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A ski tour to the North Pole

The Museum of the Yacht Apostol Andrey

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To the North Pole during polar night

 

Polar Passage `2000

Third circumnavigation of
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Korean team in the Bering Strait

Following in Dr. Cooks tracks

Expedition of Prince Albert II to the North Pole

25 years together with the North Pole

Great Russian Race

Second circumnavigation of the yacht Apostol Andrey

First circumnavigation of
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Siberia Expedition

Ascent of Mt. McKinley

Eduard Tolls Treasure

Dezhnev, Pronchishchev, Lassenius

Bering Strait

Mystery of Lassenius

Pronchishchevs Land

Challenging Greenland

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Expedition of Gilles Elkaim

Dmitry Shparo

 

Matvey Shparo

 

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Arctic and Antarctic expeditionary centre Polus
Arctic and Antarctic expeditionary centre Polus
Arctic and Antarctic expeditionary centre Polus

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Organization of expeditions and varrious adventurous projects


Ski Bridge ExpeditionThe Trilogy...RouteHistorySponsors
Russian ver.• Contact usHome pageGallery new!

SKI BRIDGE EXPEDITION
the first ever ski crossing of the Bering Strait

This Strait unites the Oceans and is the border between continents and countries. Citizens of both sides of the Strait sail over it by boats. In 1979 Arno de Rossney, a Frenchman, crossed the Bering Strait using a hang glider. In 1987 Lynn Cox, a famous American sportswoman, swam from Kruzenshtern island to Ratmanov island.

Pilots were flying from Chukotka to Alaska and back by airplanes, helicopters and hang gliders. But till the present moment not a single person have managed to cross the Strait on ice by ski or on foot neither from Russia nor from the USA. Though numerous attempts have been undertaken. Only during the last five years the expeditions from Japan, Canada, French, Korea, Lithuania and Russia tried to cross the Strait but all of them failed.

The reason of all these failures can be explained only by the fact that such expeditions are very dangerous and difficult to carry out from the technical point of view.

During winter time the Strait, the minimum width of which is 80 km, is blocked by broken, cracked ice. Jumble of ice-floes of various thickness bears a strong resemblance to a swamp; large areas of open water suddenly appear. Thirty degrees of frost make these areas ice-bound, turning open water into dangerous thin young ice, which makes both sailing and travelling absolutely impossible. And all this mass, consisting of young ice, broken old ice-floes and water is moving in unpredictable directions, submitting to currents and winds. Under south winds the rate of ice movement reaches 7-8 km per hour. Only polar bears feel quite confident and comfortable here and are invariably strolling along ice-floes in February-March.

Dmitry and Matvey Shparo started on March 1, 1998 at 11.45 (local time) not far off Uelen settlement.

They divided their cargo at the starting point as follows: Matvey was hauling the sledges with 90 km weight. Dmitry was carrying 45 kg rucksack. Their food supplies were apportioned for 12 days. Besides, each of the base groups (at Chukotka and Alaska) had additional food provision for 10 days, which could be dropped to the group on the route by aircraft or helicopter.

The first 5 days the skiers were fighting with a north-west drift and were carried them 50 km due north from their launch point. They managed to travel only 8 km due east (their planned direction). At the seventh day they crossed the Russian-American border.

At the same day the explorers made a decision about a strict economy of their food supplies. Starting from this moment they used daily only half of the planned ration.

The weather conditions during the expedition: temperatures from -26C up to +2C, the wind up to 20 m/sec, the last days it was raining, three days were sunny. The ice in the strait was utterly broken and due to this the average speed of the skiers very seldom exceeded 1 km/hour. The participants tried to use every minute of the daylight, and during the first days of their expedition they travelled during 9 hours daily and during the last days 11 hours every day.

For four times the explorers had overcome the areas of thin broken ice in the places of currents parting, which stretched for many kilometers. Sometimes they had to maneuver on separate moving ice-floes for many hours. On the third day of their travelling Dmitry Shparo fell into water, in the middle of their route one of the skis was drowned, and on the fifteenth day the two explorers found themselves in the water and Dmitry was with his rucksack on his back.

During the first week of the route the participants of the expedition met polar bears every day. One of such meetings (the night of March 5-6) could turn out to be a disaster. A very large polar bear came to the camp when the explorers were sleeping in their bags and shredded a portion of their tent. Only firing a shot from their gun forced it to go away.

On March 21 at 15.45 after passing more than 300 km Dmitry and Matvey Shparo completed their route at the desolate Chariot settlement at Alaska.


Ski Bridge ExpeditionThe Trilogy...RouteHistorySponsors
Russian ver.• Contact usHome pageGallery new!

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