Head of the first skiing expedition to the North Pole

There are no unachievable tasks; there are hesitant people

“I am absolutely confident that journeys are extremely useful for a person’s status and for his or her cultural development.” *

“Since time immemorial, people have striven to reach areas and those far-away polar countries where the Polar Star hangs motionless in the skies, where both sides of the compass’ arrow point south, where the sun rises once a year, where a six-month day gives way to a six-month night, where one day equals one year, and where 100 days equal one century.”

“Various countries competed with one another, as they strove to be the first to reach the North Pole. Everyone tried to reach it, one way or another, aboard dog sleds, airships, planes, submarines and icebreakers. But no one traveled on foot. We were the first to walk there; this became a beautiful historical milestone linked with the human body’s potential, rather than technical progress.”

“I would like to thank Moscow State University for an opportunity to study mathematics there and for learning to travel in real earnest.”

“I remember clearly those torments when the teeth of all seven expedition members chattered at night, as we froze inside sleeping bags. I remember the hatred caused by a 50-kilogramme satchel, especially if it was packed incorrectly. I remember the horror of approaching hunger. These sufferings were purely physical. It may be strange, but the heart rejoiced because we had the guts not to turn back and to stand fast. Quite possibly, this is all about coping with one’s weaknesses. This is what you remember. The awesome beauty of ice formations also serve as magnets.”

“There are no unachievable tasks; there are hesitant people”

“Technical progress helped reduce life-threatening risks, as compared to those 100-150 years ago. But the risk of an abortive expedition remains high. And no one will save you if a polar bear steps on your head at night.”

“The spirit of adventure or the desire of humans to respond to challenges is an aspect of civilisation’s development. To despise or to ignore this trait is to ignore the inborn feeling of curiosity that charges humans with energy.”

* The information is based on the accounts of the person featuring in this section as well as accounts of their family members, acquaintances and colleagues