North Pole One Degree 2008
SUNDAY 6 APRIL - LAST UK TRAINING DAY!
On Sunday all the group met at Mike's house for the last training day before they set off on their great expedition! The morning was dedicated to running through some vital information about surviving in the North Pole and what not to do whilst out there.
Everyone then learnt how to put the tents up outside. It was snowing intermittently so good practice for the North Pole conditions! Everyone worked really well together and managed to put the tents up in just over 5 minutes which was very impressive considering they had never practiced this before. We then went to the lake and practiced river crossings in the small inflatable that will be brought on the trip. This will be used should the group encounter any breaks in the ice.
The kit was then given out to the team and all that remained to be said was see you next week at the airport! It has suddenly come round very fast indeed! The group is very excited about the trip but also slightly apprehensive about venturing into the unknown. It will certainly be the trip of a lifetime!
The group will be phoning in when they can to give us an update about how they are getting on so please keep an eye out for these so you can track their progress.
SUNDAY 13 APRIL - DEPARTURE DAY
The team left the UK after an emotional farewell on Sunday and has now arrived in Longyearbyen in Norway for the first part of their trip. They are spending today getting ready for the expedition ahead - we hope to hear from them very soon with all the latest.
WEDNESDAY 16 APRIL - VERY EXCITED!
After two days of training and packing, the group are now waiting at the airport to be flown out to the ice! The flight has been delayed for a few hours due to the winds at the other end but they are expected to depart at 1pm today.
After the 2.5 hour flight they will have a short helicopter journey to Ice Station Borneo where they hope to fit in a mile or two of skiing later on this afternoon.
The whole group is very excited mixed with just a little apprehension and they would like to thank everyone for helping them get this far.
THURSDAY 17 APRIL - FIRST DAY ON THE ICE
Start of the day
The team arrived safely last night just before 1am and set up their camp. They found it very strange that it was still light at 3am! Once the tents had been pitched, the group settled down for their first night on the ice!
This morning the team are looking forward to the interesting and exciting day ahead. The temperature today is a warm minus fifteen degrees! The team will be setting out for their first day of skiing. They are hoping to take advantage of the good ice conditions and cover a distance of 12-15km.
Not knowing quite what to expect, they are finding it all a bit surreal but are stunned by the breathtaking scenery surrounding them and enthusiastic about the start of their challenge!
End of the day!
Today the team had quite a short walking day, they covered 5 miles and what a day!! The eight of them had to cross a stretch of open water and only just made it before their rope ran out and they were all able to breathe a huge sigh of relief!
They then continued to weave their way, whilst admiring the intricate but spectacular scenery. Wendy ominously picked their way over the ice with a priceless expression her face but did brilliantly!
The position of the team by the evening was 89 25 degrees North and they are all well!
FRIDAY 18 APRIL - CARL'S A HERO!
Today the team covered 7.5 miles, which is brilliant for a team their size. Carl's ski binding broke just steps after leaving camp but he carried on all day. He also gained 'hero status' when he stopped tour guide Inge's sledge from toppling into the water! The team are very happy spending the evening relaxing in their tents, they are all well and say 'hi!' to everyone back home.
SATURDAY 19 AND SUNDAY 20 APRIL - MAKING GREAT PROGRESS!
By Sunday evening the team were located at 89 51 degrees North.
They have reported that they made great progress over the weekend, they are all doing really well and are very happy! The weather conditions are fantastic -cold and clear with no wind and plenty of sun. They are doing so well that they may not be out on the ice for as long as expected or wanted and now expect to be at the North Pole by tomorrow night!
They hope that all is well at home.
MONDAY 21 APRIL - THEY'VE DONE IT!!!
The team have reached the North Pole! They had a hair-raising morning as there was a very strong westerley drift. The wind was blowing as fast as they could walk so they were concerned that if they didn't make it today, they wouldn't make it at all!
It has been much clearer this afternoon and they were all very excited to reach the North Pole but surprised at the ever-changing formation of the Pole. As they put it 'our Pole is no-one else's as it soon drifts past'
They are now in their tents celebrating with hot drinks.
They cannot totally relax yet though as the ice around Ice Station Borneo is breaking up so they are unsure when the helicopter will be able to pick them up. They will keep us updated.
We would like to say a huge well done to the team for this brilliant achievement. We are very proud of you all and it's made even more fantastic by the fact that the team included two deaf people, making them the first deaf people to ever reach the North Pole!!
WEDNESDAY 23 APRIL - LIFE AT THE NORTH POLE
Since arriving at the North Pole, the team have been patiently waiting for the conditions to be good enough for a helicopter to collect them. Hopefully this will happen this morning (Wednesday). In the meantime, the team have been spending their time absorbing the surroundings and taking plenty of pictures to remember their remarkable challenge.
Since arriving at the pole on Monday, the ice drift has been so strong that they have moved approximately 9 miles over the last day or so and are now south at 53 degrees and heading for Greenland!!
The temperatures are the lowest they have been at minus 35, but it's clear and sunny!
The team are still feeling elated at being in the North Pole, but will be happy to be back on solid dry land!
THURSDAY 24 APRIL - BACK ON THE MAIN LAND
The helicopter succesfully collected our team from the North Pole and brought them back safely to Norway, landing at approximately 1.30pm at Spitzbergen airport. After an afternoon's rest, the team went out for a well-earned celebratory meal and drinks in Longyearbyen.
They will spend the next couple of days In Longyearbyen to relax, recuperate and explore the local area until they get their flights home to the UK.
The return details for the group have changed and they will now be home on Sunday 27th April - London City Airport - flight SK 4795 from Oslo to London City arriving 16.45 local time.
A group of friends, family and NDCS will be there to support them so please do come down to City Airport at 4pm if you would like to join us in welcoming them back.