Miscellaneous Category Archive

North Pole

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April 7th, 2008

Category: Expeditions, Miscellaneous

north pole At 12:05am AEST on monday 7th April 2008 the PricewaterhouseCoopers North Pole expedition reached the geographical North Pole.

We were meet by the helicopter after almost 24 hours in the tent and transported the remaining 35km, then briskly flown back to base camp and then out to Longyearbyn. Due to many circumstances I was unable to complete my return trip. I will post a more detailed update in the next few days. In the mean time we are all safe and happy, I am suffering a small bit of frost damage to my left cheek and nose but all will heal in time.


Walking on water

Comments (3)

April 6th, 2008

Category: Expeditions, Miscellaneous

campI sit here tonight at our final camp site for this expedition slightly disappointed but extremely proud of our efforts throughout the trip. Our scheduled pick up is tomorrow and due to the negative drift we have experienced over the last week we won’t make the pole with out a little help from a helicopter.

We have all pushed extremly hard throughougt the expedition and have had some of the hardest conditions I have ever experienced up here. We have skied an average of 7 hours a day and we are still 8km behind where we started 6 days ago, quite hard to believe really.

Today again was an interesting day we had some newly frozen leads to cross and again interesting rubble to negotiate temps again hovered at -25, we called it a day early today due to a huge expance of open water that stopped us in our tracks. At 6am tomorrow we hitch a chopper ride which will drop us just south of the pole for a final ski into the top of the world.

Although we haven’t completed our planned trip this has been without a doubt one of the most challenging and rewarding expeditions I have ever been a part of and I think its a real testament to the saying ‘It’s the journey not just the destination that matters’.

frozen lead onthetrail.jpg


A small reward

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April 5th, 2008

Category: Expeditions, Miscellaneous

rubble I wrote yesterday how mother earth can often make you feel like you’re being punished for some unknown reason but then she turns on the weather like today and you feel that some of our hard work has finally been rewarded even if just a little.

The southerly drift increased again over night and we drifted backwards a whopping 10km taking us 10km further back from where we started 4 days ago.

I awoke this morning to a bit of a shock, our tent was completly caving in on one side due to the build up of drift snow from the strong winds which had blown all night and are still blowing now though it does seem to be easing. I had to call Eric to come and dig us out.

pushing into the windWe hit the trail for another day and although the wind was blowing there wasnt a cloud in the sky and the light all day was unbeleveable. It’s amazing how the sunshine has an effect on your moods and were all in great spirits laughing and joking at every break. It was around -27 all day but bearable and we pushed further north. We crossed our first open stretch of water today, a small expanse and we used one of our sleds as a raft and crossed it fast and above all safely. After lunch we came to a big stretch of ice rubble which we had to scramble over some of which was up to 12 feet high. At one stage after crossing a section we stood in amazment as these huge pieces of ice started to groan and crumble around us. It really feels like this whloe place is alive and breathing and it continues to remind us that we are only visitors in this harsh and hostile environment.

We worked hard again all day and were unfortunately only rewarded with a 3.4km gain north one which we will lose plus some by the time we wake up, but today has to go down as one of the most beautiful I have experienced out here and a I sit here in my little warm tent 32km from the north pole after a great dinner of cajan chicken curry, a small glass of scotch and light my fire by the doors plying in the background I reckon I’m one of the luckiest people on earth.

windswept


Amazing Place

Comments (4)

April 4th, 2008

Category: Expeditions, Miscellaneous

Me all rugged up This amazing place really makes you work for every inch and today has been a real battle. We awoke again at 6 after an extremely cold night, I in particular had a rough night, I just couldn’t get warm, and add to that, I dreamt about being at the beach. So you can imagine when I saw it was 25 below in the tent I wasn’t the happiest chap on the arctic. I then checked the GPS and we had drifted back 8km, taking us further from the pole then when we started.

I had woken at 3am and heard the wind had increased and by 6 it was howling and still its now 14 hours later. We hit the trail and into the head wind and again by mid morning it was bordering on -30 degrees. My moods vary so much while skiing. Yesterday afternoon I felt like I could take on the world but it almost took me half the day to really hit my stride.

The sky had turned overcast and with the drift snow blowing in our faces it was hard to distinguish between ski and ice. Its these days all tucked up in your hood and face mask you feel like your on another planet.

We pushed hard all day into the persistent head wind and at one stage crossed our first newly frozen lead which was over 100m wide. It was quite scary at times especially when you could hear the ice below you groaning and see it bouncing as you strode across it. After lunch we came to a large grouping of pack ice and we had to remove our skis and haul our sled up and over these huge ice blocks.

By 6pm when we finally found a camp site we were all exhausted and glad to get out of the wind and anxious to see how far we had traveled in our 8 hours of hard work.

At times mother earth can be your best friend and other times you wonder what you have done to deserve whats she is dishing out and tonight I sit here wondering. While we were skiing north today the southerly drift had increased to 1km per hour and over our 8 hard hours we had gone forward 1.1km

I do admit we all had a laugh when we found out because hey!, what else can you do, we are not going to give up and tomorrow we will be back out there battling again.

Wind


Tough Times

Comments (4)

April 3rd, 2008

Category: Expeditions, Miscellaneous

Well as I predicted last night we drifted back to almost our starting point. Add insult to injury mother nature thought she would also threw us one of the coldest days of my life.

Camp morning of day 2We rose at 6am to freezing conditions inside the tent and as I surfaced from thw sanctuary of my sleeping bag the stark reality of whereI was immediately hit home. We got set for the day and headed off on the trail in -30 degrees. By midday our thermometer which bottoms out at -35 was off the scale. We continued north as the wind increased slightly dropping the temps further. The only plus today was the relatively flat terrain we travelled over. We all suffered a little today, in these temps any exposed flesh will freeze and by the last break my nose had turned bright white, all is ok now though.

Although a tough day the team performed fantastically. We pitched camp at 5pm and are now sitting enjoying a hot meal. Unfortunately our hard work today wasn’t completely rewarded, we travelled only 6km as our drift has increased to 600m per hour. The arctic is throwing everything at us, but that’s expected. I’m warm in my sleeping bag and and exhausted so I’m off to bed.

Lunch at -35


Underway

Comments (1)

April 2nd, 2008

Category: Expeditions, Miscellaneous

Unloading plane at BorneoFinally after 5 days delay we are on the ice. We were awoken at 2am by our Russian friends to let us know we were leaving early so we quickly got our sleds and headed to the airport, then of course we were delayed again and we left an hour late.

2 hours later we touched down at Borneo and walked out onto the arctic ocean. It was great watching Ben and Sandrine’s expressions as they stepped out of the plane and looked around.

We quickly got our sleds and headed to the mess tent for a coffee and a meeting with the director of Borneo. He gave us the bad news that we are still due to fly out on the 6th from the pole thus leaving our 100km trip impossible in that time frame. Add to this that the ice is currently drifting south at 500 metres per hour thus putting us on a conveyor belt as such. The team had a discussion and we agreed to be airlifted to a start point closer to the pole that would give us a realistic chance of making our goal.

We flew via helicopter north and over some big leads, some over 40 metres wide. At 2pm we finally headed north over good terrain but cold at -30 degrees. We called a halt at 5.30pm and had covered a reasonable 4.5km.

Unfortunately, as I type I am looking at my GPS and we are still drifting backwards at 500 metres per hour so by the time we start skiing tomorrow we will be further back from where we started today.

No one said this was going to be easy.

Climbing Rubble