Battling Along the West Coast of Axel Heiberg Island.

dogsled_today.jpgDay 32
Position
: N 79° 14′ W 096° 08
Distance Traveled: 25 km / 15 mi
Estimated Temperature: -18 °C / -1 °F

This is the eighth day without skis and we are continually on these long pans of old sea ice. It is hard work as we are either running or pushing our sleds. After nine hours of hard work and 25 km of distance we are all pretty tired. It would be great if we got a long day on skis on somewhat flat ice in the next couple of days. The coast of Axel Heiberg looks beautiful and in a couple of days we are hoping to possibly make landfall. The west coast of Axel Heiberg is known for its bad ice conditions and difficult travel. It was first traveled by the Sverdrup Expedition in 1899 who, on May 5th of that year, reached as far north as 80.55 degrees. As they traveled north with their dog teams, they named many of the fiords and other natural features on their way.

dogsled_today.jpg
Dogsledding – Global Warming 101 Expedition 2008
dogsled_newland.jpg
Dogsledding – Otto Sverdrup Expedition circa 1897 (New Land)

Position: N 79° 14′ W 096° 08
Distance Traveled: 25 km / 15 mi
Estimated Temperature: -18 °C / -1 °F

This is the eighth day without skis and we are continually on these long pans of old sea ice. It is hard work as we are either running or pushing our sleds. After nine hours of hard work and 25 km of distance we are all pretty tired. It would be great if we got a long day on skis on somewhat flat ice in the next couple of days. The coast of Axel Heiberg looks beautiful and in a couple of days we are hoping to possibly make landfall. The west coast of Axel Heiberg is known for its bad ice conditions and difficult travel. It was first traveled by the Sverdrup Expedition in 1899 who, on May 5th of that year, reached as far north as 80.55 degrees. As they traveled north with their dog teams, they named many of the fiords and other natural features on their way.

They traveled with dog teams much in the same way as we are, only that they had five dogs per team as opposed to our ten and they traveled lighter since they fed themselves and the dogs by hunting. We are heavier as we carry all our food and supplies. It great to be traveling in Sverdrup’s footsteps 111 years after they were here – pretty much at the same time of the year as we are here.

The spirits are high here as we embark on our attempt to do the western coast of Axel Heiberg. It will be the greatest challenge of the expedition so far and we are ready for it. We are hoping that the ice will not stop us.

All my best,
Toby

Editor’s Note:

In Toby’s May ’01 Audio Dispatch (available on GlobalWarming101.com), he mentions a cairn left by the Sverdrup expedition. Here is an excerpt from Otto Sverdrup’s New Land that speaks about this cairn:

“It was late in the evening before we had got so far that we could pitch our tent on the north side of the bay, close under the ice-foot, at a place which provided a little shelter from the wind. We had driven nearly fourteen miles that day. Here we came to a conclusion which had long been forming in our minds, which was to abandon any further attempt to penetrate northwards, and to turn back. Early on the morning of 5 May we began to look about for a suitable spot for a chairn, and up on a little knoll some few hundred yards from the tent we found a place where there were the necessary materials. We began work at once. On top of the chairn we placed a tall stone, in which Fosheim chiseled a hole for a flagstaff, which bore the Norwegian flag. We then took a meridian altitude which, when worked out on the spot, gave a latitude of 80*55’ N, and placed under the chairn a record of our journey and the latitude we had observed. Finally we took some photographs of the chairn with its surroundings……It was impossible to get any observation for longitude, for a southerly breeze sprang up later in the afternoon, the sky became overcast, and the same weather continued until morning. “

 

 


Norwegian Translation:

April 30, Dag 32 paa tur
Posisjon: N 79° 14′ W 096° 08
Temperatur: -18 °C / -1 °F
Dagens Distanse: 25 km / 15 mi

I dag var dag 8 uten ski paa beina. Isen her paa vestkysten av Axel Heiberg oya er ganske saa toff saa vi loeper etter sledene I det ugjevne terrenget mellom oktene med dytting av sledene opp de verste is formasjonene. I dag var det meget god sikt og skikkelig vaar vaer -18 grader sol og frisk bris. Det er deilig aa slippe aa dekke til fjeset hele tiden. Kysten av Axel Heiberg er noe av det vakreste jeg har sett I hele mitt liv. Den er dramatisk med hoye fjell, isbreer og dype fjorder. Om et par dager haaper vi aa gjoere landfall paa oya for foerste gang og jeg gleder meg til det. I lopet av turens 32 dager saa langt har vi bare hatt en natt I land resten av tiden har vi brukt paa havisen. Rett vest av oss naa er polhavet og nordvestkysten av Axel Heiberg er beryktet for sine isforhold og taake. Vaart forsok paa aa runde Axel Heiberg blir turens storste utfordring og vi haaper at isen ikke stopper oss og tvinger oss til aa krysse Axel Heiberg. Vi er optimistiske og klare for utfordringen. Ellers har sulten naa begynt aa melde seg for alvor. Selv om det ikke er mangel paa mat er jeg naa konstant sulten og jeg tenker paa mat hele tiden. Akkurat I dag har jeg og Sigrid diskutert sjokoladekaker I lange baner.

Alt vel,

Masse Hilsner fra Tobia



This dispatch was created and posted using Dispatch 1.0 – an expedition dispatch software developed by Climate Generation and Global Warming 101 Expeditions.

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