They’ve put on their skis again

Published on 15.05.2007 - The Arctic Arc

266 km done since they left NP

266 km done since they left NP

© International Polar Foundation

Since they have set off from the pole (April 26), Dixie and Alain have been obliged to proceed on foot, due to the Arctic chaos. Yesterday, the terrain was slightly better. They were able to put on their skis once again. There is still hope...

"Slightly", Alain really emphasised that word on the telephone yesterday. "It has kind of cleared up", declared Alain. "Meaning that blocks of ice are no longer forming, or rather are forming fewer compact areas of incoherent compression, with the ice falls following one another or being superimposed on one another. There are therefore more clear areas, slabs of flat ice of various sizes on which we can make better progress and on which we can of course put our skis on again."

So that's some good news. And the pair really needed some. Because if one steps back a little and looks at the rate of progress compared to the initial programme, one soon realises that the expedition has been greatly delayed. Also, its chances of completing the entire route as foreseen (all the way to the south of Greenland) are diminishing. Since they left the pole, the daily average has been of 7.7 miles. However, they still have some 1,875 miles to go; at an average of 9.4 miles per day, that would take a further 200 days ofexpedition! Unachievable.

Yesterday evening, the two men endeavoured to repair Dixie's sledge, which had been badly damaged in the chaos area they had just crossed. But the main news of the day remains, on the one hand, the reappearance of open water leads and, on the other, the sight of a seal which, undoubtedly hearing the noise of the two men skiing on the ice, showed up through one of the leads.

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