Fedor Konyukhov

2 degrees South in 2 weeks

On April 18th Fedor Konyukhov phoned his office in Moscow with some good and encouraging news: “Today was the most successful day since the start of the expedition.  We have crossed the 88@@apos@@ of North Latitude and now our coordinates are 87@@apos@@59@@apos@@@@apos@@ North Latitude and 57@@apos@@37@@apos@@@@apos@@ West Longitude.  Therefore, it took us less than two weeks to cover 2@@apos@@, and this correlates with our initial schedule.  Another reason to call it a successful day is that today we ran 27 km.  The sea ice drift is to our advantage as well, good 7 km per night in our favor.  Today we didn’t see any open water, which allowed us to keep a steady rhythm with only slight interruptions of occasional deep snow.  The scenery around us is encouraging: a lot of hummocky ice and deep snow.  All our equipment is working really well, and the charging is happening at night via the solar batteries.”  

The office of Fedor Konyukhov receives a numerous amount of phone calls and e-mails with questions about a daily life of the two explores and their dogs on this journey.  Here are some of the questions, and the answers provided by Fedor in his recent phone call to the office in Moscow.

Question: “What kind of dog food do you carry with you: dry or canned?

Answer: The dogs eat the dry food by Royal Canin (one of the official sponsors of the expedition).  In addition we give them some supplements. The dogs eat once a day, in the evening after running all day.  They eat a total of 7 kg of the dog food per feed.  All of the dogs are well adapted by now to running on the sea ice.  The first few days, they were not sure and looked quite bewildered by the situation.  This is their first arctic exposure, except Cherke, who has done this kind of running before.

Question: Is it necessary to give water to the dogs or they eat snow?

Answer: The dogs eat snow. 

Question: What are some basic commands you give to the dogs?

Answer: Haw: command for left turn, Gee:  command for right turn, Ale: same as GO!, Whoa: as in STOP! 

Question: When do you plan to get to the land? It is worrisome if you guys can make it on ice before it turns into open water since you have at least another month before reaching Greenland.

Answer: Yes, it is worrisome what lies ahead and in what condition the ice will be by mid-May.  We knew this would be a major problem, and that’s why our start was scheduled as early as possible - the first week of April, exactly when the “Barneo” station begun to operate and receive An-74 plane.  Speaking of polynya, just yesterday, we came to a pretty large polynya, and Victor and I stopped to talk about our approach when all of a sudden with a loud crash a large hummock came down not too far from us.  Not wasting a moment, we mushed the dogs across this “bridge”, thanking God for His providence.

Question: Is it possible to receive help without the landing of a plane?

Answer: Yes, it is a possibility if the Canadian plane of Kenn Borek Air won’t be able to find the solid ice next to our camp.  The first help from air will arrive tentatively between April 30 and May 1.

As we continue to advance in the direction of south, we will encounter more and more open water, but that is something to be expected.  At the temperature of -25@@apos@@ C, there is a fog hanging above the open water and it can get really thick resembling the smoke from a fire.  This can look a bit surreal.

Cheers to all!”

Fedor and Victor.

Expedition is using satellite tracking beacons – Yellow Brick. Current position is here: http://yb.tl/konyukhov

Translated by Tatiana Koreski