads is unlikely to be a
thing of the past.
The easterly winds and ice drift are currently going in
their favour, and helping them accelerate north. These
all round excellent conditions they are experiencing,
helped them advance an impressive 58km over the weekend.
The duo are hoping the current easterly wind will shift
to a southerly. This will cause the ice cap to drift
north speeding up their progress towards the North Pole.
This direction of wind also means it would come from
behind them not only helping to push them along, but
also creating safer walking conditions. A week ago, Mike
and Borge were really suffering the effects of the harsh
freezing cold head-on winds, causing Mike's nose to turn
black on the tip and Borge was also suffering with a
swollen face- the first signs of frostbite. However,
today's latest update from Mike (see below) demonstrates
how they are still battling with freezing conditions: 'We
are fighting against very strong winds and very cold
temperatures of around -40° (with windchill)...'
The main preoccupation now, apart from looking after
their bodies and having enough food to get them to the
Pole, is also their equipment that is still being
affected by the freezing cold temperature, which caused
another tent pole to snap.
From now on they need to continue averaging 19km a day
to get them to the North Pole before running out of
food! They have saved an extra three days of rations to
allow them a safety margin of a few extra days - this
would allow the average daily distance to drop to 17km.
Mike and Borge have decided to walk at least 10 hours
each day, which is less tiring on the good ice they are
now experiencing, and they are both feeling positive
they will make it to the North Pole in time to become
the first men to walk do the North Pole unassisted in
the Arctic winter.
DAY 37 UPDATE: ANOTHER 30KM DAY!
'It was another great day. We
encountered a lot of broken ice and patches of water,
but we managed to get across on skis or otherwise found
an alternative passage. We are fighting against very
strong winds and very cold temperatures of around -40°
(with windchill). Only one thing to do when it's cold
like this and that is to move, move, move! You do not
stop moving at all during the day otherwise you freeze
on the spot!
It's amazing how much more light we get day by day. We
left the tent early this morning and after one hour of
walking we were able to turn off our headlamps already.
We walked virtually all day with no extra light and only
needed to turn our headlamps on again two hours prior to
pitching tent. Having light during the day makes a huge
difference to our progress. We are also noticing polar
bear tracks more regularly. Seems as though there are
not so far away but at least now we might be able to
spot them before they spot us!
The easterly drift added an extra 3km on to our 27km
today so all in all we advanced 30kms!!
Our position tonight is N85°08'07' E98°56'09' - that
is 543km from the Pole. It interesting to note that the
longitudes are changing quickly now, because they are
getting closer and closer as we approach the North Pole.
No problems with tent poles tonight so that is good. I
have an infection under my nail, which is quite sore. I
hope that the antibiotics in my pharmacy will soon sort
Bye for now!!'
36 : 30KM IN 11 HOURS - NEW RECORD!
Sun, 26 Feb 2006 // 17:54
Quote of the Day:
'We are now 400kms away from
Cape Artichesky and we have 574kms to go to the pole, I
can tell you it feels great to be passing this point and
to know that everything is just fine!'
Latest position: N84°52' E100°01'
Distance to go: 574km
Wind: Strong southeast 18mph
Ice drift: Northeast 0.5km/hr
A very happy Mike and Borge call after setting another
new record for distance covered in one day, with no
swiming involved today! While making good progress,
their equipment is feeling the effects of the extreme
'We did 30kms today!
Conditions were great so we walked almost 11 hours to
get a bit of distance behind us. If we look at the food
supplies we have an average of 19kms to do each day
before we go hungry. It's a bit touch and go so we
prefer to move while the going is good. It's important
to get all the chances on our side.
The wind is strong and coming from the southeast at 8
metres per second (18mph). The ice drift is
northeasterly at about 0.5 km/hr. The sky was clear
today with the occasional cloud and a lot of blowing
snow. It was great to be able to turn off our headlamps
for about three hours today and to still be able to see
where we were placing our feet. We only had a couple of
leads to cross today but no swimming was done!!! It
would be great if conditions stay like this!!
The tent poles are causing us a lot of worry. This time
it was Borge that had the mishap - the pole broke in his
hand. We have fixed it again and are hoping they will
last another month of these conditions. They just do not
withstand the extreme cold.
We are now 400kms away from Cape Artichesky and we have
574 kms to go to the pole. It was around about here
where I was picked up after freezing my fingers during
my first attempt of the North Pole. I can tell you it
feels great to be passing this point and to know that
everything is just fine.
Will try and get some new photos to you tomorrow but for
now I need to sleep!
Regards to all!'
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
Google Earth. To download Google Earth click
here ( PC and Mac OS X 10.4 only).
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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