Polar crossing in winter

Two people have crossed the Polar Sea on skies in winter darkness, but have run out of food and fuel. Now awaiting resupply and pickup:

From the article:

“Despite running out of food and fuel, Ousland and Horn repeatedly turned down the option of being picked up by helicopter, according to Lars Ebbessen, who is coordinating the expedition.
“The whole point was to get off a boat, cross the Arctic Ocean and then board a boat again on their own two feet. Getting picked up by helicopter would be an evacuation, and it would be an end to the trip that neither of them was satisfied with,” Ebbesen told NRK, a broadcaster.”

I really don’t care about this story that much but it sounds to me they are a pair of arrogant dicks. They claim to needed rescue but would only accept a rescue from passing ships & nothing else? Let the bastards starve & drown for all I care if they were being picky on how to be rescued. I don’t know anything about what research the Lance was doing but almost all research vessels that I worked on were on tight budgets & schedules. Sometimes the professors, students & researchers would plan for years just to go to sea for a few weeks to do research that was very important to them. I seen a research lady cry once because her research was cut short 9 days due someone else’s medical emergency on board. She had built her career & reputation on the limited research that she had planned to do. Hopefully the Lance was just doing the summer camp for 3rd & 4th generation rich kids kind of research & not doing anything important.


If you read the article it says clearly that this was not a rescue but an arranged resupply and pickup operation.

The Lance is a former polar research vessel that is now in private ownership. She was in Longyearbyen and was chartered in for the purpose.

Two friends of the adventurers, all with years of polar experienced, went out on the ice to bring food and fuels so they could complete their goal of crossing from Alaska to Svalbard on skies, being brought to the ice edge by boat at one end and be picked up by boat at the other.

Being picked up by helicopter would be seen as a rescue, not a completed crossing.

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I think it takes a certain amount of arrogance to go exploring the Arctic on foot. If you’re of a humble disposition, you intrinsically understand that you’re messing with a beast far beyond your capabilities, and stay away.

I’ve been following this in the news with some trepidation. At a certain point, this didn’t look like it would have a good outcome. To go through all of that, looking at the very real possibility that digits and facial features will come off once they thaw out, and still opt to go the last few miles on their own feet, really says something about the character of these men. Respect!

Here is a sequential report from NRK in Norwegian:

Latest from VG’s reporters on board Lance. (Google translation):

From the article:

“The ship, the “Pangea” , which is not capable of sailing in ice, completed its voyage as planned, but Ousland and Horn were slowed by poor ice conditions, encountering thin ice and areas of open water and at times being moved backwards by drifting ice floes. So, on November 25, with rations running out, the support team helping Ousland and Horn requested the “Lance”, a Norwegian ice-breaking research vessel, to sail into the sea ice to retrieve them, rather than waiting for them to reach the edge.”

I’m going to take your word for it because this isn’t that important to me & because I hope you are getting additional news in Norwegian that is more descriptive. But I did read the article, twice now, & it states the support ship was the Pagnea & it couldn’t get to them so they called on the Research Vessel/Ice Breaker “Lance” to save them. It’s copied & pasted above. The article didn’t say anything about the Lance being an additional chartered support ship for these 2, now to be 4 guys skiing. This article just called her a research ice breaker there to save the day.

One more thing. I don’t know if you are familiar with icebreakers but those things are diesel guzzlers, especially the oldies when they are breaking thick ice. These 2 guys are making one hell of a carbon footprint to go skiing IMO.

R/V Lance was originally built as a seal catcher cum fishing vessel in 1978, but was quite early purchased by the Norwegian Polar Institute and converted to research vessel.
That ended in 2017 and she is now in private ownership:

Lance is not even nearly an icebreaker. It’ll be interesting to see if they have to call Kronprins Haakon to get them out from the ice once the guys have been picked onboard.

As for the two explorers, my understanding is also that they have chartered Lance for the pickup as they ran out of rations before reaching the ice edge and the sailing boat (which came through the NSR unescorted, by the way).

Pretty bad ice year to try something like this. No wonder they couldn’t make it even with extra rations. Still, almost three months skiing on thin ice… not bad in my books.

Since probably the 1970’s crossing the North/South Pole on foot/dog sled has become an “extreme sport”. There is really no exploration to it, and the enthusiasts that participate could only charitably called explorers. They should be called “Pole Crossers”, kin to the climbers who scale Everest, except that Pole Crossing is much harder and more expensive.

Rescuers have died trying to save mountain climbers, yet they still climb. The same dynamic could hold with Pole Crossers, but it’s more likely to be fatal to the Crosser. These people put themselves to the limit, month after month. Here’s a recent sad case of brave man dying by pushing himself to the limit:

People sometimes complain how society is soft these days, and lazy. Pole Crossers argue otherwise.

For me it looks like the fool who tried to cross the Atlantic in a barrel >>>

…or the Saint Greta, obliged to cross the Winter North Atlantic W>E in a sailboat

Oh man. Young Greta would have a, “How dare YOU!?!” or two & the stink eye for these fellas if she ever catches them. She rode a sail boat with no engines or generator, pooping in a bucket to get to the US & took another sail boat back in the North Atlantic winter to save the planet & these 2 guys have 2 resupply support ships & helicopters on standby for their ski trip. That girl will probably have an aneurysm when she hears about this.

You’re right. It’s exactly the same. Except that crossing the Arctic Ocean on skiis means expending 8,000 calories a day, essentially running a marathon a day for three months, dragging the weight of a motorcycle behind you over walls of jumbled ice, with an equal chance of frostbite and drowning, and a slight but real risk of predation by polar bear.

But in most respects, exactly the same as sitting in a barrel. :upside_down_face:


From VG,no today:

They are now on board the Lance and have had their first real good meal in 3 months:

The two persons that has crossed the Arctic Ocean are no novices to such adventures:
What it doesn’t say here is that he started his adventures as an officer in the Norwegian Navy Special Forces (Marinejegerkommandoen):

Mike Horn is not a newcomer to the Arctic either:

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How does one become a ‘professional explorer and adventurer’?

How is this a profession? I always figured you were independently wealthy and bored like that guy who kept trying to take a balloon around the world.

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That and a sense of entitlement that allows you believe you’re special and deserving of others risking their lives to come save your sorry ass when the inevitable happens and one of your senseless adventures goes south.

The same way any athletic activity can be a profession. Having your brand name on his sled, or getting him to wear your jacket, can be extremely lucrative. Such trips are usually financed by a number of equipment manufacturers, with one main sponsor who picks up the slack (I’ve seen a lot of insurance companies, banks, etc).

When I was 17, I undertook to walk from Oslo to Bodø, at least partially inspired by the modern Arctic “explorer”. This was back before such hikes became fashionable, and everybody told me I should go pro. I had other plans, but in hindsight it would have been a good move.

My post above may seem harsh but it was in reference to this type of ‘adventurer’ with no sponsorship whose voyage has no hope of success unless rescued by the Coast Guard at taxpayer expense:

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The Lance was still stuck in ice as of yesterday, but increased wind today give some hope of more movement in the ice to help breaking loose and proceed to Longyearbyen, There there the expedition will be officially over:

Lance has got free and is heading for Longyearbyen:

Lance is still stuck in the ice: