Getting into a rhythm
Waking at 6 am UTC I felt unrested as it had been a stormy night! I was on the verge of needing to build an ice-wall on the upwind side of the tent but not quite – so I slept like a cat, listening for increases in wind that might cause any damage to the tent, or require me to part from my beloved sleeping bag and get to work amongst the elements! Thankfully it never got over 30 knots, although the air temperature plummeted accordingly with the wind chill and so I wasn’t keen to go outside if I could help it!
By 9 am I was packed and ready – I frustrate myself with how slow I’m moving at the moment – I feel like I’m stuck in treacle some days. Maybe I’m still feeling sluggish as I adjust to the altitude?
The wind was strong, around 25kts. I pulled out my 6m storm kite and it ripped me straight out of my skis when it launched. Any bigger kite size would have been lethal! It was a wild day racing through snow clouds and dodging more sastrugi. Fatigued from all the day’s adrenaline fuelled activity, I called it quits after managing to travel 68km. I was so exhausted, that I managed to spill the water pot in the tent and my dehydrated stew on the same night! In a polar region this is a big stuff-up as I was forced to use extra fuel, whilst running both stoves until all moisture was out of the tent and I could finally hit my sleeping bag for the evening.
Week 1 wrap-up. 403 km made on skis and 3000 vertical feet gained in altitude. Sled weight dropped from 220 kg to 210 kg. Just under 1200 km to go until I reach the Pole of Inaccessibility – no Aussie has ever made it there solo and unsupported, that’s exciting! I’m managing the cold better than I have been and I’m becoming more accustomed to the solitude. Love to all back home. Geoff.