A -50°F evening a few days ago.

by John Huston
Hi, everybody. This is John calling. This is the Week in Review of the first week of the Victorinox North Pole ‘09 Expedition. I'd say it's been a week of ups and downs, emotionally and physically.
We landed at Ward Hunt Island around noontime, Central Standard Time, on March 2nd. It was 40 degrees below zero and we took a few photos and then skied north across the Ward Hunt Ice Shelf which is broken in half and that's being studied by climate change scientists quite intensely. We actually saw a few of these pylons marking the edge of the ice shelf about 2 miles, a mile and half in width. So we skied across it and camped and then continued the up and down of the week, mostly up and over, huge chunks and ridges and rubble of sea ice.
We encountered ice blocks of all different sizes; some shoebox size all the way up to car size and some of them are stacked all the way up to what seemed like three stories tall, about 30 feet or so. Those shoebox size of rubble made for very difficult footing. Our snowshoes helped a great deal but still we are happy to come through some of those sections with our ankles intact. And the bigger pieces serve as landmarks but also huge obstacles to get around, up and over, and there's only one thing to do sometimes when you can't find a route, and that is Tyler and I just optimistically point our snowshoes north and wiggle our way.
Our progress is very slow and that's normal for these expeditions at this time of year. Don't expect to see our miles climb for at least another week, although we would love it to happen. We feel very comfortable with our pace and even more comfortable with the fact that we are successfully managing all systems and body parts at 50 degrees below zero for most of the week. It's warmed up a bit today, but it is overcast with very low visibility and a bit of wind, so we'll see how that feels for a change. It's a little frustrating to go so slow, but that's part of the game and we knew that would be part of the game. And we feel good in our mental approach, and we feel good that we're being patient, keeping ourselves warm, eating well, sleeping well and taking care of the little things that need to be done to keep the expedition successful.
Stay tuned. We are now able to send photos. We fixed the glitch in our email system so from this point on we will be sending a photo every other day. We will be sending coordinates and expedition data every day through our website northpole09.com and we will also be sending a voice dispatch that is transcribed to text every other day along with the photo. So you will hear from us every day in some form or another and more substantially every other day. Thanks for listening. It's a slow ride, but it's an interesting one. Thank you. Bye, bye.

Daily Expedition Data
Date: March 8, 2009
Location: N83 19.526' W074 02.124'
Time Traveled: ~7 hours
Distance Traveled: 3.9 nautical miles
AM Temperature: -38°F
PM Temperature: -38°F