(Newsdesk / Press Release) News arrived from Hans Ambühl, manager of the only skier who attempts a full distance ski this season, Thomas Ulrich. The risk is just too high for the joy gained, said the Swiss skier, who has decided to abandoned his North Pole to Canada ski/kite.
Here goes Hans’ report:
About a week ago, Thomas started at the North Pole. Marching (respectively kiting) towards Canada. He was able to use his kite and make good progress (50 miles in 3 days), even if conditions were quite rough (white-out and stormy winds). Thomas was perfectly adopted to the conditions due to the fact that he just guided a group to the Pole. His equipment worked perfectly, the sleds proofed to be the best ever.
But then the story took an unexpected turn:
Friday night I got a call from Thomas via satellite phone and he told me that he will quit the test-expedition! I was very surprised and Thomas told me his reasons for the decision:
During the first days on his solo trip he already used up a good amount of luck to get out of several critical situations without physical injury. These critical situations (one of them was a wide crack in the ice that opened just 6 feet from his tent over night – he just accidentally discovered and moved his camp) led Thomas to rethink again.
He was always clear that both – the solo expedition from the Pole to Canada and next year’s crossing of the entire Arctic – involved an unlimited risk. On previous expeditions Thomas has accepted exactly that: full commitment and the risk to die and go ‘all in’. The joy gained from overcoming difficulties and maybe even mental boundaries did not outweigh for him the necessary physical and psychological pain inevitable.
Thomas has now changed his direction and he is walking back to Barneo ice base that he should reach in the next 1 or 2 days by himself. From Barneo he will fly back to Switzerland via Longyearbyen, Spitsbergen.
Drifting Ice Station Barneo’s position
April 20, 2015
Coordinates: N 89* 22 'and W 054* 09'
Distance from the pole 68 km.
Weather: blizzard, and western wind of 6-8 m/s,
the temperature -17*C.
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