With the North Pole as Master

Published 15.03 in category North Pole 2006

The North Pole gave us a real beating yesterday; it was a real lesson, driving home the fact that you can’t just “run ahead” up here. The weather forecast we received yesterday says it all – northerly winds all week.

It was –36°C when we started this morning. We have been walking straight into that headwind all day, which has been blowing at 9 metres per second. The northerly wind pushes the ice southwards at 0.7 km per hour, meaning we have less to show for our efforts. In addition we encountered a lot of rubble-like ice and slush ice, which also slows our pace. Our focus is to preserve our health and not take any irresponsible chances, making sure we reach the North Pole in a dignified manner.

That’s our goal. And we realized that couldn’t do it by continuing to press on with 12-hour days when the Arctic weather was fighting us. So we calmed things down a bit.

Well, it’s time to re-fasten that steel edge with Araldite glue. I’ve been waiting for it to thaw a bit. If I do the repairs now, the ski should be fully usable in the morning. Really glad we have an excellent repair kit!

Today we slept an hour extra. Mike and I had planned on walking for 9 hours today, when the steel edge of my right ski – the one I hadn’t repaired – came loose and stuck out. After 7 hours we stopped and pitched our tent. We had progressed 12 km today, leaving 211 km to go before we reach the Pole. Our position now is N88°06’47”, E86°59’42”.

There is every indication that reaching N89° latitude is going to be a real tribulation. The cold weather makes us very tired. Yesterday was one of the hardest days so far. Now we’re just trying to keep our routine; the plan is to carry on tomorrow, unless the weather is truly miserable.

We’ll see what date we end up arriving at our goal – perhaps March 23rd, 24th or 25th. Thereabouts. We’re not quite sure, but the North Pole and the weather conditions are master here. Reaching our destination then will be good, really excellent, and far earlier than we expected two or three weeks ago. And March 23rd was the date we had originally set for our arrival.

Yesterday I must have been too exhausted to mention that we saw a glimpse of the sun on the southern horizon. It’s light 24 hours a day now, and the sun will soon rise. The light makes life easier up here. We’re only struggling with the chill and weather. It all has a lot to do with the lunar cycle. When the moon is full, as it is now, the weather usually improves. Well, better and better… it gets colder but calmer. When the wind blows, temperatures have a tendency to rise a bit.

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