Published: January 2007
Did You Know?
In Did You Know? the National Geographic magazine team shares extra information we gathered to expand your knowledge of our featured subjects.

How do you get home from the North Pole?

Børge and Mike were picked up near the Pole by helicopter and flown 15 minutes to the Borneo Ice Camp, a privately operated drifting camp and airbase established yearly at roughly 89°N. When they arrived, the camp was in the process of being set up for the season, and one of the major tasks was finding a stretch of ice to serve as the runway. Until a runway was made, the camp relied solely on helicopters and airdrops. (One tractor, airdropped to help create the runway, shattered into a thousand pieces when its parachute failed to open.) Once the airstrip was selected, the ice still needed to be smoothed out. To do this, holes were drilled down to the seawater, which, under the immense pressure of the ice floe, flowed up through the holes and out over the ice, freezing into a surface suitable for landings and takeoffs. On April 5, two weeks after they had reached the Pole, Børge and Mike finally boarded a plane and set out for home.

—Emily Krieger