The North Pole is just 15 km away

Published 21.04 in category North Pole 2007

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.

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