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Looking up – Spectre – Transantarctic Expedition

Looking up

Date = 3/12/2017
Day 14 (Expedition), Day 19 (Antarctica)
Location = Spectre low camp
Coordinates  – 86 03.312’, 150 50.361’
Altitude =  1077m
Temperature =  -10C
Wind speed / direction = 0 – 10knots
Windchill = -10C
Distance travelled = 5km
Distance remaining = 1739km

At last magnificent weather!  Dead calm, warm sun, almost gloves off at -10C

We have arrived in the Gothic Mountains
Motivation is matching the high pressure,
Charming us into a sense of possibility.

This is what we hoped for,
This is what we dreamt of,
This is why we came.

The Spectre is teasing us,
Antarctica plays with us her game.

This is the Spectre Expedition!

Situation report..

We noticed last night that one runner on Jean’s pulk had all but ripped off, likely damaged during the spicy descent to Graves Nunataks as the pulks slid violently sideways, and worsened by the miles of hard iced yesterday.

I think secretly ‘Mr Fix It’ himself, was probably quite excited by the prospect of a real crisis fix, and today took it upon himself to repair it to a better standard than when it began!

Meanwhile Mark and I went on our walking skis, roped up to recce the route to up to a base camp right below the Spectre. As usual what looks like an hour’s gentle stroll was more likea 2.5 hour uphill grunt. A thoroughly enjoyable and relaxed outing; precisely what was required after yesterday’s hijinks. And we have found one of the most beautiful camps sites on Earth!

After a windy start it has turned into the most perfect day. Our prayers for climbable conditions have been answered. If we get a week or so of this, anything is possible.

Here at the foot of the hill on the edge of the Scott glacier we will leave depot C. All the kiting gear, 12 days food and anything else we can do without. Man-hauling uphill is drastically more difficult than on the flat. Tomorrow we must ascend about 200m of a moderately steep snow slope. Only about 2.5km but I suspect it will take all of a casual day.

We arrived back at low camp just in time to help triumphant Jean with the final two-man task of reattaching his runner which he had of course fixed. After converting the tent to a workshop, he had successfully stripped it down using soap and ingenuity , replacing the rivets by sewing with 4mm cord and confident it will be as good as before. Hero! Big shout out to Carl Alvey, who guiding his own full South Pole expedition right now, took the time to respond to Jeans InReach message about pulk maintenance. Another hero!

We have a maximum of two weeks to explore the vertical possibilities of these sacred spires making our choices based on the weather / motivation equilibrium before we begin our long journey home. For now that is the distant future. Just yesterday we woke, freezing stranded in the midst of the Scott, it already seems an age ago! Time and space are bent out here in this endless day of adventure!

[Leo]

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