TO THE NORTH POLE IN THE
DARKNESS OF THE POLAR NIGHT!
The Expedition of Matvey Shparo and Boris Smolin
Russian explorers became the first men in history to ski to
the North Pole in the interminable darkness of a polar winter.
Matvey Shparo and Boris Smolin had overcome more than 1000
km in 84 days from the Arktichesky Cape (Severnaya Zemlaya
Archipelago) to the North Pole.
The Expedition started on December 22, 2007 (the day of winter
solstice) and was completed on March 14, 2008 before the first
For the first time the North Pole was conquered by the American
explorers on dog sleds in April 1908, one hundred years ago.
The modern technologies and the level of knowledge about the
nature of the high latitudes provide possibility to establish
a basically new record – to conquer the North Pole by ski
during the polar night, characterized by low temperatures
and complete darkness.
Experts in polar science consider that this Expedition had
also achieved many practical and scientific results, as during
its realization there were used both human recourses and modern
technologies: ice reconnaissance with the help of the radar
satellite photographs for choosing a correct route; overcoming
open water areas in special survival suits; usage of special
lanterns and power sources, which allowed the explorers to
travel and work in the conditions of twenty-four hour darkness
and low temperatures (up to -55°C).
Vladimir Putin, President of Russia, congratulated Matvey
Shparo and Boris Smolin on their victory in his greeting telegram.
Matvey Shparo (32, Moscow) and Boris Smolin (46,
Moscow) are far-famed as the organizers and participants
of many successful national Arctic Expeditions: a ski crossing
of Greenland and an ascent to Mt. McKinley, Alaska. In both
cases the teams of the Expeditions included the participants
with spinal code injury. Matvey Shparo and Boris Smolin were
awarded with the Orders of Friendship for their crossing of
Greenland. Matvey Shparo had the diploma of the Guinness Book
of World Records for the ski crossing of the Bering Strait
(1998, together with Dmitry Shparo).
The preparation of the Expedition consisted of several
stages. In December 2005 the participants of the Expedition
carried out a training trip in the region of Norilsk. December
2006 – the next training in Greenland.
In spring 2007 Matvey Shparo and Boris Smolin in order to
practice the techniques of traveling over drifting ice, traveled
by ski along the most dynamic Arctic regions: across the Longa
Strait from the Wrangler Island to the coast of the continent