Ousland: “My Greatest Achievement”

Almost a week after stepping off the Arctic Ocean, Borge Ousland and Mike Horn are still unwinding after their ordeal, as they wait for the Lance to free itself from the frozen ocean.

As the weary duo approached the ship last week, they were reduced to a pace of two to three kilometres an hour, eeking out the last power from their exhausted bodies. To gauge how difficult their journey had been, you only have to read Ousland’s recent declaration that it is his “greatest achievement”.

How their eyes must have gone out on stalks, when boarding the Lance they were welcomed with spinach soup, steak, chocolate fondant and ice cream. “All of a sudden, we felt totally relaxed,” Horn said. No surprise, after weeks of running on fumes and adrenaline.

Eighty-seven days on the Arctic Ocean works wonders for the ageing process. Photo: Mike Horn


Ousland and Horn are no doubt overwhelmed by the human contact, the light, hot water, drastic reduction in activity, real food and connectivity with the outside world.

“It takes time to switch from survival mode to a mode where one can be entirely relaxed again,” Horn wrote on December 11.

He continued:

“Although my body is onboard Lance, back in a safe and secure environment, my mind is still on the ice wandering around the ice floes, open water, pressure ridges and darkness, in a constant state of trying to understand that it’s nearly all done and soon time to return back home.

“I’m not sleeping as well as I did on the ice because of the lack of fatigue. I feel drained and walk around like a zombie with no purpose. This expedition has taken so much from us and even though I heal fast, I know it will take a while to get myself together again. Both Borge Ousland and I have pushed our limits far beyond what we could ever have imagined.

“I feel very privileged to have received all your words of encouragement. It was your support and energy that carried Borge and I to the end…

“It’s not over yet, though. We have been stuck in the ice for four days and hope for the ice to release its grip on us so we can get on Pangaea and sail back home. It has been a battle from the start until the very end, but I would not want it any other way.

“What I have lived through and experienced has added value to my life, the only value I need to exist, value I can never lose, value that lives inside myself and that I can carry with me for the rest of my life.”

The Lance stuck in the ice. Photo: Mike Horn