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The North Pole

THE GUIDEBOOK OF THE FIRST POLISH TOURISTS GOING TO THE NORTH POLE

The North Pole
The North Pole
The North Pole
The North Pole
The North Pole
The North Pole
The North Pole
The North Pole
The North Pole
The North Pole
The North Pole
The North Pole
The North Pole

THE GUIDEBOOK OF THE FIRST POLISH TOURISTS GOING TO THE NORTH POLE

Just like a year before I went on this journey as a guide – with the assistance of Wojtek Ostrowski, I was to lead an international group of people to the Pole. None of them has taken part in a polar expedition before. Each of us was different, we had different experiences, originated from different cultures. We were to fly from Warsaw to Moscow, then to Khatanga on Siberia, and, furthermore, to “Borneo” station drifting on the ice 100 km far away from the Pole. From there we were to start our trek.

Leading this group of daredevils I wanted to check how much we could repeat the route to the North Pole which we charted one year before during the previous commercial escapade. I was especially interested by the logistic issues and any possible changes of the terrain. I was concerned with the question whether the route to the Pole via Khatanga and Borneo station is as much certain so that it could be used during next expeditions. At the same time we wanted to test the new equipment: a polar suit for going through open water in crevasses. The plan assumed covering the whole route within 6 days. We were to trek 6 hours a day pulling a 30 kg sled with the equipment.

However, it turned out soon that not everything is going according to the plan. We lost a few days in Moscow waiting for the weather to improve so that we could fly to Siberia. When we arrived at Khatanga we heard there was no way to fly any further. Poor visibility and strong wind blocked any further movement.

We were waiting for better weather conditions for the next five days. A low pressure zone was shifting over the Arctic, strong wind was blowing and the chances to continue the trip were diminishing with each day. We couldn’t do anything. We could only wait. Regardless of the whether we were working on the equipment or eating the reindeer meat, we kept thinking only about the weather. Everything depended now exclusively on the weather.

At last we managed to reach “Borneo” but it was too late to go along the planned one hundred kilometer route. The ice started to melt and a lot crevasses appeared – passing through them would be too much dangerous. We had to change the plan. The helicopter brought us to the position only 22 km away from the Pole, in the region where there were relatively few crevasses. It was from there that we started our trek.

Everybody was, however, already tired and irritated – we were waiting too long for our Pole. Everything went wrong. We broke the tent masts, somebody burnt his hair, somebody almost got hurt. Gianni, an Italian, drank a bottle of vodka which he took with him in secret. After the first day of walk and in the beginning of the first night Nick, Mark, Ulrike and Gianni said that they had enough. I called the helicopter which took them to the Pole directly. The rest of the participants continued the trek. It took us two days to reach the target.

It’s hard to call that expedition successful. However, in the end, all its members reached the Pole, some of them on foot. This expedition showed how much depended on the weather. Any plans made in ahead can get destroyed within just a couple of days. The preparation and motivation of the expedition members is extremely important. Without this even the tiny difficulties become an impassable barrier.