NORTH POLE EXPEDITION 2006  Days 36-40

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

 

 

 

PROGRESS DAY CHART

 

 

 

 


 

 

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


 

DAY 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 : N8533'37' E9740'33'
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.'


Click here to view images Mike and Borge sent back today of their skis - before and after repairs.

 

 

 

 

DAY 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 broken...'

DATA LOG
Latest position: N8533'37' E9740'33'
Distance to go: 495km
Ice drift: Northwards
Ice conditions: Heavy pack ice
Temperature: -31C

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 -31C 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


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 done.'

 

 

 

 

 

 

DAY 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 southern horizon...'

DATA LOG
Latest position: N8522'42' E9812'51'
Distance to go: 515km
Temperature: -28C (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. -28C 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 bring.

We saw polar bear tracks today and yesterday, but they weren't fresh.

Tonight our position is N8522'42' E9812'51'. 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

 

 

 


DAY 37: 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!'

DATA LOG
Latest position: N8508'07' E9856'09'
Distance to go: 543km
Wind: Strong easterly 18mph
Ice drift: Easterly
Temperature: -40C (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 N8508'07' E9856'09' - 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 that out!!!

Bye for now!!'

Mike

 

 

 

 


DAY 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!'

DATA LOG
Latest position: N8452' E10001'
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 cold...

'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!'

Mike

 

 

 


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


WEB LINKS

Sign up for updates on Mike's progress on his North Pole Winter Expedition at www.mikehornnorthpole.com

Click 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:
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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