Pessimistic outlook for Michele

Published on 30.03.2010 - The big Nail

The situation of the Italian adventurer Michele Portrandolfo looks far from encouraging. After 24 days on the ice, he has only just reached 84 degrees North. And he was already talking about giving up in his latest update.

Although the plucky Italian refuses to envisage the worst, reading between the lines of the reports he is sending back to his HQ, the spectre of discouragement is slowing spreading through his mind and every fibre of his body. He has already been hard at it for 24 days, hauling himself slowly across the ice -and yet has still only covered about 120 kilometres. Which means that the North Pole is still 688 km from his current position.

When he finally passed through 84 degrees North, he erupted with joy, then surrendered to the obvious by writing that if things continue like this, he will never be able to reach the Pole in time. He has analysed the situation with detachment, explaining that if after 24 days of trekking he has only covered 114 actual kilometres to the north, then he will need 300 to reach his goal when he includes all of the to-ing and fro-ing he has to do between his two sledges.

The inevitable fact that his situation is becoming critical is gradually dawning on him and that the day will undoubtedly come when he has to accept that he is bound to fail. "The experience of a polar explorer is also about recognising and acknowledging this type of situation," he writes. "But right now, today, that time has not yet come. I have just reached 84 degrees North and am still as enthusiastic as I was when I started..."

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