THE JOURNAL consists of selected, most notable and newsworthy POSTINGS OF THE DAY.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

North Pole Trek

Mazlina suffers near mishaps and frostbite

SVALBARD (Norway): In -35°C to -38°C, Datin Paduka Sharifah Mazlina Syed Abdul Kadir faced her toughest challenge, two days into her North Pole trek. Her skis got caught in a pressure ridge, her sled fell into an ice crack and the most heart-stopping moment of all was when she was briefly separated from her guide as the ice beneath her split and she drifted away.

She said the incidents tested her nerves and physical strength. “When my skis fell into a pressure ridge that opened up without warning beneath me, the skins underneath each ski that provided friction were torn off. It took quite a toll on my knees and legs, so much so I had to stop at one point and use my guide’s extra pair of skis. The second incident followed soon after the first, when my sled was the next to tumble into a crack in the ice. Luckily everything was strapped firmly and nothing slipped out or got wet.”

Even more arduous was when the ice beneath her feet again suddenly
opened up and she found herself on a different iceberg and drifting away from her guide Svante Strand. The abruptness within which it all happened gave her little time to react other than to push her sled towards Svante who grabbed it by the ropes while she ran around to find a smaller gap on the drifting ice to jump towards him.

“If I had lingered in trying to find a way across, the gap would have been bigger and made it impossible for me to jump across,” she added. Sharifah Mazlina also suffered frostbite. The right side of her cheek and her right thumb were affected and she then immediately applied heat packs to them. “Despite the thick clothing and protection from the harsh arctic elements, nature still manages to get to you,” she said.

Sharifah Mazlina said she had covered just 7km after an eight-hour walk, drifting 2km from the 110km course. Her GPS location yesterday was N89.04.39 / E80.56.54 - The Star.