On 14th March 1895, two explorers Fridtjof Nansen and Hjalmar Johansen left their icebound ship Fram and set out on skies for the North Pole. They didn’t make it to the pole, but their journey became one of the most epics, what polar history has ever seen. After latitude 86°14′ North they abandoned the attempt and retreat southwards, eventually reaching Franz Josef Land. Yet, the one of the initial plans was to reach land north of Svalbard, somewhere to the Seven Islands (Sjuøyane). This would have become better argument, when these two would have make it to the pole.
“But let’s say, return trip takes 50 days. If everything has gone well, we set the course to Seven Islands, north of Spitsbergen…”
Two friends, Audun Tholfsen and Timo Palo, now have a dream to take this scenario number two – if…these two brave men would have tried to return back to the Spitsbergen. After being air dropped at the geographical North Pole, we will face to south and have to get back home. Like Nansen and his so called “burning bridges” strategy would have said: there is no way back, but only forward (Fram)! We hope to make it to the first land within 50 days. On the land of Nordaustlandet (northeast island of the archipelago) we have placed out depot, after what we will continue towards the south until to Longyearbyen (the biggest settlement in Svalbard). We prepare for about 1400 kilometers before seeing home, but ice drift and weather can unpredictably change it.
Click on the map to get full-sized preview of the route!
base map source: CIA – Central Intelligence Agency
SATELLITE IMAGE OF THE ARCTIC OCEAN
Aqua MODIS image from the Arctic Ocean in late June 2010. This is the time we should get on land. Pay attention to the sea ice pattern and fragments to get an idea what we might face up to!
Click on image to get full-sized!
MODIS image from NASA’s Earth Observatory page
UPDATED SEA ICE MAPS OF ARCTIC OCEAN
29. January 2012
As we are very much dependent of the sea ice conditions, then we keep now our fingers crossed for the best in spring!
You could notice, that most of the times North coast of Spitsbergen, where is our landing zone, is ice free. This ice free zone is caused by the West Spitsbergen Current, what drives warm Atlantic water along the West coast northward.
Sea ice maps from University of Bremen
Spreen, G., L. Kaleschke, and G.Heygster(2008), Sea ice remote sensing using AMSR-E 89 GHz channels J. Geophys. Res.,vol. 113, C02S03, doi:10.1029/2005JC003384.