Frédéric Chamart-Boudet solo

Friday March 12th 2004
As was the case with the other expeditions setting out this Spring 2004, the Frenchman Frédéric Chamart-Boudet was set down on the ice by the logistics people at Cerpolex during the afternoon of 5th March.
That day, three out of the five expeditions opted to be dropped off beyond an enormous polynia (hole in the ice) located off Cape Arktichevski: Bettina Aller and her companion Jean-Gabriel Leynaud, Ben Saunders and Wave Vidmar. Their departure point was 81°N / 18'E. Distance saved: approximately 15 km.
Dominick Arduin and Frédéric Chamart-Boudet, on the other hand, no doubt more purist than the others, and especially so that they would not have to suffer any criticism from more pernickety observers who might reproach them for not covering the entire distance between Cape Arktichevski and the North Pole, opted to leave from terra firma (80°N / 10'E). This meant that their first difficulty was the abrupt confrontation with the extremely thin ice, as the polynia we have mentioned would not be able to provide a solid footing in such a small space of time.
Three days later, the Frenchman fell into the water and took a good 4 minutes to haul himself out of the ocean - all that with a temperature of minus 35°C! The explorer was in a bad way as a result and called for help while putting up his tent. On 9th March, an MI 8 helicopter came to his aid and took him back to Stredny Island. It was the same helicopter that undertook the initial search to try and locate Dominick Arduin.
For a man who was attempting a dual challenge and who intends undertaking a full crossing of the Arctic next year, things could not have got off to a worse start!