[Worldkings] Top 100 pioneers in all fields (P. 44) Naomi Uemura (Japan): The first person to reach the North Pole solo


(Worldkings.org) Naomi Uemura, a Japanese explorer, has become the first person to reach the North Pole alone in a dog sled after having struggled across 600 miles of the Greenlandic ice sheet and survived attacks by a marauding polar bear.

Naomi Uemura (February 12, 1941 – disappeared February 13, 1984) was a Japanese adventurer who was known particularly for his solo exploits. He was the first person to raft the Amazon solo, the first person to climb Denali solo, and especially the first person to reach the North Pole solo.


About his journey to the North Pole, Uemura wrote that he nearly gave up twice during his 1978 trip. On the fourth day of his trek, a polar bear invaded his camp, ate his supplies, and poked his nose against the sleeping bag where Uemura lay tense and motionless. When the bear returned the next day, Uemura was ready and shot him dead. On the 35th day of the trip, Uemura had hunkered down on an ice floe with his malamutes, when there was the roar of breaking the ice and the floe cracked into pieces. He and his dogs were stranded on a tossing island of ice. After a night of terror, Uemura found a 3-foot-wide (0.91 m) ice bridge and raced to safety.


He persevered and became the first ever to reach the North Pole solo. Describing his 57-day push, he wrote, "What drove me to continue then was the thought of countless people who had helped and supported me and the knowledge that I could never face them if I gave up." In this trip, he cooperated with the Canadian Air Force and received his supplies from its helicopters. After the trip, he questioned such extensive support and decided to carry supplies on his own back.

After the North Pole trip Uemura became the first person to complete a dogsled journey down the entire length of the Greenlandic ice sheet. He completed the trip from May 10 to August 22, 1978. A commemorative plaque is located in Narsarsuaq in the south of Greenland.


According to Wikipedia

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