Archive for April2007
At 21.30 hours we reached the North Pole! Tonight’s celebration is well earned. We put in twelve and a half hours. Everyone is in great shape, no injuries. I’m proud of them. Now we can all look forward to celebrating before a satisfying night’s sleep on the world’s most northerly point.
Tomorrow the helicopter will pick us up, to fly us to Ice Station Barneo – the first leg of our long journey home.View 5 comments
After our expedition put in 11 hours on the ice – our longest day yet – we only have 15 km to go before being able to plant the flag on the North Pole. Difficult pack ice and a strong headwind limited our progress to 13–14 km. Each hour we were losing 400–500 metres due to the southerly ice drift. The wind has lessened now, but after drifting so far West, we will be fighting the current to reach our final destination.
All our expedition members know we will have to put in a long day tomorrow as well. We are hoping to reach the North Pole – but it will really require an effort. We only have two days to do it.
Temperatures have dropped to –20˚C. The icy landscape is incredibly beautiful, but many open leads challenge us, and these have to be crossed. We had a small accident today. One of the expedition members fell and went through the ice on one of the smaller leads. It was a cold and wet experience, but there is no harm done. We pulled him up quickly and the mishap didn’t delay us much.
Such minor accidents are almost inevitable. These are, however, a strong reminder how fine a line there is up here between success and failure, and between life and death. I think everyone is well aware of that. They’re doing great – and I consider their Arctic training to be complete. All of them are ready now to face almost any winter conditions. It takes time to know the elements, to know your body, to know how to deal with large and small challenges. That’s been the real aim of this expedition.
We’ve pressed onward despite bad weather, and made progress despite many open leads. Everyone is in good spirits and there are still no injuries.
Today we faced poor weather conditions, forcing us to “grin and bear it”. It’s been a real fight. The wind gradually increased from a strong breeze this morning to a light easterly gale. Since temperatures were relatively mild (5–10˚C), and the wind was coming from the side, it wasn’t much of a practical problem. The westward ice drift hasn’t stolen any of our progress. We’re very satisfied after having walked 18 km today. Our camp is now just 24 km from the North Pole!
If all goes well, we shall reach our goal within a couple of days. The weather forecast is excellent. Our meteorologist expects the winds to lessen, giving us great condition for the final leg of our expedition.
We had to cross three or four open leads today. It’s not unusual for the ice to open up in the face of such strong winds and currents. Each hour we have been drifting approximately a thousand metres westward. That’s an immense force exerted on the ice. Fortunately, none of the leads posed a problem.
After a hard day’s work, we’re all relieved to be able to rest in a nice, warm tent. I don’t think anyone is having problems sleeping. All is well. This is a strong group and no one is voicing any complaints. Such an expedition does take its toll on the body, but everyone is in great physical shape and handling the challenges really well. That is good promise for the final 24 kilometres. Good night.
We’re sitting in our tents again, after a great day during which we put 21 km behind us. This morning we crossed the last two leads in this maze of leads that we struggled with much of yesterday. After that we continued on wide, even expanses of snow and ice. Such conditions allow us to set a strong pace, bringing us closer to the goal of our expedition: the North Pole.
Yet another hard day on the ice. Due to hard winds from the northeast, we had to delay our start this morning and assess the changing weather conditions. Fortunately the wind gradually died down, and we pressed on all day. The sun even broke trough for a while, and today we saw a seal in an open lead. At 8pm we pitched camp.
There are lots of open leads in the area we have now entered. The great news is that the southerly ice drift has stopped – we’re actually drifting northwards now, and will make free progress even as we sleep. Everyone is in fine shape; we have yet to experience injuries. This is Børge Ousland signing off, with greeting from all expedition members.
Yesterday we had abominable weather. It’s rather depressing to lose a whole 10 km due to drifting ice just in the course of the night. The good news is that we woke up to gorgeous weather, and the wind has stilled. After walking for two hours, we found a way to get out of this maze of open leads – but it wasn’t easy.
As soon as we tackled that challenge, it was easy going. Sunshine and a relatively warm temperature of –4˚C. No wind. The ice drift has abated. We progressed 18 kilometre today, pulling our first 10-hour day. It’s really important to keep going at this pace if we hope to reach the North Pole in time for a 23 April flight.
There is a cheerful mood in the camp after this good day. Let’s hope the great weather continues tomorrow.
The weather is terrible. We have been bowing our heads fighting a fierce headwind. Each hour we’re drifting 1 km in the wrong direction, losing much of our progress. There is virtually zero visibility and many open leads. We hope to find a way out of here tomorrow.
The expedition members are exhausted – but everyone is doing well and proving they can get the job done even under these adverse conditions.
By satellite phone we have been told that the runway at Ice Station Barneo is closed after the ice cracked. The crew up there is working hard to fix it; if worst comes to worst, they will have to make a new runway.
I’m proud of everyone. We’re working great together as a team and spirits are high. All of us are hoping for good news and good weather tomorrow.View 2 comments