Day 28

24th December 2019 2 By admin

Day 28
Lat S85deg 31.696’
Long W81deg 03.736’
Altitude 1447m
Daily distance 8.63nm

Quite a challenging day and mileage reflects it. Whiteout continued and stayed in place throughout the day. Forecast is for it to start to improve tomorrow morning so that’s good news.
It had snowed continuously through the night too. Only lightly but enough for one to two inches of powder. Added to the whiteout there was no hope of seeing any contrast in the terrain even at my feet but fortunately the sastrugi were largely absent. Either that or I was extremely lucky. What wasn’t lucky was the addition of a short sharp height gain. Didn’t know until I was on it but it made for very hard work. The powder snow made it very slippy and getting any purchase was difficult. After getting nowhere I thought I might have to relay my load by taking my bedding bag and tent then coming back for Percy and so on. Not a great idea as being separated from any essential kit is risky plus with the visibility being so poor I couldn’t go far before the other half was out of sight. Instead I opted to remove my skis and let them have a ride on Percy. You’re a lot safer on skis with any crevasse risk but where I am now carries minimal risk. It proved to be a good decision as I made progress. Slow, but better to go forward with all your effort than struggle to not go backwards or even stay upright. As soon as the gradient eased I switched back. Good job as I was just starting to feel hot spots on my heels and I’d hate to get blisters now!
One of the things I’ve found in this whiteout is that I have a tendency to steer to my right when not concentrating on the compass. Very disorienting and when correcting it feels like I’ve gone full circle. I guess it’s the same as trying to walk in a straight line with your eyes closed. Another is finding a tent pitch. No way of telling if it’s any good or on a slant so it’s just hope for the best. Fortunately both last night and tonight have been ok.
I’ve crossed over to 81 degrees west now and will continue to get deeper into it as I head south. This is to avoid some crevassing later on but better to start moving now to anticipate it. Hoping for an improvement on the miles tomorrow if the whiteout lifts!

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