Russian amphibious vehicles negotiating big lead and ridges

Posted: Apr 16, 2013 08:03 pm EDT

(Newsdesk) The Russian vehicles were halted by big open water and "towering ridges", they reported on April 11th. Since then have been trying to find a suitable and safe route to Resolute Bay, Canada. On the satellite images they can clearly see two big black leads (open water), one of which is stretching right across their way.

Trudy Wohlleben from Canadian Ice Service told ExplorersWeb, "That flaw lead between the coastal fast ice and the mobile pack ice opens and recloses regularly, creating long parallel coastal ridges and large hummock fields."

The MLAE team says the sea ice on the Russian side of the North Pole (90°N) and the Canadian side differ as the Canadian side has more and higher pressure ridges and more open water.


April 12
Canadian Arctic Sector N 87° 39' W 83° 40'

After two days of fast traveling southwards from 90°N the expedition stopped in front of one kilometer wide "drift division line".

Afanasy Makovnev reported, "We went down and walked among the chaos of huge three meter thick ice blocks before we reached the actual line of division. It was something incredible for all of us we saw for the first time. Moving almost silently at the speed of 4-5 hundred meters per an hour the ice field we were standing on was passing another one. The line between them was precisely straight and, I am sure, stretching miles and miles."

"I could easily step forth, crossed it and walked on the other side of the line. But how to drive automobiles across it? On each side of that line there were pressure ridges, some of them reached 7 to 8 meters above the water level."

"From the Arctic and Antarctic Research Institute we received an infrared satellite image showing ice surface from the North Pole to the coast of Ellesmere Island in a section between the 55-th and 85-th western meridians: yes, there are two very well visible drift division lines on the satellite image and we are near one of them stretched over our way in the direction of 135-140 degrees. What to do now? The right decision must be made now: shall we go East or West?"

April 15
N87° 19'57.83, W073° 38'29.04.
Drift 10km per day to the southeast.

They reported that all the team members were busy; the mechanics were struggling with small leak through the engine oil pressure sensor, professionals at Barneo were contacted regarding advice on the state of the ice and how they should travel, and they also reported that Canadian Ice Service monitors the situation. "The weather cleared on Monday [April 15th], hoping to get a long-awaited shot and take the right course to bypass most of the trouble."

April 16
Coordinates N87° 08.278, W071° 46.680.

Temperature -18°C.
Wind north, strong, rocking the cars.
Visibility of 500 m, white-out, at night stood at 23.10 (time: Greenwich -4, New York), went in the morning to noon.
Distance traveled: 33 km, covered 20.
Distance to Ward Hunt Island: 444 km.
Distance from the North Pole: 319.76 km.
Still no crossing of the ridges and lead.
Drift to south-east at a speed of 200-300 meters per hour or more.

In 2009 two amphibious vehicles of MLAE-2009, Yemelya-1 and Yemelya-2, reached the Geographic North Pole after traversing 2033 km from Sredniy Island in the Severnaya Zemlya archipelago to 90°N. This year Yemelya-3 and Yemelya-4 are used by the Marine Live-ice Automobile Expedition-2013 to attempt to go beyond the North Pole to Resolute Bay, Canada, 74°41′N, 094°52′W.

The Marine Live-ice Automobile Expedition-2013 (MLAE-2013) has started driving from the Russian polar station at Golomânnyj (N79° 33') on March 1st, where they greeted the border guards. After 37 days they reached the Geographic North Pole on April 6, 2013.

The 2013 team is Elagin Vasily (leader, vehicle designer and builder), Makovnev Afanasy (deputy leader), Vankov Andrey (driver-mechanic), Obikhod Vladimir (driver-mechanic), Shkrabkin Alexey (driver-mechanic), Kozlov Nikolai (doctor), and Isaev Sergey (driver-mechanic).

Yemelya is an amphibious vehicle designed for transportation over ice floes and thin ice of the Arctic Ocean. Its six wheels are dressed with special low pressure tires inflated to the mere 0,7 bar. The gross vehicle weight is under 1,5 tons while the total water displacement of the six inflated tires constitutes 4 tons resulting in the very shallow draft of the vehicle body in water - just 10 centimeters.

Despite the large profile and windage characteristics of vehicle’s body, its spinning wheels are capable of propelling at the speed of 2-3 km/h on the open water. The vehicle tows three single-axel trailers each loaded with a pair of 200 L fuel barrels and six 130 L plastic containers for food and gear.

Read more Yemelya specifications here.

Expedition links:

North Pole to Greenland

Fyodor/Fedor Konyukhov's website

Fyodor/Fedor Konyukhov on Facebook

MLAE-2013 website

MLAE-2013 tracking

MLAE on Facebook

Barneo Ice Camp

Canadian Ice Service

Related / Previous

Previous - Cars and dogsled departed from the North Pole

Previous - Video: Russian dogsled departing from the Geographic North Pole

Previous - 2013 North Pole: Last Degree ski expeditions

Yemelya cars reached the North Pole in 2009

Arctic 2011: Heads up - Vladimir Chukov leading a North Pole crossing from Sredniy Island to Ward Hunt Island

Polar wrap-up: No Polar cars reached North Pole;

ExWeb interview with Jason De Carteret: record drive to the South Pole

ExWeb interview with Aron Reynisson (part 1), “It is by no means easy to drive to the South Pole”

ExWeb interview with Aron Reynisson (final): “We literarily tear the vehicles apart and rebuild them with components proven to tolerate the cold climate.”

ExplorersWeb Expedition List

AdventureStats Polar Traverse Statistics

#Polar #topstory

Image showing the lead that halts the team. "We went down and walked among the chaos of huge three meter thick ice blocks before we reached the actual line of division. It was something incredible for all of us we saw for the first time. Moving almost silently at the speed of 4-5 hundred meters per an hour the ice field we were standing on was passing another one."
courtesy MLAE 2013, SOURCE
At the North Pole on April 6.
courtesy MLAE 2013, SOURCE
The team at the NP, 90°N.
courtesy MLAE 2013, SOURCE
Planned route.
courtesy MLAE 2013, SOURCE

Visit our new website