The most difficult challenge undertaken by Mike Horn up until now, the solo, un-motorised circumnavigation of the Arctic circle.
The word Arctic comes from the ancient Greek word “Arktos” meaning “bear”. The Arctic region is, in fact, the zone where the polar bear lives, whereas in the Antarctic, the polar bear does not exist. The Arctic region lies between the North Pole and the latitude 66°33. This imaginary line called the Arctic Circle was traced by following the edge of the tree line. This irregular line is situated between 55° (in Labrador) and 71° (in Scandinavia). Mike's path will always be situated above the tree line in the tundra zone, which is covered with ice for the greater part of the year.
4. August - DEPARTURE: North Cape, Norway
THE EMOTIONAL START
On 4 August 2002 Mike Horn set out on his first amazing challenge in the Polar Regions: the circumnavigation of the Arctic Circle, without using an engine or dogs pulling sledges. This was the start of Arktos, an expedition never before attempted, covering a distance of 20,000 kilometres across the tundra of Greenland, Canada, Alaska, the Russian Federation and Norway.
13. SEPTEMBER - ARRIVAL: ILLILUSAR, GREENLAND, DENMARK
BAD WEATHER MOVED IN
Mike completes the traverse of Greenland. Bad weather moved in just as he arrived on the ice cap: strong winds, thick snow, and bitter cold temperatures made progress extremely difficult. After this tough start, conditions slowly improved.
Once the wind tourned, Mike was able to use his kite to pull him on skis; He could easily cover 60 Kilometers per day.
30. SEPTEMBER - ARRIVAL: Nanisivik, Baffin Island, Canada
REAL ADVENTURE BEGINS
Mike leaves the sailboat in Nanisivik, where he is joined by the team who help to winterize the craft for the harsh season ahead.
He'll set off on foot, and the real adventure will begin. As Mike says so often, "You have to keep looking ahead, not back." A good definition of courage. And determination.
26. NOVEMBER - DEPARTURE: Arctic Bay, Baffin Island, Canada
POINT OF NO RETURN
"The conditions are hellish. Winter has come sooner than expected. Despite everything, Mike heads into the ice and wind, alone, pulling his sledge behind him. He soon reaches the point of no return, and he can only pray that weather conditions will improve..."
“You have to keep looking ahead, not back”
28. FEBRUARY - ARRIVAL: Pelly Bay, Canada
Mike is keeping to schedule as his Arktos Panerai watch confirms.
Reaching the west coast of Committee Bay, he even treats himself with a day of rest after battling extremely low temperatures.
He discovers frostbite on his fingers, but stays calm. "Not the first time. I'm just happy I've still got things under control.".
In the sweeping magnificence of the snowy plains, stretching to infinity before him, Mike sees the traces of a lone polar bear's passage".
29. JUNE - ARRIVAL: Alaskan Border
ICE IS MELTING
Now, Summer is here and the ice is melting. As the Mackenzie Delta was too dangerous to cross on foot, Mike was forced to exchange his sledge with a kayak and then to pull it as a sledge.
Mike Horn crosses the copper landmark representing the border between Canada and Alaska.
5. JULY - DEPARTURE: Kaktovik, Alsaka
CONSTANTLY MOVING AHEAD
Hauling a load of more than 200 kilos, paddling through icy waters, navigating between icebergs with great difficulty, sprinting on his bike, constantly moving ahead day and night, Mike has to call on all his resources.
His courage and determination remain intact. He thinks of nothing but reaching his goal.
Every effort, every new development requires unflagging determinantion and adaptability. Man and nature are intimately linked in a personal yet peaceful struggle.
“I think of nothing buT reaching my goals"
7. APRIL - Chokurdakh, Russia
OVERCOMING THE LIMITS
The icy blasts are sometimes so violent that Mike has to draw on his deepest resources in order to keep going.
Overcoming his own limits, summoning ever more strength to continue his route, there's no question of giving up, no question of abandoning his vision. Mike proves that he has the stuff of his own amazing dreams.
He must assemble his tent up in less than twenty seconds to avoid freezing. The only clear, legible indication of time comes from the antimagnetic watch that Panerai designed and made for the Arktos Expedition.
21. OCTOBER - ARRIVAL: North Cape, Norway
Mike completes his odyssey at noon. He has circled the globe at the Arctic circle, a unique, amazing exploit and a reflection of Mike's own courage and tenacity.
Family and friends await him, along with a houndred journalists who have arrived from all over the world to greet the Hero.
It has been two years and three months since he set out.
How can you recount such an extraordinary adventure? Only Mike knows what it really took - what determination, what self sacrifice.
Panerai has sponsored Mike Horn’s expedition, providing him with a specially prepared watch named Panerai Luminor Arktos. Mike declared: “At extremely low temperatures everything on me was frozen and did not work anymore; the only thing which continued to work was my watch."
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