“Just Michele and me…”

Published on 23.03.2010 - The big Nail

In the face of numerous minor technical problems (see our previous dispatch), the Italian Michele Portrandolfo is feeling increasingly alone in his adventure. But he is continuing nonetheless.

Nothing has changed since our last update on 19th March. Michele continues to be certain– even more so than before, in fact that the problems he has had with his boots mean that he will be unable to continue his trek on skis. Which means he will have to go on foot. For the time being, though, he is heating water in the morning, filling little bags with boiling water and putting them in his boots under his feet so that they don't freeze up while he is on the move during the day.

He is less than delighted by this prospect and a few days ago (no doubt on 18th March, although we're not entirely sure, because his reports don't always match the dates), he wrote that he was feeling extremely isolated in this hostile environment and that his only moments of happiness were when he was in contact with his HQ. "I knew this adventure was going to be difficult, but I didn't know just how hard it was going to be. In fact, when I think about it, there's just Michele and me..."

Having said that, he doesn't mention whether he can repair everything that has broken. He simply writes that he feels hemmed in by fatigue and that when he camps in the evening, he can't be bothered to do any of his chores.

But the strangest thing about this expedition is that when you decipher what Michele has to say (his blog is in Italian), you get the impression on the one hand that he is about to give up, while on the other and despite all his setbacks, his morale is fine and he will do everything he can to reach his goal.

Whatever, on 22nd March (let's hope finally that this is the correct date), he had covered 97 kilometres of his adventure (his position: 83° 47' N / 73° 59' W). Which, as we mentioned in our previous dispatch, equates to about 4 kilometres per day.

Obviously, if he continues at this rate, reaching the Pole before 26th April (the date selected by Viktor Boyarski, head of the Russian logistics team, to close the Barneo station and hence end flights to the North Pole) will become somewhat difficult.

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