• Start date: April 24, 2008
  • Completion date: April 21, 2008
  • Start / end point: Borneo Russian Base – Geographical North Pole
  • Total km: 120
  • Expedition duration: 21 days
  • Challenges achieved: New Spanish expedition to the Geographical North Pole
In April 2008 Ramón Larramendi participated, during the International Polar Year, in the expedition on Cuatro TV program “Desafío Extremo”, directed by Jesús Calleja, whose objective was the Geographical North Pole. The expedition team was also comprised by the television camera Emilio Valdés and the explorer Maria March.



The adventure began on April 3 in Longyearbyen, a small mining town on the Svalbard Islands, the closest urban center to the Geographic North Pole. The expedition flew from there to Borneo Polar Base, a Russian scientific station that is set up every year on a different iceberg.

From Borneo, a helicopter left them at 100 km from the Geographic North Pole, where they began the journey. To attain their goal, the expeditionary used an amphibious vehicle designed by Larramendi to cross the Arctic sea ice, that is, the layer of floating ice that covers the waters of the Arctic. It consisted of two sleds (pulka style) which, in a few seconds, became a solid and stable canoe-catamaran of five meters in length. With it they could travel miles by sailing and when they touched ice, they separated it to be used as sleds once again. Another objective was to test the dry suit of the Norwegian explorer Borge Ouslund. With it one can swim in icy waters.

For 15 days, the three expeditionary crossed mountains of ice and water channels, defying the cold, crevasses and polar bears, increasingly aware of the smell of food miles away, until reaching the GPS point 90º:00º. It is the most proximate to the Earth’s center.

With temperatures that did not go over minus 35ºC, the expedition members encountered difficulties due to a great blizzard during the crossing that impeded their progress. The first day they managed to only travel five kilometers, but on the following they tripled the performance and advanced 15 km. They were lucky enough because the ice drift of the polar cap was favorable. In fact, on their fourth day, upon awakening, they realized that they were advancing directly towards the coordinate where the Geographical North Pole is located.

The team reached the North Pole, on foot the last degree, after several strenuous days. Ramón, Jesús, María and Emilio remained there for a week, in which they had complicated situations with the cold and dampness, but other unusual ones too, such as the race that Jesus and Maria performed “bareback” in the middle of the ice to take a dip at 30 degrees below zero in the deep, dark waters of the North Pole; or the unusual encounter with a group of Russians whom they met at the North Pole itself after arriving by helicopter, and invited them to vodka and caviar.

Finally, they were picked up by a helicopter that took them back to Borneo Base, from where they were flown back to Svalbard.


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