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21 Mar, 2008 12:10

Night trekkers set new polar record

Two Russian explorers have set a world record by reaching the North Pole during the Polar night. It took them 84 days in unimaginable cold – but they did it!

Matvey Shparo and Boris Smolin travelled more than one thousand kilometres in pitch darkness. They completed their hazardous trek, although disaster almost struck – on two occasions Shparo fell through thin ice into the icy Arctic waters.

“When my son called me on the phone, he said that their flashlights could only cover about three metres because of the severe weather conditions. Imagine, what may happen if a polar bear approaches you and you can’t see or hear him,” said Dmitry Shparo, Matvey’s father.

Their plan was to reach the North Pole by the first sunrise of the year, scheduled for today, March 21. However the pair beat their estimated arrival time by a week and are now waiting to be picked up from the Pole by special service helicopters from the mainland.

Their journey began on December 22 last year.

During the course of their journey, they had to battle freezing temperatures, the lack of light and frostbite.

They say they are now looking forward to a hot shower, a clean shave and a kiss from their wives.