A difficult first few days: but nothing out of the ordinary

Published on 17.03.2008 - Solo North Pole 2008

Hannah McKeand was dropped off at Ward Hunt by Ken Borek's Twin Otter on Friday 7th March. Ever since she set out, she has experienced the usual difficulties that occur around the Ellesmere Island coastline.

Probably the hardest thing for Hannah so far – although she hasn't mentioned it specifically – is the intense cold she has encountered in this area of the pack ice since she left Ward Hunt. According to the instruments on board the Twin Otter, the temperature was minus 49°C when she was dropped off, that is not including the wind chill factor!

But sub-zero temperatures are not the only obstacles to have hampered the explorer's progress. For the past week, Hannah has had to deal with full days of white-out conditions, with very little visibility and a succession of difficult areas to negotiate on a broken and bumpy terrain – this is entirely normal close to the coast where she is. In fact, the conditions have been so extreme that the coating on her skis has peeled away, forcing Hannah to take them off and make her way on foot. In fact, she was unable to ski again from day 6 until day 10 (Sunday 16th March).

As a result, Hannah is making very slow progress, just like Rosie Stancer last year. During her first week, she only covered 17.26 nautical miles (31.9 km), but she is not concerned about it in any way at this stage. She knows that better days will come and until then she will just have to bide her time and be patient.

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