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Park Yeong-seok’s North Pole Exploration Team

Posted April. 18, 2005 23:33,   


“We will set our feet on the North Pole no matter how harsh Sedna, the goddess of the icy ocean, greets us.”

The North Pole exploration team led by Mr. Park Yeong-seok (42, director of Goldwin Korea and mountaineering club OB in Dong-guk University) has crossed the 87° north latitude line on the 40th day of its exploration on April 18.

The team pulled off a grueling journey of 10 hours and 10 minutes on that day through a wind of 12m/s in -29℃ to cover 25.3km, the longest distance for a day. They are currently situated at 87° 12’ 142 N. Lat and 83° 37’ 879 W. Long.

The team has progressed through a total distance of 461.24km, 59.5 percent of the total linear distance to the North Pole, which is 775km.

It took the team 12 days to reach the 87° latitude line from the 86° latitude line, or 111km. This is not that fast considering that it took seven days to go from the 84° to 85° latitude line and eight days to go from 85° to 86°. The progress slowed because of the icy mountains formed from the collision of ice plates that were along the way, which the team expected to see fewer of after the 85° line. Their journey was also impeded by blizzards (snowstorms with wind velocity of 14m/s) and whiteouts (a phenomenon of surroundings appearing white that impairs visibility).

One fortunate aspect was that the temperature has held above -30℃ so that the team member’s frostbites did not worsen. Also, even with a relatively high temperature, the body of water that forms in the crevices of glacial ground did not widen, which allowed two members, Hong Seoung-taek (39) and Jung Chan-il (25), to swim out after falling into one on April 13.

Chang Jeon jeon@donga.com