Day 35 – Slips, trips and falls

31st December 2019 0 By admin

Lat S86deg 55.650’
Long W82deg 03.528’
Altitude 2068m
Daily distance 12.16nm

Well that was fun! Whiteout the whole day and very brief spells where I could see around ten feet in front but the contrast was so poor it hardly mattered.
It was very cold the whole day too with frost forming on everything including my towing traces. Every time I moved my hood a shower of frost would fall from the fur ruff and even now in the tent having eaten I’m still feeling pretty cold thanks to no sun radiating through.
On the plus side there wasn’t even the slightest breath of wind. Every break I just wanted to soak it up despite the cold. We never get the opportunity back home to experience total silence and standing here in a whiteout in the middle of Antarctica just listening to it is really quite special.
The terrain yet again flattened out for most of the morning. This was a huge bonus as not being able to see was hard enough.
Then it changed.
For large parts of the afternoon and evening the sastrugi and duning became more prevalent. It’s pot luck if you end up on top of them or coming down off them in a whiteout so you just have to go for it and hope you get a clue before it’s too late. This doesn’t always happen. I’ve had my fair share of falls so far in the past five weeks, mainly through not concentrating and letting my skis cross and sometimes I just seem to fall over for the sake of it. Today though, it was when you weren’t expecting it and one or two of them were quite juicy! One had me straight onto my back when coming off some sastrugi I hadn’t noticed and it really knocked the wind out of me. Having wished away all the snow it’s my own fault it wasn’t a soft landing and the harder icy surface here is a lot less forgiving. It’s only the start of the sastrugi but tomorrow it’s supposed to start clearing by mid morning so will be nice to navigate my way through them instead as they get bigger.
I’ve been consistent with the mileage and really hoping I can maintain this through the sastrugi for the next degree then hopefully I can stretch my legs after that. Most of the altitude will be gained by the end of the 87th degree and I added another 150 metres today so pretty pleased and around 700 metres more to climb from here to the pole.

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