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The North Pole is Mine in 2005

Posted December. 31, 2004 22:59,   


Because the North Pole is an ocean, a misstep can plunge a person into one of the area’s many “leads,” or ice crevices. Training for lead crossing was held in Yeongokchun, Kangnung with two sleighs attached.

On Christmas, they dragged bus tires up the Jingogae trail at Noin Peak in Mt. Odae for 10 kilometers. At the ski resort Phoenix Park in Pyeongchang, Gangwondo, they dragged 150-kilogram sleighs. Crew members Park and Hong Sung-taek, who have experience from a 1994 Antarctic expedition, and O Hee-jun, who had braved an Antarctica expedition with Hong, pulled the sleigh with ease. But green beginners Jung Chan-il and “Around the World Yacht Record Holder” Kang Dong-suk’s sleighs keeled over and tumbled from the start.

“Looking at a North Pole map gets my adrenaline pumping. I’m that excited about being able to take on the North Pole again. This time, I will step on her peak for sure.”

Park harbors a bitter memory of giving up his North Pole dream on April 25, 2003, turning around at North latitude 86 degrees on his 53rd day. This time, he is determined to return a winner and is training hard for the journey ahead. The relentless training had Oh Hee-jun, known as the strong ox, complaining, “When I was making money for foreign expedition expenses, getting boxes up to the peak of Mt. Halla was even easier than this.” Park joined in, moaning, “Whew, I’m beat,” but takes the harsh training as well as the younger team members.

“Many would give up when faced with a 99 percent chance of impossibility, but if there’s that one percent of hope, I never give up. First, I have to make my body adapt to the North Pole.”

Park regained his confidence last January 13 when he set a new Mujiwon Expedition world record of 44 days spent trekking on foot in Antarctica. “I spent three full years preparing for the 2003 North Pole expedition, but when I actually got there, I found I needed far more than that.”

Park surveyed the proposed site of the North Pole expedition base camp in Resolute, Canada (northern latitude: 74.9 degrees) last September. Afterwards until November, he focused on increasing his body fat to survive the freezing cold of minus 40-50 degrees. Park has settled on February 25 as the target date for his quest to the North Pole.

Chang Jeon jeon@donga.com