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Author Topic: Arctic expedition! Mike Horn, Borge Ousland to ski through the North Pole  (Read 5631 times)

DungeonMaster

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Wow, it's been a looong time without an arctic expedition - and this one will be nice to watch!


Mike and Borge are not exactly beginners in this area...


As there's no more ice on the fringes, they'll sail North from Alaska to the 85th, then ski, go to the Pole, then jump back on the boat around Spitzbergen... that's quite a plan!!


https://www.mikehorn.com/northpolecrossing/ has it all, and a map!


(and it's nice to post again!)
« Last Edit: September 17, 2019, 08:22:23 PM by Neven »
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Jim Hunt

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Thanks for the heads up DM!

Mike and Borge are not exactly beginners in this area...

Quite so, but this strikes me as a much more hazardous exercise than circumnavigating the North Pole or skiing to the South Pole?

How many of those ~1650 km do you suppose they'll spend swimming?

Quote
and a map!

It seems Mike and Børge have currently reached as far north as Nome:
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Niall Dollard

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Mike has put up his first blog page - basically assemblying in Nome. Here's a pic of the boat they hope will take them to the edge of the ice.

In the intro they say they hope to get dropped off at near to 85N, north of Alaska. At the moment that looks next to impossible.

The ice edge starts at circa 77N. They might be able to pick their way further north through the ice depending on how broken up it is and of course how good the boat is at ice breaking. But I'm reminded of other recent trips north of Alaska which didnt make much progress north.

Unless they decide to move over to the Russian side. At about 135 E there is open water up to about 82 N and from there head across to the top of Greenland. That'd be a shorter trip !

It's going to be very tricky though with ice so broken up.
« Last Edit: August 26, 2019, 09:01:14 PM by Niall Dollard »

Niall Dollard

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Re: Artic expedition! Mike Horn, Borge Ousland to ski through the North Pole
« Reply #3 on: September 02, 2019, 06:32:50 PM »
Screen shot of current tracking map and the boat is north of Wrangel Island.

It looks like they may be headed more to Russian side where there is less ice and they would get further north.

Sebastian Jones

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Re: Artic expedition! Mike Horn, Borge Ousland to ski through the North Pole
« Reply #4 on: September 02, 2019, 08:16:13 PM »
If they try to pick their way into the Laptev Bite, they may have a fairly short ski!

Niall Dollard

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Re: Arctic expedition! Mike Horn, Borge Ousland to ski through the North Pole
« Reply #5 on: September 03, 2019, 09:26:48 PM »
Heading to Laptev Bite.
« Last Edit: September 03, 2019, 10:42:01 PM by Niall Dollard »

Niall Dollard

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Re: Artic expedition! Mike Horn, Borge Ousland to ski through the North Pole
« Reply #6 on: September 04, 2019, 07:49:34 PM »
Two images based on their current position (circa 79N 157E)

Worldview showing SW winds and slightly positive air temps.

ESRL current ice thicknesses. They are at the black dot and slowly moving west parallel to the first rubbley bits.

They would still have to travel a good bit north to find any ice suitable for skiing ! Maybe they might get out at the pole  :o

philopek

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Re: Artic expedition! Mike Horn, Borge Ousland to ski through the North Pole
« Reply #7 on: September 04, 2019, 08:06:37 PM »
Not a good place to be right now considering current and developing weather and the state of the ice in that region

https://www.windy.com/-Wind-gusts-gust?gust,81.988,94.754,5,i:pressure,m:fWGaiXf

DungeonMaster

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Re: Artic expedition! Mike Horn, Borge Ousland to ski through the North Pole
« Reply #8 on: September 05, 2019, 10:25:22 AM »
Another place to track their progress: https://www.speedcast.com/mike-horn/

They've reached 80°N.

Let's hope they can't find one can navigate all the way through! Sat images can be misleading...
This forum helps me to feel less uncomfortable about "doing something" about the melting Arctic and the warming world.
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Re: Artic expedition! Mike Horn, Borge Ousland to ski through the North Pole
« Reply #9 on: September 07, 2019, 08:55:06 PM »
Mike's at 83 N now and it's getting a bit nippy -6 C.

I imagine the ice is still broken there. Not sure how they are going to ski/pick their way between floes.

Jim Hunt

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Re: Artic expedition! Mike Horn, Borge Ousland to ski through the North Pole
« Reply #10 on: September 08, 2019, 02:41:40 PM »
Not sure how they are going to ski/pick their way between floes.

Neither am I!

Mike's current location:
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Jim Hunt

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Re: Artic expedition! Mike Horn, Borge Ousland to ski through the North Pole
« Reply #11 on: September 14, 2019, 08:59:50 AM »
It appears that anywhere > 85N is Terra Incognita to Speedcast's technology!
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Re: Artic expedition! Mike Horn, Borge Ousland to ski through the North Pole
« Reply #12 on: September 14, 2019, 09:03:13 AM »
'Status OK' while three meters below the sea surface.  ???
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Re: Artic expedition! Mike Horn, Borge Ousland to ski through the North Pole
« Reply #13 on: September 16, 2019, 12:51:18 PM »
'Status OK' while three meters below the sea surface.  ???
[/quote



 lol .. was just about to comment on this interesting anomaly . :). I heard no mention of a submarine , but it would be his greatest asset atm .. b.c.
2007 + 5 = 2012 + 4 = 2016 + 3 = 2019 ...

Jim Hunt

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Re: Artic expedition! Mike Horn, Borge Ousland to ski through the North Pole
« Reply #14 on: September 16, 2019, 02:12:11 PM »
'Status OK' while three meters below the sea surface.  ???

Speedcast have assured my Arctic alter ego that they will fix the map "issue":

https://twitter.com/Speedcast_Intl/status/1173473319754117120

They made no mention of the elevation error!
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Niall Dollard

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Re: Arctic expedition! Mike Horn, Borge Ousland to ski through the North Pole
« Reply #15 on: September 17, 2019, 05:39:59 PM »
Their last blog outlines the difficulty with this expedition:

We need to sail as far north as possible without risking to get the boat stuck in the ice, but we also have to sail far enough north to find thick enough ice for Borge and myself to safely start our expedition on. Which is why every degree counts in these conditions. If we do not manage to make it to (or close enough to) 85 degrees North, Borge and I have will have no choice but to give up on our expedition

Lots of images too showing the quality of the ice. Here's one showing the Pangaea plowing through grey ice (10-15cm thick).


Niall Dollard

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Re: Arctic expedition! Mike Horn, Borge Ousland to ski through the North Pole
« Reply #16 on: September 20, 2019, 08:16:22 AM »
Not much update on this expedition of late.

However I did come across this website which has better detail on their plan (and better map of their route).

https://explorersweb.com/2019/08/26/ousland-and-horn-ready-for-arctic-ocean-crossing/

"Despite walking through the colder temperatures of the Polar Night, Ousland anticipates a lot of open water. He expects to take a dip at some point, so with his usual equipment ingenuity, the Norwegian has designed a harness combining buoyancy and an easy-to-reach holster for his revolver against polar bears"

Niall Dollard

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Re: Arctic expedition! Mike Horn, Borge Ousland to ski through the North Pole
« Reply #17 on: September 24, 2019, 01:27:09 AM »
They are finally out testing the ice.

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Re: Arctic expedition! Mike Horn, Borge Ousland to ski through the North Pole
« Reply #18 on: September 25, 2019, 12:30:09 AM »
Mike has commented on Instagram :

"Although we are very excited to be starting our expedition, the fact that Pangaea is now the sailboat that has ventured the closest to the North Pole, without the support of an ice breaker, should serve as a reminder of how our world is changing ever so rapidly, especially in the north" 

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Re: Arctic expedition! Mike Horn, Borge Ousland to ski through the North Pole
« Reply #19 on: September 25, 2019, 03:12:37 AM »
Together with:
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Re: Arctic expedition! Mike Horn, Borge Ousland to ski through the North Pole
« Reply #20 on: September 25, 2019, 07:55:44 PM »
They have left the boat and are on their way across the ice.

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Re: Arctic expedition! Mike Horn, Borge Ousland to ski through the North Pole
« Reply #21 on: October 14, 2019, 10:37:05 AM »
Via Mike Horn's Instagram account:

http://GreatWhiteCon.info/2019/10/facts-about-the-arctic-in-october-2019/#Oct-14

Quote
Today is the last day of sunlight before it sets at the North Pole tomorrow for about 6 months. It was a cold and windy day with a lot of big leads which we had to walk around or cross over.

In [this] photo we can see Borge Ousland getting ready to cross a lead with the setting sun behind him. A beautiful scene but also extremely risky.
« Last Edit: October 14, 2019, 11:36:50 AM by Jim Hunt »
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Niall Dollard

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Re: Arctic expedition! Mike Horn, Borge Ousland to ski through the North Pole
« Reply #22 on: October 14, 2019, 11:48:35 PM »
Thanks Jim

I was just about to put up the same image !

But here is a question. Mike mentions he was about 87 N. Should the sun be below the horizon by this date ? I plugged this lattitude into a couple of online solar angle calculators and they are saying max angle is circa -4 degrees ie below the horizon.

To still see the sun you would need to be near 82 N (according to the online calculations).

Or maybe the calculations are not taking into account the flattening at the poles ? 

Edit: Think I will cross post this in the "Stupid Question" Thread

Jim Hunt

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Re: Arctic expedition! Mike Horn, Borge Ousland to ski through the North Pole
« Reply #23 on: October 18, 2019, 12:39:50 AM »
Mike and Borge appear to have reached the North Pole today:
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Re: Arctic expedition! Mike Horn, Borge Ousland to ski through the North Pole
« Reply #24 on: October 20, 2019, 09:45:24 AM »
In their latest expedition update #14, Mike says they have reached 88N. So not quite there yet.

The last few degrees are proving very difficult with mild temperatures turning the snow to slush and ice drifting away from the pole.

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Re: Arctic expedition! Mike Horn, Borge Ousland to ski through the North Pole
« Reply #25 on: October 21, 2019, 09:37:38 AM »
So not quite there yet.

I cannot help but wonder if the words and images are appearing in public after a few days delay?

Surely the expedition tracking map cannot lie?
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Niall Dollard

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Re: Arctic expedition! Mike Horn, Borge Ousland to ski through the North Pole
« Reply #26 on: October 21, 2019, 08:52:07 PM »

I cannot help but wonder if the words and images are appearing in public after a few days delay?

Surely the expedition tracking map cannot lie?

You maybe right Jim

Unfortunately on the instagram feed he does not give us the date of each update.

In the most recent update #16, he mentions that they were now 20 days on the ice.

I'm pretty sure that they left the Pangaea on Sept 25 which would make the date of that update only Oct 15th (6 days ago ! ).

So communications are a bit slow at the Pole. This must be why they say you must always post your letter early for Santa  ;D

gerontocrat

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Re: Arctic expedition! Mike Horn, Borge Ousland to ski through the North Pole
« Reply #27 on: November 24, 2019, 05:40:56 PM »
Looking a bit dodgy........

Barneo 2019 sort of collapsed,
MOSAIC with big problems with the floe, surrounding ice and contrary drift.

Anyone think the nature of the polar ice cap has changed ?

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/nov/23/north-pole-explorers-on-thin-ice-as-climate-change-hits-expedition
North Pole explorers on thin ice as climate change hits expedition
Mike Horn and Borge Ousland are crossing the Arctic on skis but ice drift has set them back
Quote
It was supposed to be an epic 1,000-mile journey as two adventurers embarked on a brave bid to cross the frozen Arctic Ocean on skis.

But the experienced explorers’ attempt has, quite literally, been left on thin ice as the pair struggle to navigate the harsh terrain in time – leaving them in a “touch and go” position to finish before food runs out in 12 days.

Mike Horn, 53, from South Africa, and Norwegian Borge Ousland, 57, set off from Alaska on their three-month journey at the end of August by boat, reaching sea ice on 12 September. Since then they have been travelling on skis pulling sleds with supplies.

They planned to complete their journey by mid-November, by which time they hoped to have hit the edge of the sea ice where it meets the water so they could be picked up by their vessel, Pangaea.

However, they have been slowed by the thinning ice, which has been credited to climate change. “Because of climate change the ice is thinner than usual, which is more prone to drift,” Lars Ebbesen, the expedition spokesman, told Agence-France Presse.

Normally there would be a positive drift of a few extra kilometres a day, “but the winds are pushing the ice toward Greenland and they have gone backwards three to five kilometres per day”, he said.

The duo, who have not asked to be rescued, hope to finish within 10 to 12 days, which is how long their rations will last. Ebbesen explained: “There is no danger, no huge drama. But it is touch and go – a mad dash to reach the goal. We are considering how to get more food to them in case it takes longer.” The weather forecast is looking better, he added.

Despite their situation, he said Horn and Ousland were in “surprisingly good condition,” adding: “They have a little frostbite but that’s quite normal.”

Quote
But Horn’s daughter, Annika, 26, told the French newspaper Le Parisien that her father was not in good shape. “His morale is very low. I’ve never seen him like that, in such an extreme state of fatigue … My sister Jessica and I just want him to come home soon,” she said.
Mike Horn allowed himself three months for the journey, which he should have completed by mid-November.

Bard Mortensen, a spokesman for the Joint Rescue Coordination Centre in Northern Norway, said rescuers were “considering precautionary plans at this point” in case an evacuation was required. “There is no evacuation under way … they are determined at this point to make it on their own,” Mortensen said. A helicopter or ship from Norway’s nearby Svalbard archipelago would be able to rescue the pair, he added.

Horn’s website – which allows browsers to track the adventurers’ progress in realtime – paints a daunting picture of their journey, explaining time will be of the essence.
Quote
"They will have to cover 900 nautical miles on foot and skis (approx. 1666km) [1035 miles], across the frozen ocean passing via the North Pole. This distance is calculated without taking into account the unavoidable ice drift, which could double or even triple the overall distance the duo will have to cover to reach the other side.”

The pair’s trip is the second part of Horn’s “Pole2Pole expedition”, after he traversed Antarctica via the South Pole in early 2017.
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philopek

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Re: Arctic expedition! Mike Horn, Borge Ousland to ski through the North Pole
« Reply #28 on: November 24, 2019, 07:14:32 PM »
Looking a bit dodgy........

Anyone think the nature of the polar ice cap has changed ?


I think since we are, for the last few years, discussing more or less throughout the entire melting seasons, including late winter, about what we call; the "poor state of the ice" and/or "poor ice-quality", fragmentation and the likes, is exactly that what you mean and therefore I'm sure that most of us agree that the nature of the ice has changed significantly/dramatically and not too far in the future we shall probably witness an event/events that look like very sudden and shocking, while in fact this is the transition towards them events that we can see/feel coming.

gerontocrat

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Re: Arctic expedition! Mike Horn, Borge Ousland to ski through the North Pole
« Reply #29 on: December 02, 2019, 06:06:27 PM »
https://adventureblog.net/2019/12/horn-and-ousland-suffer-another-setback-on-polar-traverse.html
Quote
The duo have now spent more than 80 days out on the ice and are on rations as they near the end of their grueling expedition, but over the weekend they announced that even as they near the finish line at long last, they are still facing unexpected challenges. In addition to dealing with extreme cold, high winds, total darkness, and dangerously thin ice, they now have a broken sled that will likely slow them down too.
____________________________

Looking a bit dodgy........
Looking VERY dodgy........
[/quote]
On 26 Nov they had an estimated 10 days food left.
That means today they have an estimated 5 days food left unless they have started rationing - dodgy with temps hitting 40 below.

If they get out there will be real damage to their bodies.

26 Nov
Lars Ebbesen, a member of Ousland’s support team insists that, “Things are under control, but this is an expedition balancing on the edge of what is at all possible…It is touch and go –- a mad dash to reach the goal.”

29 Nov
“Borge and Mike have done extremely well in the last days, exceeding our wildest hopes,” said Lars Ebbesen. “They have increased their ski hours a few days early, to use the [improved] conditions.”

Lars Ebbesen is a fool. When it is obvious the guys doing it  (Horn & Ousland) are in real trouble, the most important job of a support team is to
- tell them to stop, hunker down & keep safe,
- to get them out PDQ.

The rescuers are still in Longyearbyen. It all seems too much "just-in-time" management to me.

https://explorersweb.com/2019/11/26/ousland-and-horn-to-be-evacuated/
Ousland and Horn Struggle with Fatigue, Thin Ice

https://explorersweb.com/2019/11/29/ousland-and-horn-dig-deep-150km-to-finish/
Ousland and Horn Dig Deep, 150Km to Finish

The photo attached  from the 1st link is, I believe, recent. The photo in the 2nd link, is, I believe not recent.
« Last Edit: December 02, 2019, 07:09:14 PM by gerontocrat »
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gerontocrat

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Re: Arctic expedition! Mike Horn, Borge Ousland to ski through the North Pole
« Reply #30 on: December 03, 2019, 01:06:40 PM »
Better news. They say they have 11 days food left. Sounds like they must have put themselves on half-rations. Hint to people eating in very cold climates- suck, don't chew.

The Gods look after drunks & lunatic Arctic Explorers ?

https://explorersweb.com/2019/12/03/ousland-and-horn-approach-ice-edge/

Borge Ousland and Mike Horn notched 29km yesterdayday — impressive even during long spring days, let alone during the Dark Season.

Meanwhile, the former research ship Lance battles to find a route through the frozen Arctic Ocean to them. It entered the pack ice north of Svalbard on Sunday and steamed north until the lead they were following veered west. “They turned around and got stuck on the way out” says Lars Ebbesen. “It took two and a half hours to get loose. They will enter a new lead as soon as they are in open water.”

According to Ousland, it was a good day, although they came across fresh polar bear tracks, the first since hitting the North Pole last month.

“At the moment it looks like there are leads going from the ice edge and well inside the 82nd degree,” the Norwegian said. “We are pushing hard to get south, and at the moment, everything is according to plan.”

Ousland’s previous post showed again the taxing conditions both men are under:

“It is -30°C and our fingers are so sore and [Mike] has to go on his second antibiotic treatment due to frostbite on his thumb, which got infected and never really heals. He also broke two teeth chewing on those chocolate bits that tastes so good but become hard as small stones in the cold. We repaired [the tooth] with temporary filling material. We are a determined team and work well together.

“It was a windy day but good drift south. Our goal is to reach around 82°30′, which is close to where the ice starts to break off and…becomes too unstable for skiing. Hopefully, Pangaea [Horn’s ship] will be able to reach us there. Still 11 days of food left.”
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Re: Arctic expedition! Mike Horn, Borge Ousland to ski through the North Pole
« Reply #31 on: December 04, 2019, 12:11:55 AM »
From Mike's instagram page, a map showing former research ship Lance's first attempt and second route and Mike and Borge's location.

oren

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Re: Arctic expedition! Mike Horn, Borge Ousland to ski through the North Pole
« Reply #32 on: December 04, 2019, 08:54:56 AM »
Crazy and senseless mission.

gerontocrat

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Re: Arctic expedition! Mike Horn, Borge Ousland to ski through the North Pole
« Reply #33 on: December 04, 2019, 05:17:43 PM »
All still a bit too close for comfort.

Strong winds,
only 2 days food left and only because Ousland packed an extra 10 days rations at the last moment before starting.

Lots of big leads in the ice between them & safety.

Translated by Google....

https://www.outside.fr/mike-horn-aide-et-ravitaille-ce-soir-pour-terminer-son-expedition/
It is today, Wednesday, December 4, that the explorer Mike Horn and his partner Borge Ousland, both exhausted and thin, will be joined and helped by a team of two polar guides and adventurers. Enough to allow them to join the icebreaker "Lance", and put an end to their expedition.   

Polar cold, galleys, storm and chocolate punctuate the last days of the South African explorer on the pack ice. Mike Horn and his Norwegian friend Borge Ousland spend their 86th day trudging through the unstable ice on the North Pole. But as the arrival looms on the horizon, the galleys are piling up ...

"The more we see the end and the harder it is," admits Mike Horn on social networks. With only three days of food, the two adventurers play on the razor's edge. A handful of chocolate temporarily softens their morale but they still have to travel 90 kilometers with a broken sled (Borge's) to the icebreaker "Lance" as a storm looms on Wednesday night. Nothing good…

Two polar adventurers to the rescue

According to our source, Lars Ebbesen, member of the team of Borge Ousland, two Norwegian adventurous guides started skiing on their meeting this Tuesday at 17:53. This decision was bolstered by the storm on the pack ice on Tuesday, which is set to go on Wednesday. Bengt Rotmo and Aleksander Range have therefore descended from the icebreaker "Lance", caught in the ice of the pack ice where the thickness reaches 1.20 meters in some places. Knut Espen Solberg - explorer and polar guide - and Dr. Martin Skrove, members of Borge's team, are on board and overseeing the support expedition.

The two rescuers must travel 40 kilometers to join Mike and Borge party to meet them. The two adventurers also tackle 40 kilometers of skiing to make the junction. Not insignificant when you know that their daily average is only 15 kilometers. This Tuesday evening, at 22:55, Bengt and Aleksander had traveled 11 kilometers and this morning at 11:00, they had reached the geographical position 82'20 degrees North and 20'20 degrees East.

Borge's team, present on the icebreaker "Lance", provides a return of explorers Thursday evening or Friday, according to the evolution of the last storm that must touch them on Wednesday night. The call to a helicopter in case of force majeure is not excluded, even if the respective teams of Mike and Borge would prefer to respect the desire of the adventurers to complete their expedition as they had initially envisaged.
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Re: Arctic expedition! Mike Horn, Borge Ousland to ski through the North Pole
« Reply #34 on: December 04, 2019, 06:59:09 PM »
Are the really dark lines open water? The ones above the rescue parties starting point don´t look good.
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grixm

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Re: Arctic expedition! Mike Horn, Borge Ousland to ski through the North Pole
« Reply #35 on: December 06, 2019, 06:42:04 PM »
The rescue team is 150 meters away from the expeditioners. But they are separated by a gap of open water which will take a few hours to walk around if they choose to do so.

EDIT: They have now met each other on the ice, and need to make their way back to the ship.
« Last Edit: December 07, 2019, 09:22:57 AM by grixm »

gerontocrat

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Re: Arctic expedition! Mike Horn, Borge Ousland to ski through the North Pole
« Reply #36 on: December 07, 2019, 11:24:42 AM »
The rescue team is 150 meters away from the expeditioners. But they are separated by a gap of open water which will take a few hours to walk around if they choose to do so.

EDIT: They have now met each other on the ice, and need to make their way back to the ship.
..which seems to be not that easy, more pesky leads?

.. and the ship ("Lance") sees to be a bit stuck in the ice.

But it seems the spin is in - there was no emergency, this was not a rescue, blah blah blah.
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grixm

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They have reached the ship.

But it seems the spin is in - there was no emergency, this was not a rescue, blah blah blah.

Yeah the coverage was pretty misleading it seems. At any time they could have called the Svalbard emergency services and be taken to land within hours by helicopter.