Arctic Return: A true adventure
Published on 03.11.2012 - Arctic Return Adventure Tour
The Arctic Return expedition is a quite important one, because first, Audun Tholfsen and Timo Palo reached the Svalbard archipelago from North Pole, and second because they have drawn an itinerary that famous explorer Fridtjof Nansen could have taken if he had not been forced to abandon his trek to the North Pole.
Audun Tholfsen and Timo Palo left North Pole on 24 April, having been taken up there by the Barneo logistics and by MI 8 helicopter. Few days after the Barneo station was closed (like it is closed every year around this date) leaving the two young guys alone on this huge arctic ocean with no means to call for help or to be rescued. What a thrilling impression that could have been !
Here is an excerpt of their blog : "... 22nd April Barneo base was very kindly and friendly to us. We met there with youth expedition organized by Matvei and Dmitri Šparo (Dmitri Šparo visited Estonia last september). The Barneo base distance from the geographic North Pole was about 112 km, so we needed to get to the Pole somehow. Barneo-crew was very thoughtful and they organized a flight to the Pole by helicopter. We "landed" 11 km from pole and these last kilometers to North we skied. It was quite difficult experience: wind was strong and ice surface was very uneven with much ridged ice. Kayaks are very heavy also (130-140 kg). In such conditions we moved on very slowly: 3 km a day. At night ice drifted us back 2 km - we were not very happy of that. To get to pole point we decided to do a long skiing-day. Some kilometers we skied pulling kayaks behind us and for last 5 km we left kayaks and skied without them. Temperature is here -25C From now on we are moving to south and are hoping that transpolar ice drift is with us. ..."
54 days later, after having covered 1039 kil, both men touched land at Trolloden, Phippsoya, Norway (Seven Islands). They had to kayak and zigzag between the fjords for few more days (18) until they reached finally their home island.
If you want to relive their adventure, please open the PDF related document.