NORTH POLE EXPEDITION 2006  Days 51-55

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DAY 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.'

DATA LOG
Latest position : N8834'10' E8341'32'
Distance to go: 160km
Temperature: -15C
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 last!!

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 -38C. It was an amazing sight to see the sun and it re-zapped us with instant energy and well-being.

Now, at our camp this evening it is dead calm, the winds have dropped and the temperature has climbed to -15C. 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!!!'

Mike

 

 

 

 

 

DAY 51: 

 

MIKE 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 per day.

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 destination.

For the majority of this week, temperatures have not risen above -30C dipping to -40C on Saturday (normally at this time of year temperatures average between -25C to -28C), without taking in to account the wind chill factor. With the 9mph wind experienced that day, this lowers the overall temperature to -50C - 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 avoiding frostbite.'

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 accomplished."

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


JARGON BUSTER
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.
www.coolantarctica.com

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

PROGRESS DAY CHART

 

 

 

 

 




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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