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Skog and Gjeldnes turned around

Posted: Jun 21, 2011 11:29 am EDT

(By Jon Amtrup) No drama. But Cecilie Skog and Rune Gjeldnes have decided to abort their summer mission to the North Pole. The ice conditions blew up their time schedule, and they didnt want to set of an Arctic rescue operation. So the two Norwegian adventurers have now turned back and are heading for Canada.

Both Cecilie Skog and Rune Gjeldnes are known to reach their expedition goals in good style. But this time the ice conditions, or the lack of liquid water, made them abandon the summer trek to the North Pole.

In an interview with ExWeb before they left, Rune Gjeldnes told us in Nansen style that there was only one way for this expedition, and that was the North Pole. But the conditions got the better of him and Cecilie this time.

- Turn back in time. There is no disgrace. That is the 8th of the nine mountain codes, but even if we are so far from the mountains that we can get, we must now make the rule booklet, they write on their blog, and continue:

- When we started from Cape Discovery on 7 June, which is 13 days ago, we knew that we were going to spend a long time on the first 100 kilometers. We've both been here before so we were also aware that it would be very hard, and that conditions would be of a nature that we were going to be put to many tests. When we look back at what we've been through so far, it's fantastic that we've come as far as we have done. But we are not even close to as far as we had hoped and planned.

- It's no big secret that ice on the Arctic Ocean is difficult in summer, and thats probably why there is hardly anyone who has tried this before us. Since we knew that we could get bad ice conditions, we visited Kongsberg Satellite Services and made an appointment with them before we left. They should give us some information "from above" in the form of satellite images, so we could find open water.

No open water for the canoes

The idea was to use canoes on open water that went in the north-south direction, moving forward more effective than going on the ice. We saw pictures of this area from previous years, and they showed many holes in the Arctic Ocean in summer. The satellite images now show no open water. It is brash in front of us for hundreds of kilometers, and it does not appear that it will change significantly any time soon.

With the progress we have had in the last week, where we are able to do 8, 9 and maybe 10 miles on a long workday, this is only half of what we should do on this phase of the trip. Even if we allow for two additional hours a day, we would max be able to do 12-13 km, but this would still be too short.

We had already made a quite a realistic schedule, but it has blown up long ago. If we continue north now the consequence can be that we set off a rescue operation in the middle of the Arctic Ocean after about 4-5 weeks, and we do not want that. We had an agreement with an icebreaker to meet them at 90 degrees north on 27 July. This shows that it is impossible to be able to achieve, and then we see no alternative but to turn around and return to Canada and the mainland.

This was not what we had hoped for when we started planning a year ago, or when we were at the start 13 days ago, but now that the decision has been made we are very proud to have come so far that we have done, and to be able to take the difficult decision to turn back.

Now we will enjoy ourselves on the trip back. We have food and supplies to get back without having to stress, and it may be that we need both supplies and time to the fullest. The conditions have gotten worse in recent days, and the areas we walked over the past few weeks, has melted further and may be harder to get through on the way back. This means that we are probably going to spend some time back, even if the canoes are lighter.

#Polar #Oceans #topstory

Cecilie Skog and Rune Gjeldnes has turned around and given up on their mission to canoe and walk to the North Pole in summer.
To much ice and to little liquid water.