It looks like polar explorers Mike Horn and Børge Ousland are just about ready to begin their long journey across the polar ice cap. The duo have been sailing northward aboard Horn’s ship the Pangaea for the past couple of weeks, but now appear to have found ice thick and solid enough to allow them start the leg of the journey that will be on foot. And while they have enjoyed their voyage into the heart of the Arctic Ocean, the real adventure is about to truly begin.
Horn and Ousland set out from Nome, Alaska a few weeks back, but suffered a few stops and starts before the expedition truly started to gain traction. The Pangaea suffered a couple of malfunctions while en route to the Arctic Ocean, forcing them to pull into port to make repairs. Eventually they were able to get underway and it wasn’t long before they began encountering ice floes in the water. Still, it took them quite a few more days before they were able to reach solid enough ice to begin their polar ice cap crossing, although it now seems they are ready to begin that stage of the journey.
Posting on social media over the past few days, Horn has shared a video of him running across the thick Arctic ice. He followed that up a day later with a note that read:
That text was accompanied by a photo of Mike and Børge kitted up and ready to start skiing. The plan now is to leave Pangaea behind and begin traveling to the North Pole. That first phase of the expedition will cover more than 500 km ((310 miles) just to reach the top of the world, although the journey won’t end there. After departing the Pole, the two men will then ski an additional 800 km (497 miles) to reach the far side of the ice, where Horn’s ship will be waiting for them. All told, the crossing is expected to potentially take as long as three months to complete as they race the arrival of the Polar winter. Their goal is to be off the ice before winter officially arrives. Considering that we just passed the first day of autumn here in the Northern Hemisphere, the clock is already ticking on them achieving that goal.
Neither Horn, nor Ousland, are strangers to big polar adventures. Both have skied to the North and South Pole in the past, including an epic trip they did together back in 2006. That’s when they made a joint expedition to the North Pole completely in winter. Their current expedition will offer similar challenges, although the 2019 version will be much longer.
We wish them luck as the prepare to embark on the journey. We’ll definitely be following closely.
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