Franco Christina (Italy)
In 2009 and 2010, the adventuress, Christina Franco, who lives in London and ardently defends the plight of the rhinoceros and is an ecologist through and through, has twice tried to reach the North Pole. Unsuccessfully.
Put down on Ellesmere Island on 23 March 2009 by Ken Borek's logistics, Christina set out on the pack ice. But she had some bad luck and two days after she had set out, the pump of her stove (an essential tool for such an adventure) broke. When replacing it, she noted that her spare pump wasn't working properly either. No way of going on. Christina threw in the towel.
But nevertheless, she didn't give up. A few days after her return to London, she embarked for Longyearbyen and returned to the Russian base of Barnéo, from where she will be doing the last degree - like all the tourists who frequent that part of the world. At the same time, she informed her fans that, the following year, she'll be doing it all again.
Still going solo (Christina decidedly has a taste for risk and great adventure), Franco returned to Resolute Bay in the spring of 2010. This time, she is better prepared technically and wants, as in 2009, to be the first woman in the world to pull off this feat. She is defending two major causes:
- The Motor Neurone Disease Association (MNDA, this cause is particularly close to her heart because her father died of it. MND is a slow degenerative disease that attacks the neurones and leads to a weakening of the muscles, a progressive loss of mobility and speech difficulties).
- The 'Save The Rhino' Association and the Wilderness Leadership School.
She was once again put down on Ellesmere Island. And started her trek on 03 March. But really soon, she experienced real hell and in the same way as the other expeditions of this spring of 2010, has had to face a negative drift each day that cost her more kilometres each night. 28 days later, she was definitively blocked by a gigantic stretch of open water that she could never have crossed without running enormous risks. And on 01 April, she made the decision to call Resolute to get herself picked-up by Twin Otter. Once in the Twin, she realised that the water that had blocked her path was at least five kilometres wide !
Christina Franco was 44 years old in 2010. She was born on 02 February 1966, was 1.65m tall and weighed 65.3 kilos before setting off on a polar expedition.
Here some extracts from her blog: "People always start by asking me why I want to go to the North Pole. Then, why do I want to go there on my own? But how can I explain a passion? Because the North Pole is a passion. As soon as I heard the stories of those men who slipped into their frozen sleeping bags in the evening, exhausted by a long day of difficult headway, I wanted to go there. I regarded it as a privilege to traverse the planet's wildest and most extended stretches, to put my body and my mind to the test. Today, there is far more comfort than at the heroic period. And I know that I will not be diving into the Earth's magma.
"A dream only becomes reality if your conviction and your will are accompanied by confidence that is born of experience. My work as a guide in Italy and Africa has brought me a fair amount of experience, as well as the time to devote to personal challenges, to climbing and to racing in a variety of environments. A few years ago, I won the Polar Race 2005 to the Magnetic North Mole, with my team-mate, Justin Packshaw. It was there that I started to dream about getting to the Geographical North Pole.
"The arrival at the North Pole in March will mark the end of a journey that has occupied the past year. In order to ski and survive in such an inhospitable environment, a long preparation is needed, plus many people's support. I'm really sorry to have to leave them behind me on the shores of Ward Hunt Island."