A race against the clock amid the storm

Published on 22.04.2007 - North Pole Quest

There's an exciting finish in store for the North Pole Quest expedition as they attempt to reach the Pole with their supplies running dangerously low.

The days and nights are ticking by in a flurry of activity as all notion of time is suspended for the three men who make up the North Pole Quest team. With around 150 kilometres separating them from their goal, they now have only one idea in mind: to reach the Pole before their dwindling supplies run out.

But the weather conditions are not exactly helping them in their quest. As it is everywhere else on the Arctic pack-ice, the weather is appalling at the moment, with one storm following another. Since the Belgian duo of Hubert and Dansercoer set out, they have only seen two or three days of sunshine. It's the same for the three men of the North Pole Quest and the British explorer Rosie Stancer (who are on the other side of the pack-ice), as they have also only seen the sun for a few hours. Same conditions, same daily grind.

For the men of the North Pole Quest, though, the problem is slightly more ticklish because they have not scheduled any additional supplies to be airlifted in to them. That means they are racing the clock because their remaining supplies are running out fast.

Whatever happens, their situation is not looking good at the moment. For the past few days they have been caught up in an enormous storm that is actually driving them backwards a little more with each passing day. As Hayes wrote in his log on 18th April (day 43 of their trek): "Huge frustration and increasing concern, that for three days, we basically went nowhere. Monday 16th, in our only second fine weather day of the month so far, we reached 88.47N before being met with the inevitable – another storm! By the time we woke up, we'd been pushed back 5 nautical miles to 88.42N due to the severe northerly winds pushing us southwards. Two days later, despite pulling sleds for 12 - 14 hours a day, we have still not reached Monday night's position, due to the ongoing blizzards, winds and drift."

Take your marks: the race against the clock has begun...

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