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Ulrich is rescued from the Arctic ice

Thomas Ulrich's lone adventure was shorter than foreseen Keystone

Adventurer Thomas Ulrich has been picked up by helicopter from an ice floe off Russia after being forced to give up a solo crossing of the North Pole.

This content was published on March 12, 2006 - 12:28

Bad weather had hampered the rescue mission for the 39-year-old Swiss, who had only begun his expedition to cross the Arctic Ocean from Siberia to Canada last Wednesday.

The team that was monitoring Ulrich by satellite telephone from his home town of Interlaken in the Bernese Oberland said Ulrich was "considering the circumstances, fine" and was not suffering any frostbite.

He was picked up late on Saturday evening and was first taken to the island of Sredny in the Severnaya Zemlya archipelago before travelling further south.

Ulrich, who started his crossing from Cape Arctichesky, intended to make the crossing via the North Pole on skis, pulling a sledge that carried all the provisions he required for the three months.

The plan was to cover the distance of about 1,800 kilometres within 90 to 100 days.

Call for help

But the ice on which he was walking broke free and he was forced on Thursday to call for help after losing part of his equipment.

He sheltered in his tent for two days waiting for the weather to improve before rescuers could set out to reach him.

Ulrich's web site describes the solo crossing as "without doubt one of the last great challenges".

It notes that to date there has not been a successful solo crossing of the vast ice desert from the top end of Siberia to Canada without support.

Dominick Ardouin, who had dual French and Finnish nationality, died attempting a similar expedition in 2004.

Two Americans had to be rescued attempting the same crossing in June last year.

Switzerland's George Baumann postponed a similar trip last month, citing south winds and too thin ice.

But Mike Horn, who lives in Switzerland, and a Norwegian, are continuing their North Pole Winter Expedition. They left Cape Arctichesky for the North Pole on January 21.

swissinfo with agencies

Key facts

Thomas Ulrich lives in the Bernese resort town of Interlaken.
He is 39, married and has three daughters.
Ulrich specialises in outdoor and adventure photography.
A mountain guide, he is also a film cameraman and producer.
He has filmed for Swiss television on the north face of the Eiger and on Mount Everest.

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