55: FIRST GLIMPSE OF THE SUN!
Sat, 18 Mar 2006 // 08:42
Quote of the Day:
'It was an amazing sight and
it re-zapped us with instant energy and well-being.'
Latest position : N88°34'10' E83°41'32'
Distance to go: 160km
Days of food left: 13
Average daily distance required: 13km
Mike and Borge have spent the last 54 days walking in
darkness, catching only a glimmer of sunlight on the
horizon some days for a few hours. With the sun rising
at the North Pole for the first time each year on the
Spring Equinox, which is approximately March 21st (3
days time), the walking duo saw their first glimpse of
the sun today - a welcome sight...
'We woke up in white-out
conditions this morning and with very strong winds. It
was a very difficult day. Bad terrain and poor
visibility hindered our progress and we only advanced
15kms in 10 hrs. We could hardly see two metres in front
of us. Ice conditions were bad, with some moving patches
and leads appearing. Just when we thought that our
swimming days were over we were forced to put on our
swim suits and cross two leads. These must definitely be
The temperatures were cold when we woke up but they
gradually warmed throughout the afternoon. You won't
believe that we saw our first glimpse of the sun today.
Ironically we looked at the temperature gauge at the
same time, but saw that there was no change. It was
still reading -38°C. It was an amazing sight to see the
sun and it re-zapped us with instant energy and
Now, at our camp this evening it is dead calm, the winds
have dropped and the temperature has climbed to -15°C.
We hope that now the winds have calmed the southerly
drift will also stop. We're fed up with drifting
backwards! The winds appear to be turning to NW which
might give us an easterly drift, or even better we might
stop drifting altogether.
Only 160km to go to the Pole and only one major concern
at this moment. As we are speaking, Borge is sawing his
skis in half. Unfortunately his last repair job did not
hold out so he has no choice but to shorten the skis and
move the bindings forward. This shouldn't hinder his
progress too much we hope...at any rate, nothing is
going to stop us from getting to the pole now!!!'
AND BORGE MAKE A RUN FOR THE POLE!
Mon, 13 Mar 2006 // 18:17
After what was possibly their coldest week so far in
the expedition, Mike and Borge are now roughly 220km
from reaching the North Pole and are making excellent
progress, despite the dangers and uncomfortable walking
conditions they are enduring, averaging 25km progress
On Thursday, the duo decided to extend their walking
hours from ten to twelve hours, in their final push
towards the Pole. As a result, their days are now longer
and harder especially whilst they battle against the
current northerly winds and southerly drift, which are
pushing them south, the opposite direction to their
For the majority of this week, temperatures have not
risen above -30°C dipping to -40°C on Saturday
(normally at this time of year temperatures average
between -25°C to -28°C), without taking in to account
the wind chill factor. With the 9mph wind experienced
that day, this lowers the overall temperature to -50°C
- the limit of what is safe and manageable to walk in: 'We
had to fully concentrate on surviving, each and every
hour, keeping our bodies and limbs warm enough and
Although in the 87th degree of latitude (likely to be at
N88° by the time they set up camp tonight), the ice
conditions continue to present the duo with a difficult
obstacle course as they push north, passing in and out
of pack ice. On Tuesday they came across a compression
zone (see Jargon Buster below), producing ice mountains
as high as 8m, blocking their path completely: "We
needed to back track a few times today and find
alternative passages around these massive obtrusions.
This held us up quite a bit."
With their high average distance covered each day, and
19 days of food left, Mike and Borge now need to average
13km per day to complete the expedition before running
out of food: "Borge and I
are beginning to feel like robots, one foot after the
other, hour after hour after hour. One thing is for
sure, we have great satisfaction to see the Pole getting
closer and closer." Although finishing seems a
very viable possibility right now, conditions can change
very quickly. So far the equipment is holding out, and
although their bodies are feeling the effects of the
minus conditions, it is a manageable level of discomfort
for them. One thing going in their favour, is that their
sledges are gradually becoming lighter as they consume
1.1kg per day of fodd and burn 300g of fuel. When they
started the expedition they were pulling around 160kg -
51 days on, they now only have 90kg to pull behind them
for 12 hours a day. This is still the equivalent of
pulling a 6ft, well-built man behind them all day!
With just over two degrees of latitude to go the North
Pole (243km), the duo are feeling positive about
competing their mission within the next 10 days: "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
Hopefully this time next week, we will be confirming
their ETA at N90°! To achieve their goal of becoming
first men to walk the 1000km to the North Pole during
the Arctic winter, unassisted by machines or dogs.
Latest news at www.mikehornnorthpole.com
Compression Zone: a zone where the ice is
compressed and crushed. As Mike explains, "We
can 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."
For more info go to www.avalanche.org
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.
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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