Pole to Pole Run with Icetrek Expeditions

Apr 02

Dispatch #3

Published at 19:37
Dispatch created from email
It's April 2 and yes, we should have been on the ice by now, skiing
southward. But, as is the nature of polar logistics, all good plans
come unstuck if you glue them too hard. There has been a delay in
establishing Barneo, the Russian drifting ice station and runway that
are so instrumental in getting us to the North Pole. Barneo is one of
the most astonishing logistical exercises on Earth and only the
Russians have the experience to do it. In short, two helicopters fly
from Siberia towards the North Pole. They don't have the range to make
it the entire distance so an Ilyushin-76 flies from Murmansk and
airdrops fuel to them. They refuel and continue to a suitably flat
location close to the Pole where another IL-76 from Moscow parachutes
two tractors, a basic camp and skydivers. All crew work hard to make
camp and grade a runway on the ice. Once done the first of three
Antonov-74 technical flights leaves from Longyearbyen and lands on the
ice, delivering Barneo camp and staff. This year poor weather, strong
winds and a lack of flat ice pans near the pole contributed to the
delay. We are on the first passenger flight scheduled for April 5.
Needless to say we've been keeping busy, packing food and sleds,
training and testing some of the new equipment, including our polar
drysuit. Jose has been keeping Pat on his toes, training every day
including repetitions of dragging 100kg sleds up and down a hill.
Crazy guys, who would do such a thing? Clark has really nailed a great
system for protecting and warming his communications suite with which
we send one minute of video footage every day. All the test clips have
uploaded swimmingly, all from the depths of Clark's cold sled which
sits outside in the weather. I've been tweaking gear, practising my
Russian, singing with my Czech pal and guide Miroslav and even hitting
the dance floor last night. It's all hip here in the buzzing town of
Longyearbyen but I hope to send the next despatch and start the map
and tracking features on April 5 from the North Pole. Be sure to
select the Earth option on the map as it will give you an indication
of where the North Pole is. Until then be sure to visit
www.poletopolerun.com and make a contribution to Pat and Red Cross'
efforts to improve water sanitation in developing countries. Eric
  • Accumulated distance: 0 m
  • Distance to go: 792 km


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