Team: Rune Gjeldnes + all my good helpers and sponsors.
Type: Unspported crossing of the Antarctica on skis
Where: From Novo Station in Queen Maud land via the South Pole to Terra Nova Bay.
Goal: First person to cross both Poles without re-supplies. Longest unsupported skitrip, ever. Have a nice and joyful expedition alone.
Duration: 90 days. 3rd of November 2005 – 2nd February 2006.
Link: The Longest March-webpage
The expedition book can be bought on the WEB SHOP
Rune has left Antarctica (28.02.2006)
Rune has been waiting for three weeks in Terra Nova for his girlfriend Aina to arrive. She left New Zeeland two weeks ago on a cruise ship from Heritage Expeditions. The destination was the Ross Sea in Antarctica, where Terra Nova is located. The reunion was indescribable. Aina met Rune on the only sand beach in Antarctica with a bottle of Champagne, celebrating the success and their reunion. I can imagine that a few tears slipped away as they saw each other for the first time in almost four months. Rune was picked up last Friday at about 11.30, and is now safely onboard the cruise ship with Aina on their way back to New Zeeland. During the cruise back to New Zeeland, the ship will make a few stops on the Antarctic shore. They will visit the old Scott cabin at Hells Gate before they set the course north. The arrival in New Zeeland is estimated to about two weeks from now, and they are expected to land in Oslo Norway the 14th of March.
The Longest March film can be watched here:
Day 93 – 3 kilometres (4804) (03.02.2006) SUCCESS!
– Arrived Terra Nova at 02.00 CET today! Rune Gjeldnes – the first person to ski un-supported across both the poles! Across the Arctic Ocean, from Severnaya Zemlya in Russia via the North Pole to Cape Discovery in Canada in the year 2000 and now across the Antarctic continent from Queen Mauds Land via the South Pole to Victoria Land.In addition Rune skied across Greenland lengthways from Cap Farewell to Cap Morris Jessup in 1996. With that, Rune has completed the gruelling explorers Grand Slam – skiing un-supported across the three largest ice caps in the world! Across Greenland in 1996, 2895 kilometres in 86 days. Across Arctic Ocean in 2000, 2100 kilometres in 109 days. Across Antarctica in 2005-2006, 4804 kilometres in 90 days.
Day 92 – 12 kilometres (4801) (02.02.2006)
A fantastic, but hard day! Rune had to take several turns to bring all the equipment up on the ridge, but the reward was great.
Finally, Rune saw the ocean that was the proof that he is getting close to his goal. The scenery from the mountain ridge was fantastic, with the ocean on one side and Mt. Melbourne (2732) on the other side. The path on the ridge of the Northern Foothills was a little more dangerous than anticipated, with slippery surface and steep sides. The sled slipped several times; hanging in the sled ropes 90 degrees to one of the sides. Rune had to work very hard to advance and prevent the sled from pulling him off the ridge. But despite of the difficult terrain, Rune covered 11 kilometres, and Rune has with that covered a total of 4801 kilometres! The Terra Nova base is now only a capricious glacier away.
Day 91 – 12 kilometres(4789) (01.02.2006)
Glacier in Browning Pass today, and made camp at the end of the air field attached to the Terra Nova base. He has covered 12 kilometres, and has only 16 kilometres left! Rune still has a small ridge to pass before he reaches Terra Nova, and the plan is to climb the ridge tomorrow and mace camp there. The top of the ridge is on an altitude of 410 metres. Rune will have to climb the ridge several times in order to get all the equipment up. The next day Rune will try to find a safe path over the Northern Foothills and down to the Terra Nova Base.
Day 90 – 25 kilometres (4777) (31.01.2006)
Almost there! Rune covered 25 kilometres today, and is getting very close to the goal. The distance is only 14 kilometres in direct line, but that is trough a mountain, Mt. Abbott. The last challenge is to find a route across the mountain to the Terra Nova base. The plan is to move up the glacier in Browning pass, and cross over the ridge at its lowest. The altitude is still 410 metres at this point, but it is probably the best place to cross. The estimated walking distance is 40 kilometres. This morning Rune hoped to reach the cape with the very special name, Cape Sastrugi. A name that describes a major part of the expedition. The lack of wind left Rune with only one alternative, pull the sled old fashion way. The sleds runners are destroyed, so the friction is at maximum, making the day very hard. But Rune reached his day goal, and made camp at Cape Sastrugi.
Day 89 – 10 kilometres (4752) (30.01.2006)
The glacier is conquered! The day started as yesterday ended, with terrible conditions. Slippery, steep terrain covered in crevasses.
After struggling with the glacier for a few hours Rune found a snow bridge leading trough the glacier. Rune named the snow bridge <<>road from hell <>>. He is extremely happy that he is trough the worst glacier he has ever seen, and is now very optimistic. The Terra Nova base is only 40 kilometres ahead (straight line), and Rune can se Mt. Abbott, where the base is located. The last challenge is to get to the base on the other side of the Abbott Mountain.
Day 88 – 8 kilometres (4742) (29.01.2006)
the worst day! Yesterdays picture is the last picture we can publish until he reaches Terra Nova. Today has been the worst day on the 88 days long expedition. A terrible, dangerous area covered with crevasses. The worst part of the glacier and rune is balancing on thin edges all the time. Rune lost his compact camera today, which he uses to take the photos he communicates home. It fell into a big crevasse as Rune tried to document the horrible ice conditions. A big loss for Rune, but luckily he has four other cameras with him.
Day 87 – 16 kilometres (4734) (28.01.2006)
Big crevasses! Rune is getting low on battery, and today’s message only contained the position. According to his Argos beacon Rune covered another 16 kilometres today, and he is about to enter the most difficult part of the glacier.
Day 86 – 23 kilometres (4718) (27.01.2006)
Nice scenery, but difficult terrain! Rune covered another 23 kilometres today, and is more than halfway down the Priestley Glacier. The altitude is 830 metres. Rune has another 20 kilometres until he reaches the worst part of the glacier. An area covered with crevasses and moraine. The terrain is still very difficult. Hoping for an easier day tomorrow, but Rune is afraid that will not be the case.
Day 85 – 20 kilometres (4695) (26.01.2006)
Slippery, blue ice! The terrain is still very difficult. The glacier is a maze of slippery blue ice and crevasses. Rune has to focus on the sled all the time. The ice is so slippery, that a second of inattention could be catastrophically. Rune is very happy with the distance covered today, 20 kilometres, in this terrain. He has descended 400 height metres, and is now at an altitude of 1045 metres. The weather has been sunny, but with ice cold winds of 13-14 metres per second.
Day 84 – 20 kilometres (4675) (25.01.2006)
A natural Maze! Another day and another challenge. Yesterday the problem was snow covered crevasses. Today the lack of snow was the biggest problem. The snow gave Rune enough friction to guide the sled between the crevasses, but today he has been walking on slippery blue ice. In between the blue ice, the glacier is covered with rocks, holes, heights, recessions, crevasses and small hills. It is like walking in a maze. Rune had to turn back and try a different path 4 times. But in spite of the extremely difficult terrain, Rune managed to cover a distance of 20 kilometres. Rune is hoping for a better, and a little less challenging, day tomorrow.
Day 83 – 16 kilometres (4655) (24.01.2006)
The most terrifying day! Rune has literally been walking on the edge today. The area is nothing but snow covered crevasses. He had to cross a snow river in the middle of the Priestley Glacier to get away from all the crevasses. He only covered 16 kilometres, but it was a nerve-wrecking 16 kilometres. He had hoped to cover a longer distance, but decided to make camp in a nice area east of Climan Peak. The terrain ahead looks better, but it is very difficult to se the snow covered crevasses. Even if the area ahead is extremely dangerous, Rune is looking forward to the challenge. And every day, Rune is getting a little bit closer to the goal, and that is off course very motivating. But he has to be careful and stay sharp!
Day 82 – changing day schedule (23.01.2006)
New day / night schedule! Even if the sun is still shining 24 hours in Antarctica, the afternoon is getting very cold. The season is changing towards winter, and coldest time of day is approximately the time Rune usually makes camp. In the last couple of days the temperature has been a freezing -30 to 35 C. During the night, the temperature is 7 to 8 C warmer. To take advantage of the warmer nights, Rune has decided to change his schedule and sleep during the day and ski during the night. Changing the day rhythm has not been easy, and Rune has spent a day and a half in the tent to get used to the new daily schedule. He will start skiing tonight around 20.00 CET, if the sight improves. No voice message today.
Day 81 – 28 kilometres (4639) (22.01.2006)
Crevasses and more crevasses! Rune has just started the descend of the Priestley Glacier. There are crevasses are all around him, but most of them are covered under the snow. The good thing with the snow is that most of the crevasses are crossable. The bad thing is that it that it is hard to know which ones that are not! But there is no turning back, and Rune is getting closer to Terra Nova. He covered a distance of 28 kilometres today, 160 kilometres to go!
Day 80 – 204 kilometres (4611) (21.01.2006)
A fantastic day! From trouble to happiness! Rune kited for 204 kilometres today, and finally saw the Trans Antarctic Mountains. This is what he has been working for the last four years. This is a dream coming trough for Rune and he told me on the phone earlier today, that he cried a few tears as he kited towards the mountains. A long and hard expedition is coming to en end. Rune has covered 4600 kilometres and has only 200 kilometres left to Terra Nova. The last leg is the worst and most dangerous, but the goal is in sight. Today is a day of happiness and celebration!
Day 79 – Trouble (20.01.2006)
One ski left! Rune is in trouble! Yesterday he lost one of the skies during kiting.
Rune has brought two pair of skies, one pair for kiting and one pair for walking. When he is kiting the walking skies is strapped on the sled. During kiting on all the sastrugi, one of the skies has fallen off the sledge. The walking skies are extremely important in the descent of the glacier. Glaciers are full of crevasses, often hidden under thin snow bridges. Using the skies is vital to prevent falling trough the snow bridges. Rune has a backup route down to the coast, but that involves climbing over a mountain, and that will be much harder and much more time consuming. Rune will make the route decision after he reaches the top of the glacier.
Day 78 – Bad weather (19.01.2006)
Whiteout, but improving! Rune spent the day in the tent today, as the weather is still not suitable for kiting. Rune has used the day to study the detail maps of the Priestly Glacier, which is now only 220 kilometres away. During the day, the weather has improved, and we just saw on the Argos transmitter that he has started the last leg towards the top of the glacier. Depending on the wind speed and direction, Rune will reach the Priestley glacier in one or two days.
Day 77 – Resting (18.01.2006)
Trouble with the right knee! Rune woke up today with severe pain in the right knee, and decided to stay in the tent for a while and let the knee heal. During this time the weather changed to the worse and it started to snow. The wind also changed direction and the result was whiteout. The air is also moister and the changing weather is a good indication that Rune is getting closer to the coast. Not only closer to the goal, but also closer to the glaciers and its capricious crevasses.
Day 76 – 211 kilometres (4407) (17.01.2006)
New personal record – again! Rune got the first proof that he is getting close to the coast.
Today he felt he could the smell of the ocean, and that boosted his motivation. He pushed on, hoping to get a glimpse of the Trans Antarctic Mountains, and kited 211 kilometres during the day. That is a fantastic achievement in a terrain that Rune describes as the worst sastrugi he has ever seen. Kiting in 25 to 30 km/h in this sastrugi is very hard on the knees, and Rune stopped after 211 kilometres as he felt a stinging pain in his right knee. He wanted to push on, but decided to call it a day to prevent any injuries. The supplies are starting to run out, and Rune drank his last cup of coffee yesterday. Hi still has enough food and fuel, but running out of coffee is nothing less than a small disaster for Rune.
Day 75 – 100 kilometres(4196) (16.01.2006)
Light breeze! A weather front came in late last night and the weather changed in Runes favour. With good sight and a light breeze Rune was able to Kite for 100 kilometres. But Rune is hoping for a little more wind today, as he had to kick start the kite yesterday by running. There was no wind at ground level, but in an altitude of 40-50 meters above ground, the wind was good for kiting. Rune still has trouble with his feet, and has to warm them up during the day, and at night in the tent. The process of warming up the feet is very painful, but necessary. But Rune is optimistic and hopes to reach the Trans Antarctic Mountains within 3-4 days.
Day 74 – 78 kilometres (4096) (15.01.2006)
Changing weather! Runes day started perfect with good, steady wind and beautiful weather. He broke camp and kited towards Terra Nova, but during the day, the weather changed. A thick fog emerged and the sun disappeared. Rune kept going for a while, but as the wind direction changed, he called it a day. It is extremely cold, and since Rune suffers from a previous frost-bite, he tries to avoid getting to cold on his feet. In despite of the changing weather, Rune covered 78 kilometres today. Rune is getting closer to the coats and the Trans Antarctic Mountains, and hopes that he will soon get them in sight.
Day 73 – 92 kilometres (4018) (14.01.2006)
4000 kilometres! After several days of whiteout, Rune is again moving North. He made 92 kilometres today, and has in total covered more than 4000 kilometres. He is getting closer to his goal, but still he is 6-700 kilometres (equals the distance from Fritjof Nansen’s first crossing of Greenland) from his goal Terra Nova Bay.
Day 72 – 46 kilometres (3926) (13.01.2006)
Day 71 – Still whiteout (12.01.2006)
Day 70 – Whiteout (11.01.2006)
Day 69 – Resting (10.01.2006)
A good days rest! Rune has during the past ten days kited more than 1400 kilometres. He has broken his own personal distance record three times. He has broken the world solo and unsupported distance record and taken the world record for longest unsupported ski-trek in history. He is way ahead of schedule and is getting close to his goal to become the first and only to ski across the North Pole and South Pole unsupported. Today he decided that he deserved a good days rest and stayed in the tent to recharge his human batteries.
Day 68 – 104 kilometres (3880) (09.01.2006)
New world record ! Today at 08.36 CET Rune kited past the position 77.27S, 135.50E and took back the world record. Rune is now the world record holder for the longest unsupported ski-trek in history! In total Rune kited 104 kilometres today, and made an early stop to celebrate, after only four hours of kiting.
Day 67 – 182 kilometres (3776) (08.01.2006)
New personal record – again! Rune covered 182 kilometres today, breaking his personal record for the second day in row. He has now covered 3776 kilometres in total, and is only 24 kilometres from the world record! Rune will most likely be the new world record holder after tomorrow. Stay tuned!
Day 66 – 180 kilometres (3594) (07.01.2006)
New personal record! It does not seem that the frost-bite can stop the determined polar explorer Rune. Today he broke his own personal day distance record and also the expedition daily distance record by covering 180 kilometres in one day! During the last week Rune has covered a distance of 1025 kilometres. A daily distance of more than 146 kilometres, in average!
Day 65 – 140 kilometres(3414) (06.01.2006) FROSTBITE!
Frost-bite! Rune has for some time had trouble with keeping his feet warm, and yesterday
the frost-bite was a fact. The frost-bite is on his toes on both feet. As for now the frost-bite is only in the skin or on the surface of the toes. Rune has to be very careful on the rest of the expedition, to prevent further damage. Terminating the expedition is no option, Rune continues! The distance today: 140 kilometres. He has now covered more than 3400 kilometres in total, and is only 400 kilometres from taking the world record!
Day 64 – 152 kilometres (3274) (05.01.2006)
Second longest daily distance! The winds are perfect, but the 70-80 cm sastrugi with relatively short wavelength makes kiting difficult, and far from ideal. Anyway Rune covered a distance of 152 kilometres today, the second longest distance on the expedition. During the last week Rune has covered more than 130 kilometres a day on average. This is quite extraordinary after being out more than 60 days. Rune is, of course, very happy with the progress, and is way ahead of schedule.
Day 63 – 137 kilometres (3122) (04.01.2006)
New personal record! Rune broke another record today, but this time it was his own.
Rune crossed Greenland lengthways in 1996 together with Torry Larsen. The total distance on this expedition was 2940 kilometres. Rune kited for 137 kilometres today, and passed 3000 kilometres setting a new personal record. The terrain is extremely difficult with short wavelength sastrugi. This makes kiting very challenging and dangerous. A moment of inattention can make you loose balance and fall. In the afternoon the wind increased and Rune kited with a speed of 20-25 km/h. A fall at this speed could result in a prematurely end of the expedition.
Day 62 – 146 kilometres (2985) (03.01.2006)
Longest solo ski expedition! At 10.39 GMT Rune broke Børge Ousland’s solo ski record from 1997, as he at the time had covered 2845 kilometres. Rune kept on for several hours more, and made a total distance of 140 kilometres today. But Rune is aiming for more. The next record is 821 kilometres further North, at 3800 kilometres. The longest ski expedition in distance is held by the Norwegian explorers Sønneland and Bae. If Rune is able to keep his current daily distances the world record is only 5 to 6 days ahead.
Day 61 – 138 kilometres (2839) (02.01.2006)
6 km short! Rune had another super day, and made another 138 kilometres. But the day was not without trouble. First the sled was knocked over in the sastrugi, and then a few hours later the kite handle rope was torn off. Rune felt that he could continue for another 50 kilometres, but when the kite handle rope was cut for the second time, he called it a day. The irony is that Rune made camp only 6 kilometres short of Børge Ousland’s longest solo ski trek record. Ousland skied 2845 kilometres across Antarctica alone and unsupported in 1996 – 97. At the time, the longest ski expedition in distance covered. The current record is held by Eirik Sønneland and Rolf Bae, who skied 3800 kilometres across Antarctica in 2000 – 2001. One of Runes goals is to break this record during his expedition!
Day 60 – 132 kilometres (2701) (01.01.2006)
Back on the 85th! The wind was perfect today, and Rune covered a distance of 132 kilometres.
With this great distance Rune has reached the 85ºS again, but on the opposite side of the pole. He is now out of the constant changing wind zone, and expect more stable winds along the 120ºE direction. Rune planes to continue in this direction until the 80ºS, before turning more East towards the Terra Nova Bay. The reason is that Rune tries to avoid the Trans Antarctic Mountains, where the winds are less stable and the glaciers increases the risk of crevasses.
Day 59 – 98 kilometres (2569) (31.12.2005)
Happy New Year! Rune had a great day today, with wind in a good direction. Rune covered a distance of 98 kilometres, and has covered a total distance of 2569 kilometres. Another 1000 kilometres and Rune is again the world record holder. Happy New Year
Day 58 – No wind (30.12.2005)
No wind! Rune stayed in the tent today, waiting for the winds. He is ahead of schedule, and feels that he can afford staying in the tent, when the wind is absent.
Rune wishes you all a Happy New Year! (The voice message below is in English today.)
Day 57 – 6 kilometres (2471) (29.12.2005)
Silence! Rune got up early today, eager to get further North, but after 3 hours and 6 kilometres covered, the wind was gone. He made camp, but suddenly felt that his tent was somehow misplaced. Everything else is white. There is nothing but the horizon to be seen in any directions, and you can almost feel the silence. It is magnificent!
Day 56 – 44 kilometres (2465) (28.12.2005)
Good day! Rune had a fine day today, covering a distance of 44 kilometres. Rune had hoped for a longer distance, but the winds have been very capricious today. It is almost as if there is a lot of turbulence in the air. The wind direction changes with the altitude, making kiting very hard.
Day 55 – 139 kilometres (2421) (27.12.2005)
Back on track! Finely the sun broke trough the clouds and the wind speed increased. Rune had a fantastic day, covering a very good distance of 139 kilometres. Rune is very satisfied with today’s distance, and especially that he has made it out of the wind free zone. Hopefully the wind will be this stable for several days. The area Rune is in now is a very cold area with expected temperatures below – -40 to -50 C. Rune has had problems with cold feet all day, and has to pay special attention to this, to prevent frostbite. But, Rune is back on track and approximately on schedule. He very motivated and is hunting for the world record.
Day 54 – Whiteout (26.12.2005)
Still whiteout! Rune spent another day in the tent, writing his diary and maintaining his gear, due to the whiteout. The picture shows the modification of the MP3 player. Rune is empty for AAA batteries, and has to use wires to connect AA batteries to the player. Rune is eager to continue, but he has to wait out the whiteout. Hoping for a windy and sunny day, tomorrow!
Day 53 – resting (25.12.2005)
Whiteout!Rune is at the same position as yesterday. The wind is gone, and it is snowing. The result is a total whiteout, making it very hard to move on. The whiteout erases the contrast between the ground and horizon, and that influences your balance. You fall all the time, and keeping a strait line is difficult. The snow and clouds also shades the sun, and makes it very cold. Rune stayed in the tent today, and is hoping for a windy day tomorrow.
Day 52 – 24 kilometres (2282) (24.12.2005)
Christmas Eve! Rune celebrated Christmas today by pulling the sledge for 24 kilometres.
He is now at an altitude of 2940 meters and has put 80 kilometres between him and the South Pole. The wind in this area is constantly changing, so using the kite is almost impossible. Tonight, Rune is celebrating Christmas alone in his tent. He has put up some Christmas tree decorations and listened to his only Christmas Song – White Christmas. Later he will open his presents and celebrate the day with a cigar.
Day 51 – 25 kilometres (2258) (23.12.2005)
Merry Christmas! Rune covered 25 kilometres today, and is quite happy with that. He spent the whole day thinking about Christmas, and as you can se on the photo he is ready to start opening presents. Rune wishes you all a Merry Christmas! Rune left a message in English today, please click the link below to hear it.
Day 50 – 26 kilometres (2233) (22.12.2005)
Changing winds A loud noise woke Rune up this morning, and remembering that he had made camp in the caterpillars’ snow track to the South Pole, he got out of the tent in a hurry. Luckily, there were no caterpillars in sight, and he turned around and saw a Hercules transport plane go in for landing at the pole. The plain came inn with an altitude of maximum 50 meters above his camp and you can imagine the noise the four engines propel transport made. The result was an early morning start for Rune, but due to changing winds the distance covered was “only” 26 kilometres.
Day 49 – resting (21.12.2005)
Resting at the South Pole. Rune stayed in the tent today, spending the day recovering and charging his human batteries. His view from the camp is fantastic, with the Amundsen Scott base in the horizon. The only sign of civilization for almost 50 days. Rune is eager to continue his journey north, and is hoping for more wind tomorrow. Rumours say that a convoy of tracked vehicles is heading for the South Pole from McMurdo and Rune is a bit worried because his camp is in the middle of the snow track into the South Pole.
Day 47 – 103 kilometres (2123) (19.12.2005)
One day left? Rune covered 103 kilometres today, and is getting closer and closer to the waypoint called the South Pole. After today’s effort Rune has only 77 kilometres left to the pole, and he is hoping to reach the pole tomorrow. Rune is filming the expedition, and tries to film a little every day, and certainly tries to capture every special event during the journey. The film will be produced by KEO film, the same company that produced “The Great Race” this spring, recreating the historic race between Amundsen and Scott 1911/1912.
Day 46 – 139 kilometres (2020) (18.12.2005)
A great day! Rune had a fantastic day today! He started the day with perfect wind and a lot of sastrugi. During the day, the height of the sastrugi decreased and Rune could increase his speed. Rune covered 139 kilometres, his second best distance during a day on the expedition. He has now covered more than 2000 kilometres and has only 180 kilometres left to the pole.
Day 45 – 95 kilometres (1859) (17.12.2005)
Wind at least After two days of waiting, the wind speed finally increased and Rune could once again unpack his kite. The terrain was terrible with two meters tall sastrugi almost all day, but Rune managed to cover 95 kilometres during a long tough day. The problem with this sastrugi is the long wavelength. Rune has to keep an extra eye on his ski tips to prevent them from digging into the sastrugi and break. In addition to the ski tips, Rune has to watch the kite and the sledge constantly during the day. Finally wind, but a hard days work.
Day 44 – Still no wind (1764) (16.12.2005)
Still no wind Still no wind for Rune, but the weather forecast looks very positive. If the forecast is correct, Rune will have 6-8 meters per second wind tomorrow in perfect direction. Yesterday, Rune decided to change his underwear. He has used the same pair of underwear for 43 days, and after this time the underwear has to be disposed as dangerous goods. So Rune dressed up in his protective clothes and placed the underwear together with the used lithium batteries and other dangerous stuff.
Day 43 – No winds (1764) (15.12.2005)
Still no winds Rune never broke camp today. The wind started as a light breeze directly from south, and kept changing during the day, but never in a direction good for kiting. Rune spent the time daydreaming about his new farm, which he and his girlfriend are going to buy, when Rune returns from Antarctica. Today’s photo shows a sketch of the new farm house.
Day 42 – 68 kilometres (1764) (14.12.2005)
Celebrating Amundsen The day started with fair winds, and Rune kited for several hours. During the day, the wind speed decreased and around midday, the wind disappeared totally, and Rune decided to call it a day. He had covered 68 kilometres, and on this day exactly 94 years after Amundsen reached the South Pole in a historic first successful expedition, he decided to make camp and celebrate the 94 anniversary of Amundsen and his team.
Day 41 – 120 kilometres (1695) (13.12.2005)
Another great day The wind speed increased during the night, and when Rune woke up he had a steady 5-6 m/s wind in good direction. He packed his home into the sledge, and got the kite into the sky. Then the wind disappeared and the kite slowly descended to the ground. Rune, eager to cover some kilometres after a few days without movement, was about to start to pull the sledge manually, as the winds again started to increase. Luckily the wind maintained its speed during the day, and Rune was able to cover a distance of 120 kilometres.
Day 40 – Resting (1575) (12.12.2005)
No wind! Another day in the tent for Rune. The steady high pressure over the inaccessible pole usually creates a very stable wind along Runes path, but not today. The wind was steady 1-2 meters per second from the south, making kiting south impossible. Instead Rune spent the day creating his own Antarctic version of < Runzilla >. A solo expedition is a solo expedition, and you do not have any more fun, than what you create yourself! Hoping for a windy day tomorrow!
Day 39 – 85 kilometres (1575) (11.12.2005)
Changing wind! Rune covered a good distance of 85 kilometres today. The terrain has been very difficult, with a lot of sastrugi and fluctuating winds. This makes kiting very hard, and Rune has to constantly watch his kite and sledge. In addition to the sastrugi, the winds kept changing in both speed and direction, and Rune had to change kite several times. This is time consuming and frustrating, as changing the kite takes about 25 to 30 minutes of good sailing time. But Rune is very happy with 85 kilometres and is still ahead of schedule.
Day 38 – 37 kilometres (1490) (10.12.2005)
Day 37 – 23 kilometres (1467) (09.12.2005)
Day 36 – 20 kilometres (1444) (08.12.2005)
Almost no wind! Today’s distance of 20 kilometres feels short compared with the distances covered lately, but 20 kilometres is 20 kilometres closer to the goal, and Rune is very satisfied with his progress so far. Today’s picture shows the Argos transmitter, which is Runes loyal companion on the expedition. The Argos beacon sends us an update via satellite approximately every hour telling us where Rune is, and his status. It has a manual switch, which Rune can use to send pre coded messages. The message we normally receive, and the one we like best is the message indicating < Everything OK, on move >. In addition we receive additional information, such as the temperature and altitude.
Day 35 – 130 kilometres (1424) (07.12.2005)
A fantastic day! This time of the year, the sun is always shining in Antarctica, and Rune had a fantastic day. Not to cold and perfect wind for kiting. Distance today: 130 kilometres. Rune kept thinking of all his friends and family in Norway, who are busy preparing everything for Christmas. Especially the Christmas food came in focus as Rune ate his chocolate and nuts lunch for the 35th day in row!
Day 34 – 83 kilometres (1294) (06.12.2005)
A beautiful day! Rune woke up to a beautiful day, with sunshine and a light breeze. He mounted his largest kite with 90 metres line and set of south. He kited in an altitude of 2.485 meters, and covered a distance of 83 kilometres. Rune is very happy with today’s effort, and he managed to keep the focus on positive thoughts and memories. This is very important, since the loneliness and monotone landscape can get depressing. But getting depressed is not part of Runes nature and he always manages to focus on the positive, and create positive day dreams. That’s probably one of the most important qualifications for being a successful polar explorer.
Day 33 – Rest day (1211) (05.12.2005)
A good days rest! Rune spent today resting. He has been on the move more than four weeks now, and is way ahead of schedule. His initial plan was to reach the South Pole the 24th of December, Christmas Eve, but with the current daily distances, Rune figures he will reach the South Pole in 10 to 12 days.
Day 32 – 73 kilometres (1211) (04.12.2005)
A great day! Rune covered a distance of 73 kilometres today. The weather was beautiful, warm (only -22ºC) and the wind blew a light breeze in perfect direction for kiting. Tonight Rune celebrated the 5 years anniversary for meeting his girlfriend Aina with a cigar and a present. The present contained, among other things, some spicy dried meat, that tasted excellent. A great day in Antarctica!
Day 31 – 124 kilometres (1138) (03.12.2005)
Day 30 – 150 kilometres (1014) (02.12.2005)
Day 29 – 41 kilometres (864) (01.12.2005)
Day 28 – 107 kilometres (823) (30.11.2005)
Day 27 – 162 Kilometres (716) (29.11.2005)
New distance record! Rune had another great day today. In fact, the best day so far. He covered an amazing 162 kilometres in just 8 hours of kiting. The only reason why he stopped was that the wind calmed. He modified his boots yesterdays, and added isolation both inside and outside the boots. In addition he wore his down pants and an extra pair of woollen socks. The result was warm feet and a great distance covered!
Day 26 – 71 Kilometres (554) (28.11.2005)
Cold feet! Imagine that you wake up in the morning, and the temperature is -30ºC. You start the day by crawling out of your +37.5ºC sleeping bag. That is temperature difference of 67.5ºC! The next thing you do is to try to put your 37.5ºC feet into your -30ºC frozen boots. Then you make coffee! The next 30 minutes your body tries to warm your clothes up to normal body temperature. That is Runes morning routine every day for a hundred days. During the day Rune dances over the ice. All the time he has to move his toes inside the boots. If not, the frostbite is a fact. Today it was so cold that Rune had to stop every hour to warm up his feet to prevent a fatal frostbite. Fatal, not to his life perhaps, but to the continuing of the expedition.
Day 25 – 0 Kilometres (483) (27.11.2005)
No wind, no kiting! Rune broke camp twice today, trying to get his kite up in the sky. The wind on the ground was only 1-2 m/s, but usually the wind is stronger 60-70 meters above ground. To get the kite up, Rune has to run with the kite behind him, to make it fly. Running in 30-40 cm of snow in an altitude of 3200 meters is hard work, and you quickly loose your breath. After the second try, Rune made it a day, and settled for another day in the tent.
Day 24 – Resting (483) (26.11.2005)
A good days rest! Rune spent today resting in the tent. He has been on the move three weeks now, and is ahead of schedule. Yesterdays 100 kilometres made Rune realize that he could afford a days rest and he spent the day maintaining his body and equipment. Rune is planning to write a book after the expedition in addition to the film he is making. He uses his diary to keep record of daily happenings and thoughts, and he also takes a lot of pictures. This together makes the draft for the new expedition book.
Day 23 – 100 Kilometres (483) (25.11.2005)
Another great day! Rune celebrated the Norwegian Royal Family’s 100 years anniversary by kiting exactly 100 kilometres today. He kept checking his GPS, and as he had covered 100 kilometres, and sat a new daily distance record, he stopped in honour of the Royal Family.
Day 22 – 76 Kilometres (383) (24.11.2005)
New distance record Rune had a great day today and beat his old distance record. The new record is 73 kilometres, set in light breeze using the big kite. Rune is hoping for even more wind, and feels that he is capable of both more speed and distance. Today’s picture shows Runes private celebration of the one hundred year anniversary for the arrival of the Royal Family in Norway.
Day 21 – 23 Kilometres (307) (23.11.2005)
Waiting for fair wind. Rune is, according to all, wind maps of Antarctica supposed to be in the centre of a weather zone with stable, fair wind. But yesterday the wind was only a light breeze, which is not enough to pull both Rune and the sled. Thus Rune has to ski while using the kite. A little more wind, and the daily distance is ten times today’s distance. Rune has reached an altitude of 3170 meters, and covered a distance of 23 kilometres today. He is still ahead of schedule, but it is a long expedition, and a god day of kiting would really help on the distance.
Day 20 – 13 kilometres (284) (22.11.2005)
Sled problems again! The runner on the sled keeps falling of, so Rune decided that today, he would fix it for the last time in this expedition.
He drilled holes right trough the runner and trough the underlying aluminium runner support and the sled. He then bolted everything together with several long carriage bolts. Rune has reached an altitude of 3100 meters and made a distance of 13 kilometres today. A good distance, since he spent a larger part of the day fixing the sled.
Day 19 – 35 kilometres (271) (21.11.2005)
It is very cold in Antarctica. Rune is making good progress, 35 more kilometres today, but it is freezing cold. During the day, as Rune is kiting, he is not able to move his feet very much. He is extremely cold on his feet, and is constantly worried about frostbites. He tries to move his toes all the time to fight the cold, but still he is forced to stop now and then to warm up his feet. Tonight he has tried to put more isolation into his ski boots, hoping that will make it a little better. Rune is doing research on his expedition, and is taking blood samples twice a week. The research project is in cooperation with Norwegian Navy, US Navy and University of Tromsø.
Day 18 – 37 kilometres (236) (20.11.2005)
Another good day in Antarctica. The weather is nice, the scenery is beautiful, and Rune is ahead of schedule. He is hoping to pass the 73S tomorrow, and that has been the goal for the last two weeks. After 73S he leaves the coast weather zone behind him, and enters inland of Antarctica. This means a new weather zone, with more stable winds, and Rune is hoping to increase the daily distances.
Day 17 – 42 kilomtres (194) (19.11.2005)
Perfect wind conditions today and Rune sat a new distance record for the expedition. He made 42 kilometres and has reached a height of 3000 meters. Unfortunately Rune still has trouble with one of the runners on the sledge, and had to stop to repair it again today. Hopefully this time it will last.
Day 16 – 11 kilometres (152) (18.11.2005)
The wind calmed to a light breeze this morning and Rune was able to repair the sledge. He sat off, but after about two hours the runner loosened again. He repaired it again, and this time bolted it to the frame of the sledge. This repair lasted during the day, and it seems to hold for now. Hopefully it will hold for the rest of the expedition, but Rune has to check constantly. If he looses the runner during sailing it is probably lost for ever. Rune has now climbed to 2400 meters, and he skied 11 kilometres today. He has now skied passed the last mountain and ahead of him is the plateau. Hopefully the wind will give him a good distance tomorrow.
Day 15 – 12 kilometres (141) (17.11.2005)
Rune is in trouble. He was kiting in strong wind and making a good progress as the sledge tipped over,
and one of the runners on the sledge was torn off. The wind is still strong and Rune is not able to repair the sledge today, because of the wind. In spite of the accident with the sledge Rune covered 12 kilometres today and has reached a height of 2300 meters. The good news is that he has left glaciers and crevasses behind him. The plateau is ahead and Rune will most probably be able to use the kites and cover longer distances every day.
Day 14 – 20 kilometres (129) (16.11.2005)
The day started just as tough as yesterday ended, but during the day the wind speed increased and Rune was able to use the kites for a couple of hours. Unluckily the wind kept increasing, and after a while he had to make camp, because the wind exceeded 15M/s. In total Rune made 20 kilometres today, and have reached a height of 2000 meters. Rune checked the maps tonight, and he hopes to pass the last mountains tomorrow. Then he will be on the plateau, and has hopefully left most of the dangerous crevasses behind him. Today’s picture shows what the dentist forgot in Runes mouth after removing the wisdom teeth. It is some kind anti bacterial padding that should have been removed weeks ago.
Communication is restored (15.11.2005)
The Iridium problem is sorted out, and Rune is able to send images again. Today’s image shows just how close Rune was to disaster on Saturday. The sledge is in the opening of the crevasse, and Rune has just managed to anchor the sledge. Under the small opening in the snow bridge, there is huge spacious cave. The cavity is least 50 meters deep and several meters wide. Everything in the photo is part of the snow bridge, and Rune is standing right on top of it, unloading the sledge to get it up from the crevasse.
Day 13 – 9 kilometres (109) (15.11.2005)
A couple of days with precipitation have left a snowy cover on the Somoveken glacier. The snow increases the friction between the sledge and the surface, and makes the sledge feel even heavier. In absence of wind, Rune had a sweat dripping day. In total he covered 9 Kilometres in 8 hours. Rune is posing on today’s picture, showing the equipment for transmitting images. He is holding a Motorola Iridium phone in his right hand and a HP PDA in his left. To send an image he stores it to the PDA, connects to the Internet with the phone, and transmits the image using the ‘Contact 3.0’ software from ThePoles.com.
Day 12 – 4 kilometres (100) (14.11.2005)
Rune woke up this morning to a complete whiteout. He decided that it was too hazardous to ski between the crevasses in blind, so he settled for a day of resting. During the day the weather improved, and Rune got restless in the tent and strapped on his gear. A few hours of work paid off and he made 4 kilometres on his resting day. We still have trouble getting an internet connection to send over daily pictures. This is a problem in the Iridium system, and is currently affecting more than 10 expeditions using this system. Hopefully the Iridium guys sort the problem out in the next few days.
Day 11 – 20 kilometres (96) (13.11.2005)
Yesterday’s nightmare was fortunately, mostly, over today. The terrain was difficult, but not as dangerous as yesterday. Big crevasses are easier to spot than small crevasses, and Rune was able to pass beside most of them. A few crevasses were so big, that he was not able to pass them, so he had to ski straight over them on thin snow bridges. Thrilling, but dangerous! The wind speed changed from zero to 12-15 m/s today, and Rune could make use of the kites a lot. In total he covered a distance of 20 kilometres. We have a problem with transmitting pictures, but hopes that we are able to fix this in a day or two.
Day 10 – 11 kilometres (76) (12.11.2005)
The expedition almost ended with disaster early this morning, as Runes sledge slid down into a crevasse.
The weight of the sledge almost pulled Rune with it, but he managed to anchor himself with his skis in the last second. Rune was pretty shaky as he struggled to get his sledge back up. He decided to be extra cautious in the hours to come, and care less of the distance covered. At the end of the day, he anyway found that he had covered 11 kilometres, and that he had passed the most dangerous area.
Day 9 – 10 kilometres (65) (11.11.2005)
Rune covered a distance of 10 kilometres today. The first 4 hours was really tough, as the sledge dug down in the snow, and the slope was pebbly. Rune was afraid that the pebbles could damage the sledge, but at tonight’s sledge inspections the sledge was luckily unharmed. The last 4 hours were better as he entered an area with sastrugi. This makes pulling the sledge easier, since there is less friction. The area ahead is very steep, and covered with dangerous crevasses. Unfortunately the only route south is directly trough this area, so tomorrow will be a thrilling day.
Day 8 – 27 kilometres (55) (10.11.2005)
A Flying start in Antarctica today. This morning the wind was blowing Runes way, and he could use the kite for the first time. He literally got a flying start as the kite lifted him of the ground. The sledge held him back, and he hit the ground hard, loosing his skies. After this rough start the wind was relatively stable between 3-6 m/s, helping Rune to cover the longest distance so far on the expedition, 27 kilometres in total.
Day 7 – 9 kilometres (28) (09.11.2005)
Rune had a fine day in Antarctica today. The sun kept shining and the temperature was comfortable – 5 Celsius. The scenery is fabulous, with beautiful mountain peeks in the horizon. Rune is in a good mood and sounded quite happy on the phone tonight. He celebrated his first week in Antarctica with a cigarette and a cup of coffee in the tent. A good day!
Day 6 – 9 kilometres (19) (08.11.2005)
A warm day in Antarctica! The sun was shining all day today and with only -3 Celsius and no wind, Rune had a warm and beautiful day. The sledge is still heavy and the terrain is steep, but Rune keeps the sprit up, and moving steadily south. He made 9 kilometres today in 7 hours. Not as much as Rune had expected before he started, but he hopes that the wind will blow his way tomorrow. Rune could increase the work hours to make up for the short distances, but he has decided to take it easy in the beginning to avoid any strain injury.
Day 5 – 5 kilometres (10) (07.11.2005)
Another hard day for Rune, but much better than yesterday. Total distance of 9 kilometers was covered in about 7 hours today. The sledge is very heavy, weighting more than 180 KG. The terrain is still very steep, and constant headwind prevents him of using the sails. The area he is in at the moment is the Norwegian region, and he has made camp between the very Norwegian names ‘Linge toppen’ and ‘Per, Pål and Askeladden heights”. This makes everything feel almost like home, Rune reports from his tent.
Day 4 – Expedition start! – 5 kilometres (06.11.2005)
The weather was much better today, and Rune could finally start The Longest March.
The area is much steeper than it looks on the photo, and headwind preventing him of using the kites. Rune had to drop down on all four several times just to advance a few inches. In spite of the heavy sledge and poor wind direction, Rune managed to cover a distance of 5 km, and is very pleased that he at last could start the expedition. Now he is on his own for xxx days. There is only one way home and that is across the continent.
Day 2 – 3 (05.11.2005)
Due to bad weather and low visibility, Rune is still in Novo. In the first part of the expedition Rune has to pass several deceitful glaciers covered with crevasses.
Some of the crevasses are covered with thin snow bridges, and are difficult to spot. Rune is not taking any chances and is postponing the expedition until tomorrow, awaiting better weather. The weather forecast for tomorrow is slightly better, with less precipitation, which hopefully will improve the visibility.
Day 1 (03.11.2005)
Rune landed in Antarctica ahead of schedule this morning, and has spent the day preparing the sledge, loading all the equipment and test communications. He also had time to recon the area around the base, and take a closer look at the sector towards the South Pole. The weather was beautiful today with a clear sky, – 18C and perfect wind for kiting. He was almost tempted to start skiing today, buy reconsidered as he needed to do some more equipment testing and modify a few details on the equipment before departure. The wheatear forecast for tomorrow is not as good as today, but Rune will the first night in Antarctica in his tent tonight and most likely start the journey morning.
Flying to Antarctica tonight (02.11.2005)
God news! After a few hectic days, with several challenges and complications, Rune is on his way to Antarctica. Tonight at 01.00 the Russian flight crew is flying Rune into the Novolasarevskaja science station in Queen Maud’s land. The flight is only 6 hours, and if the weather remains good, he will be landing at about 07.00 Thursday morning. Rune will spend Thursday at the Novo station for the final preparations. Repacking the equipment into a 180 Kg sledge, and perform the final communication checks. Hopefully the journey south, toward the pole, can start Friday morning.
Shorts to the Antarctic (01.11.2005)
Rune is probably going to be the first person in history to travel to Antarctica wearing only shorts and t-shirt. The reason is that the Equipment containing his warm clothes is kept in the inaccessible transit/cargo area. He was supposed to be given permission to enter this area to repack his gear for the flight to Antarctica, but now the customs in Cape Town has changed their minds. We are pulling some strings to get access to the equipment, but for now Rune is running around in Cape Town shopping for warm clothes.
Not so good news! Last week Rune had to extract two wisdom teeth, to prevent them to cause him trouble on the expedition. Even if the surgery was successful, it seems that Rune suffers from an inflammation in the area of the extraction. He is now being medicated for the inflammation, but is slightly reduced on these last, but very important days before the departure. Rune says that the inflammation probably will ease off in a few days. Tomorrow the expedition gear, sent by cargo, arrives and the repacking for the Antarctic flight can begin.
Arrived in Cape Town (30.10.2005)
Rune & Aina arrived in Cape Town this morning, and have checked into the hotel after a long flight. They will have some time off, before starting to check and prepare the equipment. In the hectic days before departure from Oslo, a few tasks were saved for Cape Town. Among these the assembly of the Kites and ski sail. Rune has chosen to use 60 and 90 meters of line on the kites, and hopefully he finds the space needed for the assembly. There is a long peer on the beach of Cape Town, which might be suitable.
Flight to Cape Town (29.10.2005)
Rune and Aina left for Cape Town today. Most of the equipment was sent earlier this week by cargos, and will hopefully turn up ok on Monday. Now Rune and Aina are hoping for a few relaxing days, after a relatively hectic time, before starting on The Longest March. If the weather is good, Rune will be leaving for the Novo airstrip in Antarctica Thursday. But before departure Rune will do a final equipment check and control the sledge and the rest of the equipment.
Final preparations (28.10.2005)
The Amundsen film project ended in mid July, and it has been a few very busy months to finalize the preparations for The Longest March. An amazing amount of work has been done in this short time, thanks to a fantastic support team and many helpful people. Most of the gear is now at hand, and we are testing all the equipment to make sure it is all working properly. Tomorrow Rune and Aina leaves for Cape Town, South Africa for the final preparations.