Day 38 – Wipeout
Lat S87deg 27.355’
Long W82deg 54.722’
Daily distance 8.92nm
I’ll start with a quote from Apsley Cherry-Garrard who
was one of the early pioneers in Antarctica and came here with Captain Scott
over 100 years ago;
“Polar exploration is at once the cleanest and most isolated way of having a bad time which has been devised”
He also wrote a book called The Worst Journey In The World so maybe he was a glass half empty person. I can sympathise to a degree but my woes are probably small fry in comparison.
It was the coldest night so far and as a consequence I still had ice on my jacket lapels this morning and my buff and face mask were still damp and cold. I peeked outside to a whiteout and thought I’d be in for a gloomy day. However, after breakfast and leaving the tent the sun was out so I did a little jig! This must have upset someone as within a couple of hours it was back to clouds and poor visibility. Not quite whiteout yet as you could see a couple of metres but it was very difficult to pick a route through the sastrugi which were beginning to dominate. You could see a horizon and tantalisingly there was a patch of blue sky which never got any closer and eventually disappeared along with the horizon and any other visibility plus the prospect of a reasonable total.
It was very hard going and such a slog. There was no way of knowing what you were skiing over and I fell over quite a few times. One of these was thanks to Percy. Having just come off a ridge I hit another one just in time for him to come hurtling down afterwards and taking me out!
Breaks were not to be enjoyed either with the biting minus 35 windchill so I ended up finishing with two 3 hour sessions as this was far more appealing than stopping. It resulted in me skiing for more time than normal but I still ended up with under 9 nautical miles. I’m a couple of miles short of the next waypoint but I’ll pass through that in the morning now along with passing the three quarters done point.
It’s not all that bad really and who said it was going to be easy anyway? One positive from today was that I started using my pogies (see picture). They’re brilliant and are such a big protection for your hands in this cold and wind. Also, no adverse affects from swapping boot liners so now my toes are back to being toasty too! So maybe Apsley wasn’t right after all….
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