Just 3 km to pitch the tent and wait tomorrow and sunday the storm in a protected place. Smooth beginning.
First camp of the trip..same place where last year I spent a week. All is good. Pitch my tent ( the Tentipi did not arrive so I am using a Hilleberg Keron 3GT) and relax. Wind now is picking up a little. Let's see tomorrow. Good night. Super hugs to all the Haugastøl' friends. I am so close.. but the food will be more frugal tonight.
At the moment more info and fresh updates about the trip on the Man on the snow page on Facebook.
“If you want to make Bhagavān* laughing just tell him your plans”
Old Indian saying
I am late. I apologize. I was planning to start on the 1st day of January but I am still here in the Med. Yep, I was planning...
In the last two years I've been restoring, with the precious help of some friends and especially Sebastiá Vidal (who also helped me to build the first ecopulka for the Man on the Snow project) an old wooden ketch, Memphis, built in Scotland in 1928, in the one of the oldest boatyard of the UK (est.1740).
I did without sponsors and with all my energy and skills. Limited of course, both.
It was almost ok but in December, normally quite dry, the Mediterranean isobars decided to create one of the rainiest and windiest period of the year. So I was forced to stop my works. The domino effect impacted the project so here I am still finishing my preparations.
I am planning (please Bhagavān, don't make a mess again...), let's say, I would love to start, around the 15th from Oslo.
A few weeks ago I wrote a mail to Liv Arnesen, the first woman to reach alone and unsupported the South Pole (livarnesen.com) and she answered me. We exchanged some mails and she invited me to start, and ski, together for some kilometers. It is such an honor to me. I don't know if this delay will allow Mrs Arnesen to come. She is preparing a fantastic project for water protection called Access Water and you may also know that I dedicated most of my recent life to water. Please visit her web site to know more about her water project.
In the mean while the new expedition ecoskis built by IDRIS SKIS are ready. Carl Alvey tested the first prototype in Haugastol, Norway and he was very happy.
I will travel using two pair of skis. Both from IDris Skis. The CHAMOIS and the new one.
The Chamois will be for the sail, the new sail which is a PARAWING, a kind of parachute, made by WOLF BERINGER in Lorch, Baden Wurttemberg, Germany.
I visited his workshop and met such an interesting person. What a life he had!!
Vielen Dank Wolf.
The ecopulka by ACAPULKA is almost ready. Built with flax, ecoresins, and recycled or reused materials.
I received the FJÄLLRÄVEN products. They look really thought and extremely well designed and made. I will write the reports during the and after the trip.
Also in Venice arrived the PRIMUS OMNILITE TI STOVE, my emergency stove for the higher altitude, where no wood is available. It can burn almost every fuel.
BRUNTON send me the GLACIER 320 headlamp, recharchable battery (with my solar panels) and very powerful.
I received included with the lamp a wind meter, the SUMMIT PRO. It is a little station giving infos about temperature, wind speed, atmospheric pressure, elevation.
I still have to collect the new FUTURASUN energy station, more power to recharge with the sun my cameras, phone etc. the price of keeping in touch with others.
Shackleton, Amundsen, Nansen, Peary and all the explorers had the privilege to be “alone” in the wilderness. I would love to be alone but my projects are communication projects, not explorations or performances, so, I must share what I do.
So, see you soon. I will be on my way to Norway in a week approximately.
Happy new year my friends.
*Bhagavān, (alternate spellings including Bhagvān, Bhagwan or Bhagawan, from the Sanskritnt-stem bhaga-vant- nominative भगवान् Bhagavān) is a term for God used in Hinduismparticularly in the Vaisnava traditions where God is conceived as a caring, compassionate person concerned for the welfare of his creatures. This word is generally translated into English language as Lord. Bhagavān can also be an honorific title for a God-realized (i.e. fully enlightened) human being or an incarnation of God in human form (avatara) such as Ramaand Krishna. In the Pali scriptures Gautama Buddha is referred to as Bhagavān Buddha(translated with the phrase 'Lord Buddha' or 'The Blessed One').
In 1913, exactly one century ago, on many British newspapers appeared the following advert:
The man asking for such a fearless devotion and commitment was Sir Ernest Shackleton, one of the most famous polar explorers ever, quite a tough guy, and unlucky. He failed but none of his men were lost and he risked personally to rescue them sailing for 900 miles from the Elefant Island in Antartica to South Georgia, aboard a 20 foot canvas covered boat, the James Caird III, in one of the most infamous seas of the planet.
I am far from comparing me to the generous and extraordinary Captain but this is what I would publish today if I had to recruit some companions for my trip to Nordkapp with the only difference of No Wages. For what about the honor and recognition well... this is not exactly what I am looking for.
Anyway, if anyone will like to ski with me write an email to email@example.com explaining When and Why.
I am planning to leave on January the 1st 2015 from Oslo.
Well, let's talk about the preparation. The New Gear are here or on the way.
I tested in Venice, the new BIOLITE CAMP STOVE and with a fistful of wood sticks I was able to boil one liter of water and keep the stove running and... Charging my phone. Let's see in the harsh Norway climate (fire always worked, with very few exceptions, like... No wood or super wet, as far as I know in my experience). In fact I will try to be as much free as possible from fossil fuel. As an alternative where wood will not be available, like above the tree line, I will probably use a PRIMUS OMNILITE TI STOVE which can burn almost everything, including, someone says, used veggie oil from restaurants.
I will soon receive my Fjällräven KEB JACKET, made with recycled polyester and organic cotton, the KEB DOWN JACKET to keep me warm down ethically taken, not like Monclair, please watch the video in the link above, and the BIB TROUSERS.
Tom Greenall and Kyioko (Idriskis) his wife are preparing a new pair of lighter cross country skis in Chamonix.
Alex Bierwald in Norway of ACAPULKA is on the making of the new sustainable pulk. He is trying to build it with bio resins, flax canvas and recycled polyethylene.
A new sail, a parawing, has been sewed by the legendary Wolf Beringer in Lorch, Germany.
A lot of gear is already in Norway, in Haugastøl, where I had to stop last year, and most of it is sutainably, ethically built.
I am finishing with Memphis restoration in Port de Pollença and working on the web for the upcoming man on the Snow Project.
I hope that this year the snow will fall copiously and help me to ski far North.
Anyone who will like to ski with me can write an email to firstname.lastname@example.org explaining When and Why.
Take care my friends
After last year attempt, failed because of lack of snow in the north of Norway, some mistakes in the planning, and a bad infection in my heels, I will start again from Oslo on January the 1st 2015.
I will ski and kite alone but anyone is welcome to join or help this project. Please write a mail to email@example.com to explain why and how you would like to partecipate.
Here a short video about last year trip.
Dear friends of Man on the Snow,
I still thank you for the 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..
There's something special in the water..
A super hug