The latest update from ThePoles.com on the two Russian polar explorers who are making a run at the North Pole in the dead of Winter says that Matvey Shparo and Boris Smolin are once again moving forward after spending three days in their tent waiting for a terrible storm to finally blow over. White out conditions during the day are bad, white out conditions in perpetual darkness are even worse.
Since their setback however, the pair have been making good time, although they report that the varying thickness of the ice has a direct impact on the speed they can travel. When the ice is thick, it is dryer, making for less friction and allowing them to pull their heavy sledges much more easily. When the ice is thinner, it is also wetter, making it much more difficult to move. At the North Pole, the ice is generally fairly thin at this time of the year, but will reach it’s maximum thickness in March before Spring sets in.
ThePoles.com is also reporting that famed polar explorer Børge Ousland wrote the Russians a letter to wish them well. Few people understand the conditions they are traveling in as well as Børge, who has expressed his respect for the expedition’s ambitious goals. If successful, Matvey and Boris will travel more than 1000 miles to reach the North Pole, spending the entire time in darkness, and at the coldest time of the year. In addition to that, they’ll risk thin ice, open waters, and extreme conditions, all the while battling negative drift from the shifting ice, and dodging hungry polar bears as they go.
Sounds like a walk in the park! 🙂