Bettina Aller and Jean-Gabriel Leynaud

May 4th 04 : Aller and Leynaud reach thier goal
The two adventurers arrived safely at the North Pole on 1st May, albeit exhausted and suffering from numerous injuries. "Every muscle in our body aches - even ones we didn’t know we had..."said their report from 28th March. They have both lost between 6 and 7 kilos.

April 24th 2004 (Day 51) : Good news
Position: N88.617 E 99.309 / Weather: Storm / Todays distance: 9 km / Rest distance: 154 km.
The storm continued all through the night and half of the day. But as they camped, the sun was shining from the blue sky. But before that, they had another hard day, with the storm blowing right in their faces, causing Bettinas frostbite on her cheek to get worse. De crossed 12 leads, 2 of them by swimming.
And now the good news: The Russian helicopter pilots have agreed to wait for Bettina and JG until the 5th of May. That gives them another 4 days, just enough to take the pressure of. So even though they are still very tired, their mood has improved a great deal.

April 23rd 2004 (Day 50) : Gold to Jean-Gabriel and Bettina
Position: N88,535 E102,175 / Weather: Storm, white out / Todays distance: 10 km / Rest distance: 162
After spending my Thursday night and half of Friday worrying, I finally got a call. From a very tired Bettina, from a very tired Jean-Gab. I know, that I have written it before, that it has been the worst day yet. But today, I spoke with JG, and I tell You, I got every story confirmed. Also the fact, that today was to be named “ Hell on ice”. They have been out walking for 14 hours, and they only made 10 km. and why is that. Well, it is because, that every time they hit a lead, it was not a lead with water, it was a Slush ice Lake. And once they did pass it by swimming, Bettina was so tired, that she “passed” halfway. The word you use in a card game, when you don’t want to throw a card, because you can’t. Luckily JG was on her side in this card game. He told her to continue. And she did.
I hope You all have a very nice weekend, and that you will keep on paying for JG’s and Bettina’s safely return.

April 20th 2004 (Day 47) : Tough times
Position: N88,126 E93,621 / Todays distance: 7 km / Rest distance: 208 km
They are fighting against the clock. Yesterday they walked for 12 hours and only made 15 km. So what is the reason it’s taking them so long to walk 15 km ?? Well, for instance, yesterday they had to cross a lead by swimming, because they couldn’t se an end to it on either sides. From the time, they make the decision to swim, it takes an hour before they are ready to walk again on the other side. They have to find their drysuit in the sledges, pack down the skies, secure the sledges from taking water in on the way over the lead, then one of them swims over, then pull the sledges, then the other one take the swim. Then the takes off the drysuit, dry I before packing it down, taking the skies of the sledge and putting them on. An hour has passed and they have only made 30 m…….. That’s how they spend their time up there.

JG’s sledge is broken again and they had to spend last night repairing it again. Half a sledge inside the tent, half a sledge outside, causing the temperature to go the wrong way inside.
They are both suffering from frostbites, but we have had contact with a doctor and they are receiving treatment.
JG told me yesterday on the phone, that just in case, I had plans to go to the Northpole, he couldn’t recommend it, and I replied, I wouldn’t do it for anything in the world, not even love !! Just to show the difference in “the things we do for love”
The mood in the tent of Jean-Gabriel and Bettina could be better, but they really feel, that the time is running out on them. Just imagine, had they just left Khatanga in time, they would have had 5 more days, just enough to get them there in time. So please keep on mailing messages to them. They are really happy to receive them and it cheers them up.

April 18th 2004 (Day 45) : Supply delivered
Position: N87,796 E91,466 / Todays distance: 18 km/ Rest distance: 245 km.
Bettina and JG had their resupply successfully yesterday, and they had their apple pie. They were told that the ice was not going to get any better. Unfortunately. Also they were told, that if they want to get home via Svalbard, they will have to be at Borneo on the 29th of April. If they get there on the 30th, they will be going home via Khatanga, which means more days to travel home.
So they need to work more hours to make more km a day. Since they didn't get more than 4½ hours sleep yesterday, because of waiting for resupply, one should think, that they would turn in early today, but they need to repair the bottoms of their sledges, so it will not be before tomorrow night, that they can get a good long nights sleep.

April 17th 2004 (Day 44) : They are waiting for applepie
Position: N87,638 E92,753 / Weather: Clear / Distance yesterday and today: 37 km/ Rest distance: 262 km.
Yesterday was yet another day with white out and it made their walk difficult once again. Bad ice and leads are still an everyday companion. They crossed one lead 40-45 meter by swimming. It was very hard swimming in the water with a consistens of slush ice, and halfway over, it seemed like it was impossible to either way. But as they always do, they continued. Well done. They walked for 11 hours and made 19 km. A good achievement, but it is not enough. We need some days with clear weather and most importantly god ice.
The weather has been behaving today, but the ice is still awfully bad, and they had to stop early today to make camp and call the base Borneo to give their position, so they can bring the resupply and a new Argos beacon. So now Bettina and JG are waiting in their tent for resupply and most importantly; their Applepie from Bettinas mother. But the weather on Borneo is not behaving; so the helicopter hasn't left yet. Lets hope for Bettina and JG, that they get their resupply soon, so they can turn in and get a good nights sleep.

April 15th 2004 (Day 42) : Packed, packed packice
Position: N87,309 E92,620 / Weather: White out / Todays distance: 14 km. / Rest distance: 299 km
Yet another day in hell. Bettina and JG are still in pack ice area, and the pack ice with a thickness of minimum 1 meter are lying on top of each other. Due to the weather(white out), with no chance of a sight, they couldn't choose the easiest way, they just had to go North. On top of these problems, they didn't get much sleep last night, as they spent half the night repairing JG's sledge, which was broken in the bottom. They had decided, due to the weather and the very tired bodies, only to walk 9 hours today, but as they reached the 9 hours limit, there was no place to camp. They had to continue. It was to dangerous to camp in the middle of all the pack ice, so they continued and they had been walking for 11 hours, before they found a good place to camp.
In camp the mood always rises a few degrees, and lets all pray for better weather tomorrow. They need it, to get their 20 km a day to be on N90,00 on the 1st of May.
Jean-Gabriel sends "salut" to his friends and especially to Laurent and his wife with big congratulations with your newborn daughter.

April 14th 2004 (Day 41) : And her knee fell through
Position: N87,186 E93,533 / Vejret: Indian summer à la Nordpolen, which means -18 grader.
Todays distance: 19 km. / Rest distance: 313 km.
Just as we thought, that areas of bad ice were over, we were proved wrong. Bettina and JG have been passing packed ice today, big as busses or trains, impossible to climb over. They had to move left and right all the time, which at one point made Bettina say "I'm tired of going left or right all the time, I wanna go straight ahead" and JG replied "Just call the chopper, he will fly you straight back home" but don't worry. They are staying and they will keep fighting.
The areas with leads are also not behind them. They had to pass one today by crawling, and halfway over Bettinas knee, fell through the ice. Luckily the ice made by saltwater is kind of elastic, so she could just pull her leg up, and continue. And she was wearing her drysuit !!
Their Argos beacon is not working, so until Saturday, when they receive their resupply and together with that, a new beacon, I'll get their positions by phone, and we'll must all pray that nothing serious happens in the meantime.

April 13th : waiting for the next resupply, team is progressing fast...
Morale is sky-high for Aller and Leynaud because for the past few days now, and knowing that the next re-supply drop is due for 17th April, they have been devouring some amazing distances: 51 km on the 6th and 7th, 25 km on the 10th and 58 km on the 11th and 12th,. Which means that day by day, the North Pole is slowly getting closer. By the evening of 12th April, they only had another 346 km to cover before reaching their final goal...

April 5th / DAY 32 / The duo experience difficulties
On 2nd April, Bettina Aller and Jean-Gabriel Leynaud were still 580 km from the North Pole and approximately 55 km from the two other teams still out there on the spring ice. Their position on that day: 84.773 N / 96.172 E. But despite the fact that conditions are improving where they are (they crossed 84 degrees North on 28th March), Bettina still has a persistently sore left arm, while the leads of open water are constantly blocking their path and they are both beginning to find the time dragging. They were due to be re-supplied on 2nd April.

March 23rd / DAY 19 / Passing yet another lead
Position: N83,531 E96,316 / Distance: 11km, but they drifted 5 km this night.
Weather: Beautiful sun, very cold, and wind from the South

It seemed like a day for making a perfect distance, but after an hour or so, they were facing a big lead. The followed it for 4,5 hour before finding a place to get over it. But they had to swim for a meter or two to get over. It wasn't a very comfortable feeling to swim over, but now they have tried the suits from Helly Hansen, in case there is an emergency one day, they know the suits.

March 22nd 2004 / DAY 18 / Snow is getting better
Position: N83,440 E96,522 / Weather: Fine, but strong wind from North

Its been a good day. It had been snowing al night, so it made the pulling of sledges much harder. It was like pulling it through sand. The wind has turned again, so they have it right in their faces. Bettina has frostbite on her nose, and from what she is telling, they are both swollen in their face. The ice was bad all morning, but this afternoon, they finally came to an area with really good ice. Lets hope it will continue. The highlight of the day is, when they eat their meal from Real Expedition Meal. Tonight it is Curry Chicken.

March 21st 2004 / DAY 16 / A beautiful day
Position: At 06:00 UTC 21.3.2004 N83,271 E96,700 / Distance:12 km / Weather: Sunny and -25 degree Celsius
It has been a beautiful day, with the sun shining and the ice glinting in different turquoise colours. They are still fighting their way through ice blocks and 40 % of the time, they are crawling. Its very hard for Bettina to carry her sledge, so today, they dumped some of their food, by taking a little out of every days ration. Today they walked for 8 hours and still they only made 12 km. Lets hope that the lighter sledges will benefit in more kilometres.

March 19th 2004 / They held a little party and they fought..nature
Position: N83,168 E96,781 / Distance: 8 km / Weather: Sunny and no wind -35 degrees Celcius
Yesterday they got their resupplies. 90 kg. which they had to repack. 45 kg. extra in each sledge. It was hard, but after finishing, it was luxury to sit in the tent, having a little party and knowing that they would be sleeping in dry sleepingbags. Today was yet another day of challenges, as the ice started packing around them, when they were having a break. First it started behind them, and when they fled from the place, it started packing first on one side and then on the other. In front was a lead. It was terrible, the noise was deafening, and there was nowhere out of the inferno. After 2 frightful hours, with ice shaking beneath them, ice blocks packing all around them, and rising high up everywhere they looked, it stopped. Total silence. They knew, they had to get out before it might start all over again. So with each a sledge, that was 45 kg. heavier than the day before, they crawled and fought their way over and through the packed ice. They succeeded, but they broke their ski sticks, luckily it was repairable.
14 days and they passed the 83 degree latitude the night between Wednesday and Thursday, which leaves “only” 777,77 km to go !!

March 14 2004 / Weather : Freezing cold and stormy
Position: N 82,697 E 96,776 / Distance: - 7 km
It has been a terrible hard and cold day. They are still facing headwind and the wind is biting, getting in everywhere. They are constantly drifting back, so it feels in vain, when ever they go 1 km, they drift a half back. And as you can see from todays distance, they have drifted more backwards than for-wards.
They walked for 9 hours only getting 7 km. It is not very good for the mood, but it seems that they take turns in being in a bad mood.
Now sitting in their tent it is hard to keep warm. Only the part of the body that faces the fire is warm. The rest is freezing cold.

March 13 2004 / Jour 9 / They passed the first 100 km
Position: N 82,756 E 96,178 / yesterdays distance: 10 km / Todays distance: 7 km
They had an early start yesterday, but had to camp a little early, as they suddenly faced a huge lead. They camp half a km south of the lead, and started making plans, how to pass the lead. I haven't talked to Bettina today, but the reports I get, tell me they are well in camp and that they made 7 km today. Not much, but somehow, they got over the lead. We'll now more tomorrow. And today they passed the first 100 km. Only about 800 to go !! Well done

March 11 2004 / Jour 7 / A hard day in stiff headwind
It has been an extremely tough day. There is pack ice, 3 meters high, all around them, there has been several open leads, and the wind from North right in their faces. They have hardly been wearing their skies; some times they even had to crawl. They had whiteout all day, and now in their tent, it is diffi-cult to keep the cold out. As I spoke to Bettina, see could see/hear the helicopters, which were search-ing for Dominick, flying back. They are both deeply affected by the disappearance of Dominick.
Let all hope for some good news soon. Have a nice week-end all of you

March 10 2004 / Jour 6 / A day of hard lessons
Location: N 82,517 E 97,333
Bettina and JG started the day with a plus of 11 km on the account, as they drifted that long during the night. But the day soon turned out differently. After a good 14 km walk, they stood in front of open water, not more than a meter in front of them, but open water to each side as long as the eye could see. So they decided to jump, it was only 1 meter. JG first, he is a gentleman! As it was only a small open-ing, they didn't consider wearing the drysuit. But they did tie a robe around JG's waist, and that was a clever move. As he jumped and grabbed the border on the other side, it moulded under his grab. The ice was like mush and dragged him down. Bettina could not go to close, as they couldn't risk her fal-ling in to, so she had to pull the robe on a 1 meter distance, pull him up, and then grab his hand. he was in the water for1½ minute, though it seemed a lot longer. They moved ½ km away from the open-ing, as Polar bears live around openings. They made the camp and spent the next 5 hours and a lot of fuel drying JG clothes and his limb, which is quite a task, because JG is about 2 m. tall!! But he didn't get any frostbites, which is a very lucky thing.
As I was on the phone with Bettina, she suddenly said in English to JG: What is it, is it a polar bear ?? and to me," We can hear something outside, we think it is a polar bear, I call you tomorrow". And while I was shouting "call me later" the signal disappeared. I spent the next 10 min. trying to control my imagination, then the phone rang again. It was Bettina. After she had hung up, they had blown out the fire, grabbed the gun and hurried outside, prepared to meet the big white bear. There was only the sledge moving in the snow, sounding like something moving in the snow. Only a warning, but it was number two warning that day.
Bettina and JG sends a lot of thoughts and prayers to Dominick and her family and thanks for the safe rescue of Fréderic.

March 9 2004 / Jour 5 / Moving on in spite of bad weather
Position: N 82,407 E 96,962 / Distance today : 18 km / Weather: Snowstorm with wind uptil 30 knots
Jean-Gabriel and Bettina started out this morning in the storm, not knowing for how long it was gonna last or how bad it would get. But the made a good 18 km today, so they had every reason to be satis-fied at the end off the day.
Again today they saw fresh Polar bear tracks, and at lunch break, they felt uncomfortable, knowing that a bear could easily sneak in on them in the storm surrounded by pack ice. And suddenly they heard noise. Bettina got up and started making noise and getting ready for meeting with a Polar bear, but luckily, it was only a Polar fox. But still they can not allow themselves to relax, as Polar foxes appear, where there are Polar bears.
At five pm their time, they made camp as the whether were getting worse, and they did have trouble getting the tent up, but when I talked to them, they were safely inside the tent, listening to the storm outside.
Their Argos beacon is working fine after I gave them instructions from Cerpolex to switch off their beacon, remove the black connector, replace it again and switch it on again, so now I also get their temperatures. They keep their "living room" at a chilly temperature - 11 celcius.

March 8 2004 / JOur 4 / Hard day with a lot of pack ice
Bettina and Jean-Gabriel have had quite a hard day. Pack ice is all around them, and makes it difficult to get any where. They drifted 4 km. backwards last night, made 15 km forwards today, which makes a total of 11 km, which was not enough to satisfy Bettina. Their clothes are getting more and more wet and with the limited fuel ration, there's not enough to spent on drying clothes. But maybe they will be ready to use some extra in a few days, as there are 10 days to their first dump, and wet clothes doesn't exactly help the mood rise.
They saw several Polar bear tracks today, some of them old, but one of a mother and a cub recently new, which also made the day seem harder, as they have to use their strength to keep an eye on each finger (which are wrapped in a wet glove, or rather several pairs of wet gloves)
I received a mail tonight with a warning of a low pressure coming up, but as I can only reach them on mail voice, I hope they listen in on it tomorrow morning before taking off, so they can take whatever precautions, they need to take. Enjoy Your evening. Mie

March 7 2004 / Jour 3 / A nice walk
Bettina and Jean-Gabriel have been on the ice now for 3 days. Yesterday they made 17 km. The weather is fine, no wind, but today there was a lot of pack ice, which prevented them for making as long a distance. I'm afraid, there are some problem with the sender, so I've received no location data today.

They have seen both Polar bear tracks and Polar fox tracks. The Polar bear comes if it can find seals, the polar fox comes to eat the leftovers. They made their camp early today, as they had found a flat area without pack ice. It can be dangerous to camp to close to pack ice, as the Polar bear can suddenly be in front off you. So they mad the camp early and know that they have a challenge tomorrow, as they are surrounded by pack ice.
They are getting used to the little space, they have to live on. They are finding out, what is necessary to keep in the tent and what is not.
Pour la Familie et les Amis de Jean-Gabriel. S'il Vous plait, écrirez un salut pour Jean-Gabriel en Français ou Anglais et je veux faire passer le salut.

March 5 2004 / Jour 1 / They are on the ice
They are on their way. they only had a few hours to walk today, as it got a little late before they were flown out on the ice. But they still made 6.5 km. Good start. They had fine wheater, sun, no wind and good ice. Unfortunately the ice, where they are camping is not that good for camping, so the tent is tied unto the pulk, and that makes their little castle only 3 kvm. They had codfish for dinner in some kind of sauce, but it was delicious after a cold day.
Anyway day 1 went well, I'll be back with more news in a day or two.

SOURCE : Aller's Website