What is Adventure Nowadays?

Published on 21.06.2007 - The Arctic Arc

Alain Hubert

Alain Hubert

© International Polar Foundation

The Arctic Arc expedition arrived on time at the Zaventem airport in Brussels yesterday. Before appearing on the television set for the evening news, the two men had enough time to briefly go over the big lines of the adventure.

One of the things that most surprised the few people who had met up at the airport to greet Alain Hubert and Dixie Dansercoer yesterday was that the two explorers did not look excessively tired. They didn't even seem to have lost too much weight after having spent 106 days on the sea ice, in conditions such as we have already heard about.

"It is a question of appropriate diet", explained Alain. "But, especially, it is a matter of managing the course of events in a professional manner during the adventure. For example, even though we didn't take a single day's rest because we wouldn't have dared to slow down our progression any more, we made sure we slept at least 7 hours every night. We accelerated our walking pace progressively, in order to not tire our organisms unnecessarily. Remember, when we arrived at the pole we were still walking only 9 hours a day. The last two weeks of the trip, we walked 11 hours a day..."

In short, the two explorers are in top shape. During the press conference held at the airport, they briefly went over the important points of the philosophy of their adventure. Alain Hubert first talked about his tight and inextricable links with the International Polar Foundation, he then reminded both the educational and scientific chapters of the mission and its imbrication in the International Polar Year, and, finally, he talked about the exploration-adventure aspect of the crossing. "What is adventure nowadays", explained Alain Hubert, "if not to walk upon unexplored land, to go to the forefront of the unknown, to not worry about the unexpected and to show a bit of innovation? It is important for young generations to rediscover what risk- taking means and that they adopt a go-getter spirit, two qualities that are somewhat missing nowadays. It is also for this purpose that we left..."

The Big Moments of the Expedition

  • March 1: Take off. The two men are dropped off by MI 8 at about 70 km from Cape Arktichewski, at point 82°00'32" N / 98°45'14" E.
  • March 9: First snow thickness measures for the ESA. Alain's two thumbs are frozen.
  • March 12: During the daily conversation, Alain says that they feel like they are on vacation...Every two days, their sledges are 2 kg lighter.
  • March 13: They cross the first true chaotic zone worthy of the Arctic.
  • March 14: They bring out the sails for three hours.
  • March 15: They break a solar panel, which is going to cause them big battery trouble.
  • March 21: For the first day of spring, the weather is good and the scenery is beautiful.
  • March 25: The negative sea ice drift brings them backwards 10 km. The snow is very abundant.
  • March 29: They repair one of the tent's poles. Problems with the stove.
  • April 1: Dixie wakes up in the middle of the night feeling something is not right; three bears are roaming around the tent.
  • April 5: They take their first pictures.
  • April 8: Re-supply at point 87°37'09''N/ 83°38'11''E. They are still 266 km away from the pole.
  • April 22: Another major negative ice drift. They loose 24 km in three days.
  • April 25: They reach the North Pole.
  • April 30: 13th measures for the ESA.
  • May 6: The terrain is so bad that they have not yet been able to put their skis on since they left the pole.
  • May 9: The two men are badly intoxicated because the stove has malfunctioned.
  • May 16: For the first time since the beginning of the expedition, Alain's frostbitten fingers don't hurt anymore.
  • May 19: Informed of the Lincoln Sea break-up, they decide to change their direction and to walk more eastwards.
  • May 22: The terrain is very difficult, the sledges are suffering.
  • May 27: Despite the high pressure in the air, the weather is still bad. Alain doesn't understand anything anymore to Arctic weather. The ice and terrain variability that they have been encountering since the beginning of the expedition are troublesome.
  • June 2: Everything is breaking-up. Alain got bad indigestion.
  • June 3: Based on the information received from Brussels concerning the ice situation, they change their direction. They decide to walk more eastwards in order to avoid a break-up zone.
  • June 6: First profile of the Greenland Mountains can be seen.
  • June 10: They can now see the Canadian coast. They now walk southwards.
  • June 11: The finest day of the expedition.
  • June 13: The most phantasmagorical day of the expedition.
  • June 14: They arrive at the foot of the Greenland Mountains at 11 45 am.
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