Merete and Lars skiing to the North Pole2008
This is Merete and Lars' North Pole Blog.
The goal is to reach the North Pole by skis.
Both of us wanted an adventure outside the ordinary. Also pushing yourself in doing something different and challenging. It's just a walk in the park compared to the trips of Nansen & Amundsen, but luckely we can be just as excited by our little trip! =)
We will be travelling together with 5 other people. The group is headed by polar explorer Børge Ousland. The last norwegian in the group is Reidun. Also going is a Dane, a Russian and a French woman.
Each year an air-strip is created at about 89 degrees north. We will be flown there from Svalbard. This air-strip is called Barneo. From there it is 111 kilometers to the North Pole, 90 degress north.
The schedule is:
12. apr, Fly from Oslo to Svalbard 14. apr, Fly from Svalbard to Barneo 14. apr, Start skiing towards the North Pole 22-23. apr, Reach the North Pole! 24 apr, Return to Barneo by helicopter 25 apr, Fly back to Svalbard 27 apr, Fly back to Oslo
Test-run17 Feb 2008
February 14th to 17th we (Merete and Lars) went on a tent-trip in the Norwegian mountains together with Børge and Reidun. It was a trip to test ourselves and some of the equipment. We were roaming the mountain-area between Hemsedal and Ål. During the trip the temperature varied between -5 and -15 degrees celcius. The wind was between nothing and 15 m/s and we had both clouds and sunshine. Alltogheter it was the perfect test-run.
Merete har begynt å pakke. Nå er det bare 3 dager til vi drar til Svalbard.
Merete has started to pack. Only 3 days untill we are leaving for Svalbard.
Da har turen endelig startet. Vi sitter på Gardermoen og venter på at vi straks skal gå ombord. Da var det boarding. Neste stopp Svalbard
Sledge-packing SvalbardApril 13th
Idag tilbrakte vi første del av dagen som turister og ruslet rundt i Longyearbyen. Museet er verdt et besøk.
Deretter begynte pulk pakking. Enda godt vi bare skal ha med mat for bare 10 dager. På bildet står Merete med halvparten av sjokoladen sin. På det andre bildet står hun med lunsjpakken vår. Det er en liten blokk med 1000 kalorier.
I 15 tiden i morgen flyr vi ut mot Barneo.
We spent the first half of the day as tourists walking around in Longyearbyen. The museum is worth the visit.
After that we started with the sledge packing. It's a good thing we are only bringing food for 10 days. On the picture you see Merete with half of her chocolate. On the second picture you see her with the lunch-package, that contains 1000 calories.
Tomorrow at 3 pm we are flying out to Barneo
First day on the iceApril 15th
Flew with helicopter from Barneo via the north pole. Landed at 88 degrees and 59 minutes north. The flight itself was an experience. We could have the window open and look out. Russian helicopters is just a bit different :) It was a calm first day, 5mps, with only -13 degrees. We landed at one o'clock and walked until about seven. Now the tent is heated and we're happy.We had a gourmet dinner and we're just looking forward to a new day on the ice.
Second day in wonderlandApril 16th
When we woke up we have had drifted five km from the northpole. We started walking houndred and eight km from the pole. Tonight we're only 91 km away. We saw screwice (skruis) in action. It was making funny noises. Very cool. We walked from iceflake to iceflake balancing across open water. This landscape does not stop to facinate us. A short funny comment regarding time. We are on the other side of the north pole for us europeeans. So at noon we walked towards the sun! Usually the sun is ofcourse in the south of the sky at noon. We're at GMT -11.
Reidun is not feeling well tonight. Hopefully it will be better tomorrow after alot of drinking water. :) Good night from camp 2.
Medvind fra sør :)April 17th
What a day!
Minus 18 degrees, sun, hardly any wind and a little that came from behind! It's just been a great day. Came to a "lake", so we had to go around it and it and it was quite big. Have been walking for 8,5 hours and listened to music... Bruce has kept Merete warm today :) Time flies when life is at it's best. So this day have just flown away. Last night we drifted alot east also one km closer to the north pole. Woho! Reidun drunk alot of water today and is in great condition again. Our current position is n89.22.846 w149.50.804.
After todays walk we only have 69 km left!
Entry by Stanislav, the russian.April 18th
We gave the name to the vast areas of crushed ice - Stallingrad. It's not just because you fight them as in Stallingrad, but because it's looks likes some bombed the icefield and now huge blocks of ice are thrown sticking out here and there. And we are "Stallingrading" through this ice jungle.
By the way, we are now at n89.36.
North Pole!April 20th/21th
Because of celebration we didn't have time to write yesterday, so here it comes!
Started with some side wind and a bit cloudy. We had 25km left when we started. With our Russian, Stas, in the lead he set the pace for the day, FAST! Then the sun came, minus 20 and everything was just wonderful. We knew there were a team with eleven Russians that were dropped one day before us on the ice. They were youths from all over Russia that won a skiing competition and as a reward was going to the north pole. They traveled with the famous Russian explorer called Matthew Shparo. When we were 4km away from the pole, we spotted the group of people a bit to our right side ahead of us. Of course in pure Amundsen style we speeded up... even though they were far ahead. Fortunately for us they met on a pressure ridge (skruis), and when there were only one km left we were a bit closer to the pole than them! Then the action begun!! Two Russians broke out from the group to make a final run to the pole, and of course we could not resist a battle! Lars, who had been in front the last km, took off with the speed of light with Merete and the rest of the group behind. We had to plant the Norwegian flag before the Russian flag! Suddenly minus 20 was extremely hot dragging sledges over ice and snow dunes. At April 20th 2008 18:20 Norwegian time we reached the north pole, just 20 seconds before the Russians. We reached 90 degrees north. On the top of this wonderful world of ours.
(the Norwegian flag was blowing beautifully in the wind, see picture)
The entry point was 140 degrees west. There were MUCH rejoice as Børge Ousland team entered the pole. Later in the evening we celebrated with the Russians in their huge tent (for nine persons). The same evening the wind kicked up and clouds filled the sky.
Today, Monday, we're relaxing in the tent waiting. The helicopter will pick us up on Wednesday? The reason for the uncertainty is because there is no fuel left for the helicopters at Barneo. Because of bad weather at Frans Josef's land the plane with the fuel cannot get there at the moment.
Special thanks to; ... Mamma Nøring for amazing "nøttekake". ... Mamma Merete for wonderful cake AND homemade raspberry jam (Tusen takk for brevet. Det ble mye gode tårer. Jeg er så glad i deg!). ... The God of nature giving us the best of the best weather :)
Todays riddle: q: do you know why there are no polar bears near to the pole? a: because Børge Ousland is there all the time.
Back at SvalbardApril 24th, 3 am
All of a sudden we have solid ground under our feet again, and we are back at Svalbard. We will write and upload pictures of our time at the pole and the journey back. But first we need some sleep...
A day at the North PoleApril 22nd (April 25th)
(now with pictures)
After a day of resting and photographing, we began with some activities on tuesday. We found ourselves an open lead (råk) and got introduced to Captain Nemo, Børge's special made arctic dry suit. We all got the chance to walk on thin ice. A sudden "crack" later, we only had 4000 meters of water below us. In the picture you can see Merete getting back up on the ice again.
Afterwards most of us took a swim without the dry suit. There is nothing like a refreshing bath after beeing in the same clothes for more than one week. Sadly Lars' inflateable globe ball was caught by the wind and lost...
We burned a lot of primus fuel to get our bodies warm again. Then we went outside for a shooting contest with the polar bear protection guns. Peter won (picture), with Børge and then Lars just a few points behind.
Then it was time for The North Pole Beach Volley Ball cup. As far as we know; the first ever. but that is what happens when you got global warming and have a lot of extra time when finishing the trip several days ahead of schedule. Børge won and is currently the Beach Volley Ball Champion of the North Pole. Stanislav got second and Lars got third place. In the picture you see Merete (left) and Reidun holding the net and Børge (left) and Stanislav playing.
In the evening we got a call from Barneo, the Russian base, that they were flying some russian VIPs to the North Pole and that we could hitchhike a ride back.
Back homeApril 23d to April 27th
(See the menu on the right side for more dispatches/blog-entries)
We got picked up by the russian helicopter a little after midnight on wednesday. Reidun took a picture of Børge, looking out the window of the helicopter as we left the North Pole. After a night at Barneo, we flew back to Svalbard.
Since we hadn't seen polar bear on the North Pole, we took a snowmobile safari (snøscootertur) at Spitsbergen. We saw som fresh footprints, but not an actual bear.
Merete, Lars, Catherine and Peter also tok a ski-trip on a glacier and to a 1050 meter high mountain top. Catherine is carefully skiing down a steep hillside at the picture.
Merete and Lars went back to Oslo this morning (sunday). On the last picture we see a "welcome home dinner" at Lars' parents house at Malmøya. Lars' nephew is in the front. Then from the left we got: Lars' mum, Merete's sister, Merete, Lars, Lars's brother Fredrik, Lars' sister and Lars' father.
Fredrik is the one that has written most of theese entries. And that was not an easy task, as we phoned them in over a (at times poor) sattelite-link. A million thanks to Fredrik! :)
Tomorrow it is back to work again. We will most likely post some more pictures later, after we have had time to go trough them and sort out the best ones. Between all of us, we have more than 2000 pictues and film-clips.
If you have a life long dream of skiing to the North Pole, feel free to email us at lars (at) noring.no .