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MOSCOW, April 11 (Itar-Tass) - World-famous Russian traveler Fyodor Konyukhov and his mate Viktor Simonov, who set off for a dogsled expedition to Greenland via the North Pole on April6, have covered their first one hundred kilometers on the way to the North Pole, Konyukhov’s son, Oskar, who head the expedition’s headquarters, told Itar-Tass over the phone on Thursday from the Russian polar station Barneo.
The expedition is moving along longitude 55 West across Arctic ice packs. The journey is becoming more and more difficult as the expedition proceeds further to the south, with thinner ice, bigger ice holes, more ice cracks and water openings, Oskar cited his father as saying. Even before the start, Fyodor Konyukhov said his expedition might be the “utmost” one in this century to follow this route because of the climate change in the Arctic.
The two men have already seen a polar bear. Luckily, the beast did not come too close to them. But it was perfectly seen on the background of ice hummocks.
Konyukhov and Simonov plan to cross the Arctic by mid-June at which point they will change their sled dogs of the Russian breed for two teams of dogs of Greenland’s breed, since local laws prohibit to bring animals to Greenland, an autonomous country within the Kingdom of Denmark.
The expedition will proceed in several stages during which the explorers will reach the North Pole and then cross the Greenland from North to South. This will be the longest and most hazardous route in the Arctic. At the end of the 1970s, legendary Japanese explorer Naomi Uemura tried to accomplish this task for the first time. However, he did not succeed in doing this completely - because of the slow progress at the very start, a polar bear attack and bad weather he had to fly to Greenland from the North Pole by plane.
Over the next four months, the expedition is to cover a distance of more than 4,000 kilometers.