(ThePoles.com) Karl Busby and Dimitri Kieffer have crossed the Bering Straight. After 15 days on the oceanic ice, the two explorers stepped foot on what they called terra firma.
Meanwhile the rest of the teams are making their way through fairly tough conditions. Conrad and Richard have spent most of the last few days skiing over rough ice followed by this and often 'rubbery' shifting sea ice. For the Finns, its been more of the same but steady progress. The Brits of Polar Quest are cooling their heels waiting for conditions to improve at South Camp Inn, while Bettina and Jean-Gabriel are nursing an aching tooth and some very sore Achilles heels.
Bering Strait Crossing
Karl and Dimitri: They made it across
Theyve made it! reported Karl and Dimitris home team. I got a call from Karl this morning (09:00 UK) (23:00 Thurs AK), stating that from yesterday's location they had made it to within half a mile of the shoreline but had to stop due to lack of light.
They had come across some open-water with a 9ft wall of ice on the opposite side. They managed to find a way around this then discovered they were on ice that was attached to the shore. It was quite the roughest they had seen so far, however it was old ice and not going anywhere so they were quite confident they wouldn't just drift away during the night.
I had to wait until 22:00 (UK) for Karl to come back to me with the confirmation they had reached land. His first words were "Terra Firma!" It would appear they had landed before noon and were on a thin strip of land running along the coast. Needless to say they were elated and mightily relieved. They were then going to make their way down to the settlement of Uelen, some 3.5 miles away. The settlement is probably just a collection of huts and if anybody lives there then this should give the inhabitants something to talk about for the whole of next week.
NP teams from Canada
North Pole Classic: Mental escape
According to their home team, Conrad and Richard have passed the half way 'deadline' of their North Pole expedition and have notched up a third of the total 482 miles (775 km) needed to reach the North Geographic Pole. They need to reach their goal by April 29 which is the latest date that they can be taken off the ice by plane, giving them just 26 days to go and an onerous target of 10 nautical miles per day for the remainder of the grueling expedition, they said.
And while the team has not come across any polar bears thus far, they did spot one seal in a 100 meter stretch of open water, causing some concern since polar bears hunt for seals.
In a call to his home team via sat phone Conrad explained some of his techniques he uses to keep his mind off what he calls an inhospitable environment. "There is no physical escape from the environment but you can escape mentally.
Apart from mind stories about good previous experiences, I have another technique that uses a modern invention called the MP3 player. It allows me to escape my surroundings. Bruce Springsteen is the best for getting over the really difficult pressure ridges and Robbie Williams has increased my pace over flat ice and Eric Clapton is a tremendous standby when things are bad."
Airborne Rangers: Steady progress
Its been a routine North Pole Expedition day, reports the Finnish team.
More of the same steady, plodding progress; our rate of advance during the average active skiing leg is 2 km/hour. The weather is changeable: from bright sunshine to snow. The snowflakes varied in type from tiny, diamond-like crystals to normal flakes.
The whole team is feeling the fatigue. We are heavy-legged from 12-hour working days. After all, it has been over a week since our last rest day. We are really looking forward to Wednesday, our next scheduled day of recreation and servicing.
NP teams from Russia
Bettina and JG: Pulling teeth
A couple of hard days with lots and lots of pack ice, reported the duos home team.
Jean-Gabriel has a toothache and wants Bettina to pull out his tooth, but she declines. However, she has offered to repair it with some special paste/cement for that purpose. Jean-Gabriel has declined. They are both suffering from an aching Achilles heal as a result of walking with the body leaned forward with heavy weight behind.
Just another 515 km before they reach 90 degrees North.
Magnetic North Pole teams
PolarQuest: Arrival at Resolute Bay
After their sledges arrived in Resolute Bay on Saturday, the British Army team was able to check, pack and allocate individual and team stores making sure sledge weights were equal. With each individual sledge weighing 150lb and each member carrying a 20lb back pack, they were ready to go, but bad conditions have kept them cooling their heels.
We remain at South Camp Inn due to a bad weather system across the High Arctic, reported the team.
At the moment, German explorer Arved Fuchs has his equipment loaded onto the aircraft in the hope of being inserted onto Ellesmere Island with the British Warriors-on-Ice Expedition also waiting. If the weather does not improve over Ellesmere, but improves over Melville Island, Kenn Borek Air will fit skids to the aircraft (to enable it to land on the sea ice at Winter Harbour) and insert us. This will take about an hour to fit the skids so we are now fully packed and kitted out and on 'One Hours Notice to Move'.
Borge Ouslands website
Mike Horns website
North Pole Classic 2006 website
Michele Pontrandolfos website (Italian)
Airborne Ranger Club of Finland NP expedition (English / Finnish)
Polar Quest expeditions website
Arios Alone Across Alaska (Italian / English)
One World NP summer crossing website
Top of the Worlds expedition website
Canadian Arctic Holidays
Bettina Aller & JG Leynaud website (Danish / English)
Northwest Passage Polar Expeditions (dog-sledding NP teams)
Karl Bushbys Goliath expedition
Visit our new website