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




Norwegian Borge Ousland and South African Mike Horn have joined forces for a bold North Pole expedition. Yesterday, both explorers left their respective homes for Siberia, the starting point of their challenge which they will undertake in the pitch black Arctic winter.

Borge Ousland is quoted as saying: “We will try to do the entire trip during the dark period, and arrive before the 23rd of March, which is the first day of Spring and when the sun begins to appear above the horizon at the North Pole.”




Borge Ousland and Mike Horn


The pair is meeting up today in Moscow to finalize the details of their expedition. They hope to start skiing before the end of this month. Should Ousland and Horn succeed, they would be the first to arrive at the NP in winter - and in time to see the sun rising over the ice.

Norwegian Ousland is one of the foremost polar explorers in the world, together with names such as Gjeldnes, Weber and Malakov. South African Mike Horn finished an Arctic adventure in 2004, travelling around the Arctic, just within the Arctic Circle, by boat, kayak, ski sail and on foot. A support team provided him with resupplies and various means of travel along the trip.


Ousland and Horn's plan is as straightforward as it is outrageous. They intend to depart Cape Arkticheskiy (a perilous last spit of land off western Siberia) on or about January 15, to switch on their headlamps, and to bust it an average of ten miles (sixteen kilometers) a day for 620 miles (998 kilometers). In theory, they'll reach the pole in 60 days. Adhering to the purist ethic of unsupported polar travel—no prearranged depots or air drops of food and stove fuel, nor help from sled dogs—the two will pull capsule-like sleds containing everything they need behind them, hence the modest daily mileage and Horn's tango with those tractor tires.

At the start they'll each be dragging 330 pounds (150 kilograms) of fuel, food, double-A lithium batteries, and individual sleeping bags. "We are not that close yet," Ousland says, with a nervous laugh, at the prospect of sharing a bag. Ousland has, however, done exactly that on North Pole trips in the past to conserve body heat on the coldest nights.

Each day, the two will ingest upwards of 6,500 calories. Horn will get the extra fat he needs by drinking olive oil straight, and Ousland will beef up his protein intake by consuming his secret weapon: reindeer heart. Despite the dark, the pair won't brew up any coffee. As Ousland notes, "Coffee makes you pee." And you don't want to pee too often at minus 25 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 31 degrees Celsius).

If not sleeping bags, the duo will share a tent, even though Horn initially suggested two tents as well. "I didn't think this was a good idea," Ousland says. "A little too solo."

For two-plus months, they will wear the same four layers of clothing. They'll each have one change of underwear, socks, and thick mittens. Through his Russian contacts, Ousland has arranged for the airstrip known as Camp Barneo to open a few weeks early so they can catch a lift home.














Tue, 24 Jan 2006 // 18:32

Quote of the Day:

'We are now situated 18kms south of our starting point but hey, it's not so bad! There's nothing else to do but to hang in there! Soon the ice cap will turn and change it's direction.'


Position: N 81°11'40.1' E 98°18'46.0' (18km south & 50km east of Cape Artichesky)
Miles covered: -18km
Conditions: Snowing with strong winds of 5-6 metres per second
Temperature: -14°C (without windchill factor)
Days of food left: 64


Mike phoned his support team earlier today to update us on their progress:

'We moved another 10 kms down south today. It's a bit demoralising when you are walking non-stop north for two days only to find that at the end of the day you are 18kms further south of your starting point. Normally we should be moving towards Norway and Greenland but instead we are moving towards Alaska!!! We are now situated 18kms south and 50 kms east of Cape Artichesky! Heh, it's not so bad! There's nothing else to do but to hang in there! Soon the ice cap will turn and change it's direction.

It's still snowing with winds of 5-6m per second and a temperature of around -14°C (without the windchill factor). The ice is like a broken mosaic. We swam across one leed today and the rest of the time we were ice hopping - a favourite pass-time when I'm with my girls - but not here on the pole!!!

No bears around or at least they haven't come close enough for us to see them! Borge and I stay very close together when we walk. It's very dark and it would be easy to loose each other. All I can see is his headlight next to me.

We're going to sleep now - the terrain is very uneven and it's really hard work pulling these sledges!'









The departure will be from Cape Artichesky, the northern most point of Russia, on the 15th of January 2006.


The expedition will take around 67 days: The North Pole winter expedition is a unique challenge to Borge and Mike. Mike is known as the best all round world explorer' and Borge the best in 'polar exploration'.


This unique team will combine all their experiences and will arrive at the North Pole during the winter before the sun rises over the horizon.Mike and Borge will cover a distance of 1000kms with extreme temperatures of around -40°C. In a few more years an expedition like this will no longer be possible because of the global warming.


During their course, Mike Horn and Borge Ousland want to draw the interest of the public and show to them the beauty of our planet and show them the importance of the protection of our environment.






3 Feb 2006


Ils se sont réveillés tôt dimanche matin pour constater que le vent du nord-ouest avait soufflé durant la nuit, permettant ainsi à la glace de se former près de la côte ouest du Cap.Rapidement, ils sont sortis afin de voir s’il était possible de partir et ils ont constaté que la glace était solide, épaisse et stable. L’occasion était parfaite pour pouvoir se mettre en route et dire ‘au revoir’ à la terre ferme, puis démarrer l’expédition pour de bon.

Mike et Borge ont bien travaillé aujourd’hui. Ils ont marché non-stop durant six heures et demi contre un vent du nord-ouest qui soufflait la neige horizontalement à 7-8 mètres par seconde. A deux reprises, ils se sont trouvés face à de l’eau ouverte et ont dû utiliser le canot gonflable pour traverser. A cause des courants très forts, ils devaient avancer très rapidement pour atteindre l’autre côté avant que celle-ci ne soit trop éloigné. Heureusement, les deux fois, il n’y a pas eu de mésaventures.

Mike et Borge sont heureux d’avoir finalement quitté la terre ferme et débuter leur expédition. Lorsqu’ils ont téléphoné aujourd’hui, ils ont dit qu’ils avaient marché 19 km, mais à cause du vent et de la dérive de la glace, ils n’ont en fait avancé que de 2 km dans la bonne direction.

Dieu seul sait où ils vont se réveiller demain matin, mais de toute manière les deux compères sont heureux et ils sont convaincus d’avoir pris la bonne décision en quittant la terre ferme.





Mike Horn startet neue Nordpol-Expedition


LAUSANNE - Der Abenteurer Mike Horn aus Château d'Oex in der Waadt startet eine neue Nordpol-Expedition. Er bricht Mitte Januar mit dem Norweger Borge Ousland in die arktische Nacht auf. Eine solche Expedition wurde bisher noch nie im Winter unternommen.


8. Januar werde er nach Moskau abreisen, teilte Horn mit. Sobald es die Witterung erlaubt, wird er von dort aus im Helikopter nach Cap Artichesky, dem nördlichsten Punkt Russlands, aufbrechen. Die Expedition wird zwischen dem 12. und 15. Januar starten und soll 67 Tage dauern.


Horn und Ousland werden jeder einen Schlitten mit 180 Kilogramm Gepäck mitnehmen. Im arktischen Winter werden sie die Sonne nicht zu Gesicht bekommen. Es erwarten sie Temperaturen von - 40 Grad Celsius.


Horn unternimmt seine Expeditionen üblicherweise alleine. Ousland, der ihn diesmal begleitet und mit dem er seit 15 Jahren befreundet ist, war der erste Mensch, der die Arktis und die Antarktis im Alleingang durchquerte.


Seit 1997 hat der Südafrikaner Horn drei grosse Expeditionen durchgeführt: Zuerst fuhr er im Motorboot den Amazonas hinab, ehe er alleine und ohne motorisierte Hilfsmittel dem Äquator entlang reiste. Vor zwei Jahren schliesslich unternahm er alleine eine Expedition entlang des nördlichen Polarkreises.














Message from Mike: "A curious polar bear circled our tent during the night looking for something to do. We hope he doesn’t return with any of his friends. Fortunately, we have seen no sign of bears the last eight hours, but we have had to repair a rubber dinghy that the polar bear ripped apart during the night." See latest image below sent back from Mike and Borge earlier today, of polar bear tracks outside their tent. Conditions on the ice are still unstable, more news on their departure soon...




The good news came today that the wind conditions had calmed. Mike and Borge left their lodgings at Golomiyanniy, the helicopter motors were heated, and now at long last, they were on their way to Cape Artichesky, the starting point of their expedition.

Conditions were not what they were expecting. The region seems to be experiencing what we could almost call ‘A Siberian Heatwave‘. Warm temperatures of –5°C had struck the region, never before seen in this area at this time of year.

Another surprise soon became apparent, the recent westerly winds had blown the ice close to land. Mike and Borge were able to walk immediately onto the sea ice – almost too good to be true!! The courageous team waved goodbye as the helicopters flew away. Now they are alone on the ice, far away from any civilisation or shelter.

The excitement was high! Mike and Borge put on their skis, attached their heavily laden sleds onto their harnesses and started walking across the sea ice. Unfortunately the good luck did not continue...about 600 metres further on they decided to turn around. The ice was not stable, almost sludge in places, broken and moving fast in the current. The only option for them was to turn back to land and hope for better conditions tomorrow.

Now is time to put words into practice, to start getting into routine, each person with a specific chore, with the hope to get the tent up in as little time as possible. They were settling comfortably in the tent and then the next surprise came - their first visitor - a polar bear!! They weren’t expecting that on their first evening on the ice! The bear put his paw in the door of the tent, stood on and broke the zipper, sniffed around a little, and then turned backwards to the sled. As Mike and Borge got out of the tent they saw that he was walking off with a bag of food in his mouth. They set off a flare, the frightened bear dropped the food and ran onto the sea ice. As Mike said on the satellite phone, 'We managed to get rid of him for the moment - hopefully he will not come back...'

They certainly won’t be sleeping much tonight! One of them will need to stay on bear watch – not so easy in the dark, as Mike explains, 'You can’t hear the bears come close to the tent because the wind is blowing too hard.'

The broken zipper is now fixed and they are once again comfortably installed in their tent.

Although the start of their expedition is delayed another day, Mike and Borge have no regrets being where they are. They are in high spirits and want to get moving. Let's hope the temperatures will now drop, the northerly winds will appear and the ice will start freezing once again.



Dear all,
Borge and I are still standing by to leave to the starting position. The weather and temperature has not been too great, strong winds and very high temperature. We have inflated our rubber boats and hope to leave today. The visibility is not good enough for the pilot to fly so we have been stranded at Golomiyanniy for two days now. The race against the rising sun is on. We have only 65 days of food to make it north before the sun will rise. Very thin and broken up ice will be our bigest challenge. The first couple of days will be very interesting. Another problem will be to find drinking water on the salty sea ice. There are many unknown factors at this stage but we are ready and waiting for mother nature to decide our time to leave, we will be in the starting blocks. The dark polar night are making a difficult task a little more difficult.
We will keep you informed.




Mike called at 23h45 local time on Sredny Island (1645GMT) to say that the weather had once again taken control. The helicopters were unable to fly. They feel positive that tomorrow will be the big 'D' day and they promise to send news as soon as they land on Cape Artichesky!

At 0330hrs CET today, Mike rang his support team to say that in just a few hours the helicopter would take them to Cape Arctichesky. Mike and his expedition companion, Norwegian explorer Borge Ousland, left Sredny Island at 1000hrs CET today and are expected to arrive at their start destination, Cape Artichesky, later today.

From Mike: 'Conditions are not so great! There are strong southerly winds (8 - 9m/sec) and this has broken up the ice around the Cape. We have been told that the broken blocks of ice are drifting up to 82°N so it'll be tough going at the start. The temperature is only -20°C and it is snowing outside - far too warm for the ice to form properly. A thick layer of clouds cover the Cape and it is dark outside - pitch dark 24 hours a day!! - you cannot see a thing!!!'

Sleep is the last thing that Mike and Borge want to do this evening. They will be packing their equipment (yet again) and thinking of every last meticulous detail before they set off. We are looking forward to receiving a phone call from their first camp on the ice, when we hope to find out more details on their departure - they will only know this themselves once they are out there and have accessed the conditions.

Landing at Cape Artichesky signifies the imminent start of Mike and Borge's North Pole Winter Expedition as they attempt to be the first men to walk 1000km to the North Pole in the sunless Arctic winter, unassisted by machines or dogs, in the darkness and extreme conditions with the average temperature expected to be -50°. As Mike says, 'Obstacles are as big as you personally make them...'

Wed, 18 Jan 2006 // 13:26

Quote of the Day:
'Conditions are not so great!...Strong winds have broken up the ice around the cape - it'll be tough going at the start...'
Mike Horn




Mike rang at 3h30 local time to say that in just a few hours the helicopter would take them to Cape Arctichesky. Mike and his expedition companion, Norwegian explorer Borge Ousland planned to leave Sredny Island at 10am local time with an expected arrival at their start destination, Cape Artichesky, later today.

Mike says, "Conditions are not so great! There are strong southerly winds (8 - 9m/sec) and this has broken up the ice around the Cape. We have been told that the broken blocks of ice are drifting up to 82°N so it'll be tough going at the start. The temperature is only -20°C and it is snowing outside - far too warm for the ice to form properly. A thick layer of clouds cover the Cape and it is dark outside - pitch dark 24 hours a day!! - you cannot see a thing!!!"

Sleep was the last thing that Mike and Borge wanted to do this evening. They were packing their equipment (yet again) thinking of every last meticulous detail. We are looking forward to receiving a phone call from their first camp on the ice, when we hope to find out more details on their departure. They will only know this themselves once they are out there.

Landing at Cape Artichesky will signifiy the imminent start of Mike and Borge’s North Pole Winter Expedition as they attempt to be the first men to walk the 1000km to the North Pole in the sunless Arctic winter, unassisted by machines or dogs, in the darkness and extreme conditions with the average temperature expected to be -50°. As Mike says, “Obstacles are as big as you personally make them…” More news from Mike soon...




Mike and Borge have been waiting patiently in Noril'sk ever since the 9th of January. This has given them time to check and recheck all their equipment many times over. They are as ready as they can ever be! The problem is now they must wait for the bad spell of weather to pass so the helicopters can fly.

The news arrived yesterday that they can at long last fly to Sredny Island today (Monday). At around 10am Mike and Borge will be flown in a MI8 helicopter with about 350kgs of equipment and land on an ancient military airstrip on Sredny Island. They will then take refuge in a weather station and await the next helicopter that will take them to the northern most point of Russia, Cape Artichesky. They expect that they will get to Cape Artichesky tomorrow (17th January) and from there their expedition will finally start.

The ice around the Cape is not stable at the moment. Strong winds have recently battered the island and the ice has been broken up and pushed away from the land. Russian pilots reported that the ice was drifting at 10kms/hr around the Cape obviously making it impossible for Mike and Borge to set off. Now the conditions are once again improving, the winds have calmed and the temperatures are once again dropping allowing the ice to form. To help Mike and Borge arrive onto the ice they have with them two rubber dingy's. They may well need them if the temperatures rise again.

According to the latest weather charts the ice conditions will be very unstable for the first 115 kms of their trek. It will not be easy for Mike and Borge but they are well prepared and highly motivated to make a success of this expedition.

We hope for more news tomorrow from Cape Artichesky!




Extreme explorer, Mike Horn, will set off in the next few days on another extraordinary mission, the type of challenge that sets Mike apart from pretty well any other modern day adventurer. After swimming the length of the Amazon in six months, circling the globe without powered assistance at the Equator starting in June 1999 and finishing 17 months later in October 2000, and then more recently circling the planet at the Arctic Circle, including a winter time traverse of Siberia (2 years, 3 months long), it’s hard to find the right words to describe the quite incredible ability and determination of this modern day Shackleton, Amundsen and Hilary all in one.

Mike’s mission, a ‘training’ event for his Seven Wonders project (to be revealed on his return), is attempting to walk, unassisted by machines or dogs, the 1000 kilometres to the North Pole, in the darkness and extremely low temperatures of a sunless winter (-50C expected to be the ‘average’), to arrive at the top of the planet as the sun rises for the first time in 2006.




Ellen MacArthur’s Offshore Challenges are supporting Mike’s mission as part of the Adventure Team formed in 2005. Ellen’s perspective on Mike, sets the scene for yet another unbelievable voyage...

“An extraordinary person can achieve extraordinary things and Mike Horn is one of those people. In today’s world there are few new boundaries left to break, and yet Mike keeps on doing what seems the impossible.

“He now faces his own ‘race against the elements’ to reach the North Pole in darkness, in extreme circumstances. Conditions will be sub-zero, and sometimes, down to -60 degrees Centigrade depending on the wind chill factor, it will be permanently dark, as the only way Mike can complete this trip from Siberia is this ‘early’ in the season (polar travel is normally undertaken in spring time, just before the ice melts, but after the sun has ‘returned’). The thickness of the ice that Mike must travel over is marginal, and at times he will have to swim through the Arctic waters to reach the next ice pack. To go to the North Pole you are walking on water not land! In these conditions you can freeze to death in minutes once you stop moving. Mike and his expedition companion, Norwegian explorer Borge Ousland, are attempting to be the first men to walk to the North Pole in the sunless Arctic winter. If they succeed, it will be an astounding feat of human perseverance and endurance.

“The duo are aiming to arrive at the North Pole around the 21st March – the first day of the spring equinox when the sun will rise properly for the first time in this region. They have 67 days worth of food and plan to start their expedition imminently – there is no margin for error and there is no back-up.

“I have been thrilled by Mike’s extreme adventures over the years and on meeting him you are struck by his piercing eyes and practically floored by his vice-like bear hug! You quickly realise this is a human being who has pushed his own personal boundaries to the limit and where his determination knows no limits. As Mike says in his own words: ‘Obstacles are as big as you personally make them…’

“I wish him and Borge the very best of luck and look forward to following him with you!”




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

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







Arktos Expedition: July 2002 to October 2004
Circumnavigated the Article Circle solo covering around 20,000km traversing over Greenland, Canada, Alaska, the Russian Federation and Norway, and sailing over the Greenland Sea, Davis Strait, Bering Strait and the White Sea. Ten stages – four on sea and six on land – pulling a 200kg sledge without dogs or motorised transport. Twenty-seven months later, he arrived where he had started, mission accomplished.

Latitude Zero: June 1999 to October 2000
Solo around the world along the Equator covering approximately 25,000 miles on land and sea using no motorised transport. Divided into six legs from sailing across the worlds oceans to traversing the continents of South America and African on foot, bicycle and canoe.

Amazon Solo: August 1997 to January 1998
Mike navigated the entire 700km Amazon River from the source to the mouth of the river in the Atlantic using a hydrospeed [a float] solo and unassisted. Before Mike many had tried and none had succeeded.

Mike Horn next expedition [after North Pole]
Seven Wonders : dates tbc
To be revealed on Mike’s return.



Age: 39
Nationality: South African resides Switzerland
Status: Married to Cathy, two children aged 11 and 12




'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.'










Ernest Shackleton

Roald Amundsen

Scott of the Antarctic









Nelson Kruschandl:  Good luck and godspeed to Mike and Borge





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