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Conquering the North Pole

together with Wojciech Moskal, 770 km in 72 days

Conquering the North Pole
Conquering the North Pole
Conquering the North Pole
Conquering the North Pole
Conquering the North Pole
Conquering the North Pole
Conquering the North Pole
Conquering the North Pole
Conquering the North Pole

together with Wojciech Moskal, 770 km in 72 days

We decided to reach to the North Pole on skis without any assistance from outside along the route of Robert Peary, the first North Pole explorer. This is the most difficult route: from the northern Canada, over the Arctic Ocean, that is in a direction contrary to the Transpolar Drift, which was pushing us back. The way to the North Pole leads on the ice which covers almost all the Arctic Ocean in winter. The surface of the ice is uneven, it is cut by piled up ice floes, which build up embankments up to 15 meters high and deep crevices - especially dangerous as treacherously covered by a thin layer of snow.


We set out on 13th March from Cape Columbia on Ellesmere Island in the Canadian Arctic. We had 870 km to go. Each of us was pulling 120 kg sleds with the equipment. It turned out quickly how little we knew about the Arctic. I felt like a child who was building a spaceship to fly into space. The Pole was as far as the Moon.


Getting used to -50oC temperature, a great silence or a howling wind and developing our own methods to cross the ice crevices and open water took us “a bit of” time. We had covered not more than 100 km for the first thirty days. We were left with only a half of our food supplies and 770 km more to go. Additionally, it was getting warmer and warmer (-30oC, -20oC) and we had to hurry up to finish before the thaw. Reaching the Pole bordered on the miraculous…

The breakthrough took place at the eighty eighth degree. Two weeks before the food was finished, when we seemed to have no chance to reach the Pole, however, in spite of our exhaustion, we decided to go two hours longer each day. It looked like we had no chances at all. Despite of what we could calculate and comprehend, we decided to continue walking to the end and see what happened next. Instead of conquering the Arctic, we just began to exist in the ice. The Pole would have never admitted us to itself if we had only thought about conquering it.

After seventy two days of walking, on 23rd May 1995, we put our foot on the North Pole of the Earth.


Two other teams started their expeditions to the North Pole at the same time as we did. The first expedition, including Reinhold Messner and his brother, was cancelled (the ice had broken down under their camp and they had lost a major part of their equipment so they had to give up). Oag MacKenzie who undertook the solo expedition, had to retreat too - the 240 kg equipment had turned out to be too heavy for him and made it impossible to continue his walk.