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“A White War” Within a Snowstorm

Posted March. 16, 2005 22:22,   


The situation was dire, but they walked and walked.

The expedition team to the North Pole, led by Park Young-seok (42, Director of Goldwin Korea /Donkguk University Mountaineering Club OB), walked 52.52km (on a straight course) to the North Pole.

Along with Captain Park, Hong Sung-taek, Oh Hee-jun (35), and Jung Chan-il (25) headed for the North Pole from N 83’31’’450 to W72’47’’352, eight days after starting from Wardhunt Island on March 16.

Walking an average of 6.57km a day, it would take 33 days just to pass the 200km ice mountain, the trickiest part of the course. The initial plan was to pass the area in 20 days. Only 25 days worth of food, including five extra days of supply, had been prepared. The team would have faced a quandary if they did not pass the N 85’ line within a short period of time.

But Captain Park said, “Though conditions are worse than expected, the members can easily climb the ice walls now.”

The expedition was an uphill struggle. On March 15, Captain Park fell into a lead (exposed sea water due to the cracking of ice) twice in a single day, and was submerged up to his chest, so he had to stop, pitch a tent, and light a burner to avoid frostbite. The never-ending blizzard, with a speed of 14m/s, and the whiteout, which threw the entire region into an indiscriminating field of white, also slowed the progress of the team.

The expedition team receives weather reports such as the movement of the ice from the Canadian meteorological office once a day at Base Camp Resolute (N 74’42’’) and via satellite phone.

The expedition was greatly heartened by the messages posted by the netizens of Donga.com (www.donga.com) and the team’s homepage (www.parksgrandslam.net). The members feel as if they’re “kings of the world,” which helps relieve the day’s fatigue.

Chang Jeon jeon@donga.com