SA extreme adventurer, Mike Horn, completes epic North Pole trek

Posted on 9 December 2019

Two Arctic explorers, including South African extreme adventurer Mike Horn, have completed an epic 1,650-kilometre trek across the Arctic Ocean via the North Pole.

On Sunday 8 December, explorers Mike Horn (South African) and Børge Ousland (Norwegian) succeeded in reaching their final destination, the docked Lance research vessel.

The duo set off on what became a 76-day research expedition from the town of Nome, Alaska on 23 September, with the intention of collecting data on melting ice in the Arctic. The explorers had already successfully traversed Antarctica via the South Pole in February of 2017 and this expedition, the North Pole Crossing 2019, is the second leg of the Pole2Pole expedition which began in May 2016.


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Horn and Ousland were meant to reach the Lance research ship in mid-November, whereafter the vessel would transport the pair to the Pangaea, a green, ocean-expedition yacht, which would take the explorers to Svalbard in Norway.

After reaching the North Pole on 29 October, the battle was not yet won, however.

The men believe that some of the challenges they faced out along their trek could be attributed to the effects of climate change and global warming. Apart from the extreme weather conditions (with temperatures as low as -40°C) their trek was that much longer because the thinning (at times drifting) polar ice meant that they needed to slow down or else risk falling through. At one stage Horn did fall into the ice-cold water and as a result, sustained frostbite on his hands and nose.

The unexpected delays also meant that their careful food rations needed to last longer, and they very nearly ran out were it not for a Norwegian rescue team sent to deliver some supplies. On social media, Horn’s 45th update described how the team slowly skied the last 12 kilometres on breaking ice to make it to their pick-up vessel – just in time as their food was due to run out.

According to their social media updates, the Lance is currently stuck in the ice, but once out, it’ll take them to meet the Pangaea.

Featured image by Etienne Claret

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