Here’s one from the “these guys are crazy” files! ThePoles.com is reporting that two Russian polar explorers have begun a journey to the North Pole in the dead of Winter. Something that has only been attempted a few times, and has never been successfully accomplished.
Matvey Shparo and Boris Smolin will begin their perilous journey today, December 21st, the darkest day of the year, and the fist official day of Winter. The pair will depart from Cape Arktichesky where they will face open water, complete darkness, and bitter cold conditions. On top of that, due to the perpetual darkness and sub-zero temperatures, they can expect little to no support, or should anything go wrong, a rescue attempt.
As ThePoles.com notes, the Arctic ice won’t reach it’s full thickness until March, just before the sun returns in the Spring. Until then, the Russians will face patches of thin ice as the Arctic Ocean freezes over. They’ll have to be especially careful when traveling in complete darkness, that they avoid any areas that may be dangerous. Navigation will be of the utmost importance.
It should be interesting to follow this expedition over the coming months. Borge Ousland and Mike Horn were able to make it to the Pole back in 2006, but their expedition did not achieve a “full winter” rating because they arrived a few days after Winter officially ended. There have been a few other Winter expeditions in the arctic area, but none have started this early, and none of officially made it to the Pole.
I’ll post updates as we get them.
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