Dear friends of Man on the Snow (and River too!),
I still thank you all for your precious help.
As you probably know from the web site and Facebook page of Man on the Snow the project has been moved to the next winter. I passed through some problems and changes.
First of all snow conditions were not good at all. At the beginning, in January, in Oslo it was raining and the few centimeters of snow started very quickly to melt. The situation didn’t change for all the winter. All Norway passed trough one of the warmest winter since many years. In the Svalbard archipelago the situation was serious. In December, January and February the average temperatures have been 15 C° higher then normal. In Alta, near Nordkapp, in late february it was 5C° above zero. A very unusual situation for above the polar circle zones.
In the North of Norway the lack of snow in December and january caused some heavy fires in the forests. Later on started to snow but I was already in my decision of postponing the project.
In late february I suffered for a strong infection to my heels due to a wrong choice for a week of cross country skiing in the Hardangervidda plateau, testing all the gear. Since I’ve suffered of lung calcification during my London to Istanbul rowed trip in 2010, I’ve also lost sensation in my legs, as a consequence of the pneumonia and lack of oxigenation in some part of my brain, so I cannot feel pain in my feet. The Salomon boots literary consumed till bone my skin. This happened in one day. I had to ski because bad weather was coming. For three weeks I was barely able to walk taking antibiotics to cure the infection.
I was in the Hardangervidda Plateau, between Oslo and Bergen, where I decided to move and stay for three months testing all the gear and myself in almost polar (not this year, the minimum temperature experienced was only -24C°, and it happens only once) conditions.
All the gear I’ve tested resulted in a very positive experience. I am preparing a report for each of the products tested.
I met in Haugastol, Norway, some polar guides, like Carl Alvey, Hannah McKeand, Liv Kaupang, Paul Landry and many more (Haugastol is the base camp for many polar expeditions guide: the Hardangervidda Plateau is the best testing ground for any polar expedition around the world) many of them suggested some minor and bigger changes. I will listen to them. Basically it is all about lightness. I had to bring my pulk to 50 kg maximum for such a long project. I was overextimating my strenght. Big mistake. Pulling up and down the Norwegian mountains a 90 kg pulk is not such an intelligent pastime. Particulary for a (provided with one lung only) middle age guy.
I was thinking that the smooth “hills” of Norway would allow me an easier trip. In comparison with the 4000 mt high Apls’ barrier.. Big mistake. Up and down relatively small vertical climb for 10 hours a day is a pain in the a***.
They all told me that, under many points of view, the Oslo to Nordkapp trip is a very hard expedition and sometimes harder then the Greenland crossing or Antartica crossing. Expecially with an heavy pulk to pull. Only the relative easyness in getting food is better in Norway.
It has been very difficult to me to decide and postpone the project. I had to do it to save my life and being able to do it properly till the end. I could have tried it anyway but I would have surely failed in reaching Nordkapp before the snow melting.
It seems that all my projects have to be done in two different step. Is it a test for my humbleness?
I think so. Also my Mediterranean optimism is sometimes making me go too quick. The brain faster than my legs.
I’ve learned a lot and next year I will make my best to accomplish my project.
Volta Mallorca is starting on the 14th of July and I am planning to take one month. Stopping in beautiful places, talking, filming, reporting the situation of the little and big ports and marinas, interviewing the fishermen, the boatbuilder still surviving.
Are you planning to come aboard during one of the legs? I would be delighted.
A super hug