The North Pole Expedition
Pole Expedition 2005.
||El Polo Norte Expedicin
de 2005, ndice de aventura principal. Fotografa Digital Exhibicin del Museo.
Северный полюс экспедиция 2005 года, Главный Индекс Adventure. Цифровая фотография музейный экспонат.
This is the home page for the North Pole 2005 Expedition through Longyearbyen, Norway. The digital photography in this exhibit greatly enhances the pictures for a fantastic view of the North Pole, the city of Longyearbyen and the island of Spitsbergen, Svalbard, Norway.
Museum Exhibit. Beautiful Digital photography of the North Pole and Svalbard. This digital photography shows fantastic pictures of the expedition.
|North Pole Expedition 2005.|
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Please Note: The background on this page is an aerial photo of the sea ice near the island of Svalbard, Norway.
North Pole Expedition 2005.
|The North Pole Expedition of 2005 went through Longyearbyen Norway. Global Expedition Adventures hosted the yearly Expedition, as they have ever since 1997. The pages in this North Pole Exhibit will show Skydiving and Skiing on the North Pole plus other expeditions around the island of Spitsbergen, Svalbard, which include snowmobiling, cave exploring, and tours of various coal mines. Also in this exhibit, we were lucky enough to take a tour of the Norwegian Coast Guard Ice Breaker the KV Svalbard. Thank you very much and enjoy yourself. C. Jeff Dyrek, Expedition Leader / Webmaster.|
Expedition Leader: C. Jeff Dyrek
Expedition, U.S. Based, Administrator: Curtis Lieber
Click Here's Some great photos and Exhibits at Shultz.com.
Letter and Painting from Peter Baker from the North Pole Expedition of 2005.
Painting by Peter Baker.
|A letter from the Expedition Leader.
This was a very unique expedition and possibly the most elite group of people to travel to the North Pole. But here's some other things that happened on this expedition that I'm sure most of the expedition members were never aware of.
First of all here are some very odd records that have been set for the Leader, Jeff Dyrek.
1. I was the First Disabled Veteran to ever lead a North
All of this sounds pretty strange. However, the whole story started with my advertising the expedition on my website. Somewhere about January of 2005, Curtis called me and said that he needs help on the expedition. Just like for the 2004 expedition, I told him that I was not feeling well at all and I was absolutely not able to travel to the North Pole. Read the Webmasters Story Here. After talking with Curtis for a while, he finally said that he couldn't operate the expedition alone and he really needed help. I finally said that I would go, but only as a helper and I couldn't actually go to the pole myself because of my disabilities. He agreed and I accepted to go only to the city of Longyearbyen. Two days later he bought my tickets to Longyearbyen and it was set that I was indeed going to the other side of the world and work on another expedition.
A couple of days later, Curtis called me and said that he was going on the Peter Island DXpedition to Antarctica and that I would have to be the leader and do it myself. The DXpedition was an Amateur Radio Experiment.
Talking about the workload. All of a sudden I had to take care of all of the lodging, letters preparing everyone for the expedition, transportation to and from the airport and everything else. Getting hotel rooms in Longyearbyen is the worst job that I ever had to do, it was a nightmare. Luckily I knew everyone in Longyearbyen who had a hotel, a room for rent or even a cabin. But it was still a terrible job. As with every expedition, some of the members wanted to have the best hotel rooms and every time I booked the rooms, these members would call the hotels themselves and change everything on me.
I ended up making a spreadsheet of all available rooms in the city and figured out who was going where. I sent regular updates to Longyearbyen so the hotel managers knew what was going on. But, some expedition members persisted and still changed their rooms. Finally I had to call the hotels and tell them to only take reservations from me, only, and I gave the hotels a list of everyone on the expedition so that any other attempts for changes would be blocked.
Curtis did the work of hiring an expert ski guide. The guide was paid about fifteen thousand dollars for the job and had all transportation, lodging and meals paid for by Curtis. The guide kept raising the saying that he needed new skis, boots and just about everything else. Now, you would think that as expensive as these trips are, that the tour operator, in this case Global Expedition Adventures, would be making a lot of money. But the truth is that with all of the expenses of advertising, preparing, phone calls, guides, transportation, weather delay expenses, EXP clothing, equipment storage and others, that the profit margin is actually very low.
For this expedition, I had to work for three months continuously, ten to twelve hours a day, seven days a week, just to get everything organized. The only money that I handled was to make deposits for the rooms, some of which had to be sent by wire and not credit cards. As the time came nearer, the professional ski guide kept telling Curtis to go through another polar operator other than the Russians which would save a lot of money and expand the profit margin for Global Expedition Adventures.
It turned out that after Curtis sent the money to the other operator, (No names here), they weren't even ready to go. They didn't even have a helicopter that was ready, no safety systems in place and that's what happened to the money that suddenly disappeared, as the expedition members had soon learned. I have no idea when all of this changing actually happened, but about two weeks before the expedition was to leave, I was told that the entire expedition was off and I was to cancel everyone's hotel rooms. The hotel managers were super mad at me because everyone, myself and the hotel managers, had done so much work moving everyone around from room to room, ensuring that the expedition members would have a single room to stay during their expedition. Now everything was off and all of this work was wasted.
A couple of days later, Curtis called me and said that the expedition was back on, but a number of members did indeed cancel out altogether. I had real nice forms made out for everyone showing their rooms, dates and events, but these forms were now invalid. For the expedition members that totally cancelled out, I put a big "X" on the form and still carried it with me to Longyearbyen.
In the next several days, Curtis took all of his money out of the bank, I believe he sold a couple of houses and really almost had to bankrupt himself, but he came up with only enough money to get some of the people to the pole. After counting the money and figuring how many people he could get to the pole on the new budget, he decided to pay for the largest number of people which meant that the people who took the less expensive tours went while the others were stuck having to pay for the trip again. These people were the Chinese Skiers.
All of a sudden, I had to get all of the rooms setup again and the manager at the Radisson Hotel said that after this trip, they will never work with Global Expedition Adventures again. As the expedition came closer I was told that some members were indeed going, but still some were cancelled. There was only a week left and Curtis stopped communicating with me. I still had the skydivers checked off, Peter Baker was checked off and I can't remember who else. I had no choice but to assume that these members were not even going to show up in Longyearbyen.
About five days before the expedition, I was doing a final check of my equipment and found out that all of my medicine was gone. It was because, Blaire, the girl that does my scanning was taking a couple of pills a day out of my medicine cabinet when I wasn't watching. I had saved up enough medicine to make it through the trip and it was a narcotic drug which I had to sign for. I had to call the police and have her arrested. They immediately went to her house and found that she had five pills in her possession. I still pressed charges and she ended spending a month in jail and a year on probation. However, I needed to get the police report, take it all the way to Peoria, and get new medicine from the VA Medical Center.
It was two days before I had to leave. I had made arrangements with my older brother to take care of my 89 year old mom while I was gone and he called me, assuring me that he would be at my mom's house on the day that I was to leave. I thought that everything was set up and my home obligations were taken care of.
Now, was the day that I had to drive to Chicago to catch my flight. Just one hour before I left, my brother called and said that he had car trouble, but again assured me that he would be at my mom's house the very next day and that I had nothing to worry about. I packed all of my gear in my truck and headed out for Chicago, which is about two hundred and fifty miles away.
So finally I landed in Copenhagen. I hate the way that the airlines allow only about an hour to catch the next flight to Oslo because I had to go through customs and to another concourse that feels like it was about a mile of walking in all. I'm disabled and when I walk too fast, sit up in a chair for only a few minutes, have jarring and a number of other things, I end up tearing the adhesions in my abdomen and it's nothing but bad news. And, this time I did hurt myself, but not real bad.
Landing in Longyearbyen was a relief. I arrived two days earlier than anyone else just to get organized and have a day to relax. Then the expedition members started showing up and I had to pick everyone up at the airport. I still had the skydivers and a couple of others crossed off of the list and I still had no communications with Curtis. I was a lone wolf who had to do everything on my own with no assistance from anyone from Global Expedition Adventures.
As the next couple of days moved along, I picked up everyone that I had listed, but the other tour operators said that I had some really pissed off customers at the airport. I didn't know how that was because I did pick up everyone that was on my list. I realized that the lack of communication with Curtis caused me to make this error.
But, finally everyone was present and I knew who I had to take care of. I suddenly found out that the Chinese Ski Team didn't have any money paid for their trip to the pole. Cao Jun realized that I had no knowledge of this problem. Well, I had to do something so I grabbed the very first tour operator that I knew and set the Chinese Team up with him. This was the Northwest Passage company from Chicago. I knew that they were very professional and their guides were some of the best. Cao Jun had to set up another payment to be transferred to this company, making the Chinese Ski Team members having to pay twice.
As for the rest of our expedition members, It turned out that Victor Boyarski wanted the Chinese to go with him and he was super mad at me and would not even tell me anything on who to contact about our flight schedule, skydiving or anything. I asked him time after time and he very politely said that he would get right back to me and then just walked away, jumped in a car and left. We still paid Victor over a hundred thousand dollars yet he didn't want deal with me. (Victor, I'm still mad at you and I think that you are very, very unprofessional and did not uphold your part of our contract) Finally, Victor Serov grabbed me and said here is your flight schedule and here is who you need to talk to, to get your skydivers to jump over the pole.
I took the skydivers to meet the flight coordinator, Daniel. At the last minute we found out that there was never any arrangements to have a jumpmaster for the skydivers. We called my friend in Moscow and finally with Sergey'a approval, Daniel allowed the three jumpers to act as their own jumpmaster, since all of them had more than a thousand jumps already.
I just went three days with only a couple of hours of sleep and we still needed to get our EXP equipment distributed. I'm pretty sure how this next problem happened, I distributed all of the equipment and I remember setting a pair of boots on my paperwork. Somehow my whole book ended up in Dick Shultz's boot bag. At the time I didn't know this. I looked everywhere, went back to the storage and woke up Johan Sletten to open his storage area. I went through everything, through the hotels, talked to the managers of the hotels, taxi's and restaurants asking them if they have seen the book and if they do find it, to contact the Spitsbergen Guesthouse to let me know. The bus driver and taxi drivers knew me from years before and when they didn't have anyone in their vehicles, they picked me up while I was walking on the side of the road, but didn't charge me for the ride. I'm laughing right this moment thinking of the super mess everything was.
We finally got everything ready to go and all of the problems solved. I really appreciate Randy suggesting and everyone else agreeing to pay my way on the snowmobile trip to the Tempelfjorden tour. I really wanted to go, but I was already hurting pretty bad and was heavily medicated plus I was afraid that I would end up with the internal bleeding problem starting up again. This would have been really bad. Click Here to see a 43 second video on what happens when I have these problems.
After everyone came back from the pole and headed for home, I did take a trip with Johan Sletten to Barentsburg to see my friends Andreau and his wife Sovietka who I had met a couple of years earlier.
Luckily, everything worked out pretty well with the exception that the Chinese had to pay for everything twice. The last time that I talked to Curtis, he was still trying to get his money back from the other North Pole company. I am sending my apologies to the Chinese because everyone on their team and Richard Ming just treated me fantastic.
On the way home, I was walking through the Copenhagen Airport again and I saw a man sitting in a waiting area for his plane. I stopped and looked right at him and said, "Don't I know you?" He looked at me like I was some kind of nut. I then said, "Are you Peter?" He said that he was. I speak kind of loudly and I said that he was the doctor that operated on me so many times. Next I said that I'm writing a story, "Why God Sent Me to the North Pole." A lot of people stood up and gathered around to hear about this interesting title. I then told Peter that all of the fifteen or sixteen operations that he did on my stomach were totally unnecessary. All I needed was the vodka that the Russians gave me in 2002. I had an infection in my esophagus that caused the restriction that restricted my ability to eat properly. He absolutely didn't want to hear this and walked away. It's interesting that these operations cost me more than a hundred thousand dollars and all I really needed was to get drunk. Read 1st Timothy 5:23 to find out why. I then realized that he didn't want to hear about my problems when I was paying him, so why would he want to hear about them when I wasn't paying him. His whole exam lasted fifteen seconds and then I ended up with all of these operations that have caused me to be totally disabled ever since the middle 1990's.
When I finally got home, I walked to the door and saw my mom there. She was really glad to see me. She lost about twenty pounds and when I asked her how she was, she replied in a weak squeaky voice, "I'm OK" I asked her where my brother Jackie was and she said that he never showed up. My brother Jackie has a million dollars in the bank and he couldn't even take care of his mom. Please excuse my language, but he's a prick. The stress of finding my mom in such bad condition has hurt me very badly and I have never recovered. I have PTSD from my accident in the U.S. Navy and finding out that my mom was left alone for all of this time made my stress disorders much worse.
Click Here's an important note about the ski guide hired by Curtis. As I started meeting people on this expedition, I found out that the ski guide actually worked for another company all of the time. It was his persistent effort that convinced Curtis to switch to the other company.
After this expedition, I was hired to lead both the 2006 and 2007 Expeditions, but it was just impossible. I've been bed almost continuously since 2005 and really since 2003 with only short breaks in the pain periods. I can't do anything except to sit and type on the computer. I'm not able to even work at my desk because any movement, from side to side, causes the staples in my stomach to cut the diaphragm, or something, and in just a minute of working at the desk, I'm bleeding and cannot move for a month or so. From early December 2007 to Early May 2008, I have been in bed all of the time and if it wasn't for having to drive to Peoria to the VA Hospital twice, I would have the same tank of gas that I bought in early December.
So, Now you know what part of the behind the scenes activities look like on a North Pole Expedition.
OK, Here's the latest news 12 May 2008
I talked to the IRS about not being able to file my income tax for the last several years. I have a letter that they sent to me that says they owe me 256 for 2007, but now they are going to charge me the full tax, with no personal deductions, add interest and fines which comes to over ten thousand dollars. They said that if I don't have everything completed by June 12th, 2008 that they will take it out of my disability which will leave me about nine months without pay. Can you believe that the IRS can be so vicious that they will attach a persons disability. The doctors took all of my money, I can't work and this will force me to file bankruptcy, I will have to move out of the garage, (yes, I live in a garage), and I will have to move into the wilderness. I will have no address so I will never get any disability payments again. I take care of my mom who is now 92 and she will have to move to the nursing home. She will lose her pets, which are her babies, and lose her house and property and then just sit in the nursing home (A Jail to Her) until she dies.
I was reading about Nancy Pelosi, the Speaker of the House for the United States, and Nancy recently spent 16,000 of taxpayers money for flowers and then paid a speech writer 10,000 to write her speech. That's 26,000 of American Taxpayer money. After a very short look on the web, I found out that there are over 400,000 Disabled Veterans in the United States who are homeless. I have a huge handful of brochures that say, "Join the Army and Be All That You Can Be."
On my other computer monitor, I am now looking at a Soldier with no leg. Another Soldier with no face and even another Soldier with no life. Yes, These people became all they can be, disabled and dead and homeless, yet the U.S. Government doesn't care about this super embarrassment of 400,000 homeless disabled vets. I have six years in the Navy and six years working for the Army and I will soon become homeless vet number 400,001. Yet I cannot sit up to figure out how much money I made and how many expenses that I have so I can make out my tax return. The Veterans Administration said that they cannot help me, I have to hire an accountant to figure out all of this. I'm sorry! The doctors took my money and left me in an even worse condition than when I was before seeing them.
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