(By Correne Coetzer) Borge Ousland and fellow Norwegian and expedition mate, Thorleif Noekleby, are taking 5 adventurers across the Svalbard archipelago's most remote island, Nordaustlandet. Last year Borge also lead a team across this rarely visited island. Thorleif told ExplorersWeb this is the second ever crossing of Nordaustlandet.
The team met in Longyearbyen on the island Spitsbergen on July 22 from where they took a boat to Kap Laura, their start point. During the voyage Borge reported they sailed throughout the night, "the conditions were a bit rough at the start and a couple of us got a touch of seasickness. When we came in to Forlandsstredet the conditions got better." They saw seals sunbathing on the ice.
Borge, Thorleif, and Vibeke Dahlberg, Ragnar Lien, all Norway, Patric Peters, Luxembourg, Cris Weyers England, and Vincent Colliard, France, have started their trek yesterday and have covered 14 km. The first snow was only 20m from the landing point, wrote Borge in his blog. "That saved us several hours carrying loads up to the ice. Since then we have been on skies."
He explained that the route at the start is somewhat different from last year, "we even passed small crevasses from time to time. Nothing serious, but quite different from last year."
They are very aware that they are in polar bear country and are constantly on the watch-out for bears. Their tents are placed close together and a trip wire, connected to flares, is installed around the camp.
After 14 days traveling they will be picked up by the sailboat that dropped them off, to get back to Longyearbyen. About last year's expedition, Borge said in his debrief, Nordaustlandet is two large glaciers in a remote and little visited part of the Svalbard archipelago, “it was relatively smooth going, a few crevasses and a bit carrying between the glaciers, but apart from that just nice great skiing.”
In 2009 Thorleif and Borge, together with Bengt Rotmo, crossed the Northern Patagonia Icecap.
In 1994 Børge Ousland became the first person to ski solo from land to the North Pole. Furthermore he did a kite-ski traverse of the Arctic Ocean from Russia to Canada via the North Pole as well as a kite-ski traverse of Antarctica, from Berkner Island to McMurdo. In 2006 Ousland and Mike Horn attempted the North Pole in Winter, unassisted, unsupported, starting January 22, 2006 and arrived at the North Pole March 23, only two days after sunrise. Other expeditions by Børge are ski expeditions on the Southern and Northern Patagonia Icecaps and Frans Josef Land , as well as a sail expedition around the Arctic Circle.
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