Horn and Ousland Cross 84ºN, Still 200KM to Go

Yesterday I posted an update on the progress of Mike Horn and Borge Ousland, who have been struggling to make headway in their attempt to traverse the polar ice cap. In that article, we learned that the two men have had a rough go of it in recent days, but the winds had turned in their favor with southerly drift helped them to make up for lost time. But, we also learned that they are down to less than one week’s worth of food left, which means things are starting to get tight. Now, another update from Horn provides more information about their current position, and how much further they have to go.

In his latest dispatch, Mike says that they have now crossed 84ºN, which means they are inching closer to the edge of the ice, where his ship, the Pangaea, is waiting to pick them up. As of yesterday, they still had 200 km (124 miles) to go to reach their extraction point, but the two men were boosted by the fact that they covered 30 km (18 miles) in a single day. That’s their best distance yet and they’re hoping that trend continues.

The goal for this expedition was to be off the ice by December 1. Right now, that doesn’t look like it is impossible, but it seems unlikely. Both Horn and Ousland are exhausted and struggling, and that will only be exasperated by going on smaller rations Still, they can also sense that the end is in sight, and that is spurring them on to a degree too. Both want to end this very difficult journey and head home, where they can begin to recover and allow their wounds to heal.

Horn says that they are still pushing towards getting picked up by Pangaea, but the possibility of catching a lift on a helicopter still exists too. At this point, that would probably be a major disappointment for them, after coming this far and suffering this much. Typically, we could do some quick math to figure out exactly when they should be wrapping up, but with the unpredictable nature of this trek, I’d say it is still up in the air. I would’t be surprised if they made the December 1 deadline, but I also wouldn’t be surprised if there were still ten days left to go. The reality is, it will probably be somewhere in between.

I’ll continue to watch their progress and share updates as we get them.

Kraig Becker