NORTH POLE BY NIGHT
This expedition can be remembered and compared to as one of the greatest moments in Arctic history. Mike Horn and Borge Ousland have created new history in polar exploring. On the 23rd of March ‘06, they successfully completed an expedition traveling 60days and 5 hours on skis in the dark Arctic winter from Russia to the North Pole.
A cold dark trek to the North Pole.
Mission: to walk, unassisted by machines or dogs, 1,000 kilometers to 90°N, The North Pole, in complete darkness of Arctic Winter. Average daily temperature: -25°C. Estimated date of arrival: As the sun rises for the first time of the year, March 23, 2006
22.01.06 CAPE ARTICHEVSKY
The long walk begins.
We woke up early in the morning to find that northwesterly winds had blown overnight, blowing the ice to the land on the western side of the Cape. We quickly went out to determine whether or not we could set off and saw that the ice was solid – a big thick stable plate of ice – giving us the perfect opportunity to head off, say goodbye to the land and at long last start our expedition.
06.02.06 896 KMS FROM NORTH POLE
One important decision.
We started this morning with a distance of 897 kms to go to the Pole. When we got into the tent 5 hours later we looked at the GPS and saw that we were 896 km away from the Pole. It was a bit of a shock to see that after all that effort we had only advanced north 1 km, because we were drifting south at 1.5kms a hour. We’ve decided to change our strategy. It is obvious that if we carry on at this rate we’ll run out of food before arriving at the Pole.
Three steps forward. Two steps back.
Surviving elements no one could ever imagine.
With temperatures this cold, we had to set up camp and retreat into the warmth of our tent. I have frozen my thumbs once before and it’s a struggle for me to keep my fingers and hands warm enough when it’s this cold. Temperatures reaching as low as -37°C are the kind of temperatures where hands without gloves would freeze within minutes. Surrounded by complete darkness, it is difficult to convey the extreme conditions we are experiencing.
23.02.06 DAY 33
A fall through ice. A simple choice. React or die.
Børge had found a nice passage to cross, or at least this is what we thought! He walked first with no problem, then it was my turn. As I took my second step the ice started cracking underneath me. I fell in the water up to my waist and managed to pull myself out by grabbing the ice edge. I immediately rolled myself in the snow, which absorbs the water and freezes it. Quick, calculated reaction such as this can be the difference between cold fingers and frozen limbs. Between life and death.
Bears in the darkness. Curious, hidden, hungry.
We were woken this morning with the noise of a bear trying to get into my sledge. Later, we realized that the bear was following us. In the darkness, we fired two flares into the air to scare him. He didn’t budge. We shot a third flare, which he found and ate. It wasn’t until we pitched our tent that the bear decided to leave us. We are hoping that he has decided to head south, back to the seal holes, and that he’ll let us sleep in peace this evening.
23.03.06 The North Pole
A destination not measured by distance but by determination.
After 60 days and 5 hours, Mike and Børge became the first men ever to walk to the North Pole completely unassisted in the Arctic Winter.
It’s great to finally be standing on the North Pole. This mystical place is all that it is made out to be. It’s incredible out here. Borge and I have walked far, and the conditions have been extremely tough, but we’ve made it! I can’t tell you how happy we are feeling! We are alone out here, standing on the very top of the world.
A journey out that became a journey within.
PANERAI NORTH POLE
Officine Panerai designed a watch for Mike and Borge that resists the extreme conditions of the North. Fully protected by a special alloy jacket, its automatic wound movement is totally insensitive to the influence of magnetic fields. The watch is equipped with a rotating bezel that indicates the 4 cardinal points, enabling Mike to calculate his position according to the position of the stars.
POLE 2 POLE