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Bering Strait Exploration Team to Arrive in Alaska on March 19

Bering Strait Exploration Team to Arrive in Alaska on March 19

Posted March. 06, 2007 07:15,   


“We have been preparing for this trip, got permission, and are heading for the strait with a lot of difficulties. So we will do our best to succeed.”

A team led by Park Young-seok (44, director of Goldwin Korea, OB, a climbing club of Dongguk University), a world-renowned mountaineer and explorer, will arrive on the coast of Uelen, Chukotka, Russia (at 66° 10’ north latitude and 169° 49’ west longitude) at the eastern tip of the Eurasian continent to cross the Bering Strait on an expedition sponsored by the Dong-A Ilbo, LG, and The North Face at 12:35 p.m. on March 5.

The team, which departed for the strait on February 16, started the adventure 17 days after leaving Korea because the Russian government delayed giving permission for the expedition.

The team includes three members: Park, Oh Hee-jun (37, North Face Alpine, Seogwipo Youngcheon Climbing Club), who has conquered ten summits over 8,000 meters in the Himalayas, and Lee Hyeong-mo (28, climbing club member of Kwandong University), who succeeded in climbing Everest, the world’s highest summit, last year.

The straight distance between the group’s starting point to its destination, Wales, Alaska (at 65° 35’ north latitude and 168° west longitude), is just 88km. In reality, however, it is nearly 300km, considering the fast tides, strong winds, and ice the team will have to endure along way.

The team is scheduled to arrive at Wales on March 19.

The Bering Strait, located between 64° and 67° north latitude, is already well known for its freezing weather, which gets as cold as minus 20 to minus 40 degrees. But this is a particularly bad time for crossing the strait on foot as the number of floating icebergs on the sea has decreased due to global warming. Now, much of the surface of the sea is not covered with ice, and the team could face unexpected ice nearly 10 meters wide.

Each team member will carry a sledge loaded with 70kg of equipment. The team is fully prepared for the sea – they will put on dry suits to go into the water.

If Park’s team succeeds in crossing the strait, it will be just the third team in the world and first from Asia to do so. Updates from the expedition, including journals and moving images sent from the team via satellite phone, can be seen on the team’s mini homepage located within www.donga.com.