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Cosy nest! – Spectre – Transantarctic Expedition

Cosy nest!

Date = 15/12/2017
Day 25 (Expedition), Day 31 (Antarctica)
Location = Scott Glacier/ Robison glacier
Coordinates  – 86•22.472, 148•59.417
Altitude =  1533m
Temperature =  -15C
Wind speed / direction = 5 – 20knot, South,  sunny
Windchill = -27C
Distance travelled = 18.2km
Distance remaining = 1394km

Mark and Jean – my heroes.

Our sleeping arrangement consists of one and a half extra thick closed cell foam pads, the half converts into a seat, with a really comfortable Sea to Summit insulated, inflatable mattress. We have extremely warm Berghaus down sleeping bags that are very roomy to allow for all kinds of stuff inside such as boot liners, gloves, camera, batteries. We also have fleece liners which can be used with the sleeping bag on really cold nights or more recently instead of the sleeping bag as it is surprisingly warm in the tent when the sun is out. Our down jackets are stuffed into pillowcases to finish off our wonderfully cosy nests! When we are on the move, all this is zipped into a long, flat bedding bag that fits nicely along the whole top of the pulk.  It’s a great system to quickly organise everything and pack / unpack camp. All we have to bring in each night is the bedding bag and a small 40l personal bag.

It was much less windy this morning and remarkably pleasant in the tent. We packed up camp in a reasonably efficient 2 hours. It takes ages to melt snow for hot drinks, porridge type breakfasts and to fill all our flasks and water bottles for the day.

We started on decent terrain on skis and after 3 hours switched to crampons to walk on the ridiculously slippery blue ice. The good thing is that the heavy pulks glide easily over the ice, much more so than even hard snow.

The bad thing was as more and more larger crevasses blocked our way, we had to cross more and more scary snow bridges, and zig zag around the weak ones.

We are roped together in case we fall into a crevasse but it means we can’t stop even for a second without yelling and stopping the others. With so many layers of clothes, climbing harness plus crevasse rescue kit, pulk harness, pockets full of cameras, GPS, goggles and gloves it is all very claustrophobic.

If you are very military about the operation, and nobody messes around, it is possible to slowly chip away at great distances.

Today we did 18.2km, half of which was technical terrain in 10 hours. We are now at the head of the Scott Glacier and by tomorrow night should be well onto the Robison Glacier. We are making progress, slow and hard as it maybe, in the right direction. We are working well as a team and just about smiling through all the challenges.

We a hoping after another day or two on hauling, the terrain may allow us to kite upwind for some distance. It may not, and upwind, with a heavy load, is a real challenge and might not be much quicker than walking, but it’s more fun and less tiring, so if we get the chance we will give it a go.

[Leo]

 

 

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