National Geographic : 1978 Sep
Last dose of companion ship before two months of solitude keeps Uemura in stitches (left) as he sews a wolverine hood cover in his base camp at Alert, Can ada. Uemura outfitted himself Eskimo fashion with a caribou-fur jacket, polar-bearskin trousers, and sealskin boots. At Qanaq, near Thule, Green land, he commissioned an Eskimo artisan to build from oak a 4.5-meter (15 foot) sled (below, left). Rough ice and deep snow later forced Uemura to ex change it for a lighter and shorter one of pine. At $150 a head, sled dogs are valuable cargo; Ue mura loads a husky (right) into a DC-3 en route from Qanaq to the base camp. Uemura used 14 to 17 dogs to pull the sled. He was fi nanced largely by Japanese media interests. At 37, Uemura is no stranger to solo epic adven tures. He has scaled the highest peaks in North America, South America, and Africa; rafted 6,000 ki lometers down the Ama zon; and mushed more than 12,000 kilometers from Greenland to Alaska-the longest solo dogsled trip on record. He has also climbed Mount Everest with the first Japanese expedition to reach the summit. "Sharing a project means sharing the satisfac tion from it," Uemura ex plains. "Iwanttodoa project all by myself."