Report from Borge Ousland today 24th February at 16:12
Now we have completed the trip, and are heading for the first shower at Engholm Husky Camp in Karasjok. Great trip with really a lot of variation. Minus 25 the coldest night with beautiful northern light, - to plus 5 today and even with rain!
In between we had strong wind, whiteout and some sunny spells with clear sky. So we have been through more or less all levels of Arctic travels, and a very successful trip in dead.
Enclosing a few photos here, and will make a flickr selection in a couple of days.
We have been skiing on the plateau all day. Good conditions but very mild, just a couple degrees. We have done turns going in front practicing navigation in whiteout conditions. Now we have camped down in the woods and have only Km left tomorrow before we arrive.
Lat69deg30'29" Lon25deg2'0" Alt +320 m (2s ago) 23-Feb-2014 15:43:42 UTC
Report by Borge Ousland, today 22 February at 18:18
The wind picked up in the evening and blew 8 to 10 m/s during the night. Today is minus 10 but with a strong wind in face.
We practiced whiteout navigation and putting up tents in windy conditions.
Everything is fine and we are on schedule.
Our position: Lat69deg32'47" Lon24deg34'18" Alt +412 m (6m48s ago) 22-Feb-2014 17:13:34 UTC
Regards from Arctic Norway !
Lat69deg37'56" Lon24deg15'53" Alt +393 m (13s ago) 21-Feb-2014 17:56:53 UTC
Will post again later if there's another report or photos from today.
Started midday today in minus 14 degrees and skied in calm and clear wind and weather and with a bleak sun.
Just a short day to get on the routine. Strong and eager group from xxl sport shop and Helsport, who booked this trip.
No good photos with this camera but will post photos on flickr when we get back.
Will try to do a full day tomorrow and cover about 18 Km
Lat69deg44'55" Lon23deg57'19" Alt +384 m (25s ago) 20-Feb-2014 18:48:04 UTC
Hi, here is some pics from the trip.
We (Vince and I) are now back in Alta, already preparing for Borges trip Across the plateau.
It is always with both happiness and sadness when you come to the last day on a great adventure. We are happy to reach our goal, but also sad that the days on skies and evenings in the tent are over. But we go back home with happy stories to tell and new friends.
Last day on skies was done in warm weather. It snowed a little during the night and the temperature rose to zero degrees. First part was in rolling hills, with brushes and some small lakes. Then we went up above the tree line again, before we did the last drop down into first brushes and pine forest. We followed Karasjokka river down to Sven Engholms beautiful place. He has 50 some huskies and a big handful of log cabins. The sauna was a great surprise!
We spent the night at the husky, had a great local dinner with Moose as the main ingredient. Since we have turned the clock a little on the trip we took an early night.Now most of us are on our way home, except Maria that wanted to spend one more night at the Husky to run dogs.
All the best from the whole team!
Report by Bengt Rotmo, yesterday 16th February, at 21:50.
We lay on the crossroads to Jergul. In the evening we even got company from a solo traveller that very kindly asked us if she could put her tent close to ours. We also met a couple of dog mushers training for the Finnmark dog race that will take place in a a few weeks.
We started at 8 o'clock this morning, skied over the mountains and down to Ravnastua. We said hi to the owner before we walked on for an hour. Aproz 16:00 it got dark and the tents got pitched while the last piece of daylight left us.
Tomorrow we head for Karasjok, and towards Sven Engholm's place nearby.
Now: light snow and aprox zero degrees.
Lat69deg30'40" Lon25deg0'17" Alt +344 m (16s ago) 16-Feb-2014 20:39:58 UTC
Hello to all readers!
Everything is going fine here in Finnmark plateau. Weather, as we hoped, is good, warm and a little windy.
Yesterday was an excellent day and we progressed a lot. We took 7 leg skiing and in total did 22 Km.
We are now by the lake Isejavre, the biggest one here in the Finnmark plateau, and the place where we will pitch the tents for the night and a well deserved night of rest!
Regards and greetings from the Polar Team.
Click here : http://map.iridium.com/m?lat=69.632183&lon=024.266150. to see our position.
Report from Bengt’s Rotmo, today 13th February from Finnmark:
Here we are at Wisloff camping in Alta. After meeting up with all the team yesterday, we are now finished with the packing preparations for the trip. In just half hour we will be picked up to head up towards the storage site and will then be on our way up the plateau.
It might be a bit colder and windier once we are up in the highlands, but not much. If the weather stays like this it will be a very nice trip.
There’s not that much snow, definitely less than last year. Snow is quite hard and not too loose, so there will be good conditions for skiing up there.
The team is all ready and happy and we are ready to go !
So here there are a few photos about summit day in Mt. Vinson, and more !
We are leaving the big ice one day before schedule, but not before the birthday party, and "HELLO-KITTY-night" of Sigve being 25 years old : )
After some long, hard and beautiful days the team came back to VINSON base camp.
The summit day started with cold wind and discussions if it was possible to climb that day.
We decided to give it a go, and set out in cold wind and approximately 20 minus.
The climb to the summit is about 1100 meters up from high camp and a mix of snow and blue ice slowly rising up to 40 degrees.
The team was roped up all the time for safety reasons and because of crevasses.
After about 7 hours of climbing and walking we came to the summit and the summit ridge.
The summit ridge is a mixed climb of rocks and snow about 500 meters long to reach the highest point of Antarctica.
Steep walls on both sides of the ridge and a place you really don’t want to fall down...
Suddenly the wind stopped. Temperature was minus 33.
We stayed at the summit, alone, being the highest 3 persons in Antarctica for 45 minutes.
drinking "solbærtoddy" and eating "Gjende-kjeks"
The way down was long, and after a total of about 10.5-11 hours we hit the sleeping bags in highcamp.
Next day we rested until mid-day and rappelled down the 1200 meter long headwall and arrived in base camp Vinson just after midnight.
When we woke up at Tuesday 7 January we were suddenly scheduled for the Twin Otter flight back to UNION GLACIER and here we are now, enjoying the company of other South Pole tourist, skiers, climbers and the ALE staff, and waiting for the Russian Ilyishin-76 (transport plane) to fly us back to the real world on Friday, 10 January.
A phone call just received from the top of Mont Vinson. Very happy and strong team, composed of Torbjorn Grimstand, Sigve Grimstand and guide Inge Meloy are at the summit.
Day has been extremely good, not much wind, about 33 below zero and sunny. They will be by now on their way back to high camp to celebrate!
The team still in low camp.
Bad weather and strong winds, up to 20 m/s on the mountain.
First day of the new year we have done some practice around here with ropes and crampons and socialized with others in low camp.
Eating "tørrfisk", drinking coffee and had many good laughs J
If the weather improves tomorrow we will move to high camp or maybe carry some of our gear up the mountain and return for the safe and pleasure place at low camp.
Reached low camp at 2700m of altitude at 23.55 PM, perfect timing. It will be a New Year’s Eve to remember!
Just finished dinner, with "sommer aquavit", balloons all over the tent and crowns on our heads.
We send happy thoughts back home to our loved ones, and wish everybody a great night!
Tomorrow we will bring some food and gasoline up to the end of the fixed ropes, at the same time we acclimatize before we rappel down back to low camp.
(Torbjørn is considering flying, since this will be much faster and more fun!!!)
Headwall is the steep section between low camp and high camp.
The section is around 45-50 degrees and about 1,2 kilometers.
It was just fourteen days ago, Sunday 15 December, that I was here in Punta Arenas and kissed the foot of the statue, trying to ascertain whether the legend was true (those who kiss the statue’s foot will come back to town). It did not look a bad idea when taking off on a long, cold and maybe dangerous trip, and actually many encouraged me to do it!
Now that we have successfully reached the Pole, it could seem that success wasn’t the result of all the training, good preparations , hard and good work on the tour (or even the absence of bloodthirsty killer penguins in Antarctica), but that it must have been the fact of kissing the statue’s foot !!!
I was a little tired when I called to Bergen today. But not because of 111 Antarctic kilometers. In the end it was only 7 ski sessions each day and I could have gone much farther than that, at least for a few more days. But tired from the fact of not having slept well a single night!
So now, after my flight has been rebooked so I arrive at Santiago on New Year’s Eve, it is the moment for a very much needed shower and to crawl under the covers in my hotel room in Puntarenas!
When summer is starting in the Southern hemisphere it is the moment to try and achieve the conquering of one of the harder and definitely the most inaccessible seven summits: Mountain Vinson, in Antarctica.
Our little but very strong team is composed of Inge Meloy, Torbjorn and Sigve Grimstad.
We have flown down to Santiago de Chile, and then on to Puntarenas, regional capital of this southern part of Chile, jumping point for many of the adventurers travelling down to Antarctica. Here we will spend just a little time working on last minute preparations and packing before we are off to the white continent.
This is the most famous statue in the "Plaza de Armas" (weapons coutyard) in Puntarenas. Tradition has it that if you kiss the statue's foot you will come back to town. So I imagine that before taking off to Antarctica, and even if you are not superstitious, it is a good thing to do. Do not be ashamed though. Judging from how worn out the foot is you haven't been the first one to do it!
After "målgong" and the private victory ceremony, we toured the U.S. Amundsen-Scott base, and then had dinner and cake in our big tent.
So our passports have been “South Pole stamped!” and I can confirm to you now that it is flat here, and that there is no danger that we will fall out into outer space : - )
Thirteen days after departure from Sola the finish line is crossed. The seven long hard days skiing, from 89 to 90 latitude, are over and everything has gone very well! There is blue sky, sun, wind and cold - just as one would expect the South Pole to be.
We have accommodations (still in tents…) at the South Pole base before the scheduled return flight to Union Glacier Camp tomorrow.