Polar vagabonds

Date = 20/12/2017
Day 30 (Expedition), Day 36 (Antarctica)
Location = circa Tango 3, South Pole traverse
Coordinates  – S86 37.319’, W136 43.143’
Altitude =  2343m
Temperature =  -24C
Wind speed / direction = 10 – 20knot ESE, sunny
Windchill = -35C
Distance travelled = 46km (117km total tacked up wind)
Distance remaining = 1321km

Just like a park bench.

A full on day of upwind kiting across the California plateau. We covered a point to point distance of 46km, and total tack distance of 117km.  Strong wind and blue ice pushed us hard, but we fought back with our weapons of choice, high aspect ratio performance kites and World Cup giant slalom race skis. I don’t think what we did today would have possible with any other set up. Even with the razor edges and incredible stiffness of the skis, it was impossible to hold an edge on the ice and we pushed the kites to their limit aggressively cutting into wind for almost 10 hours. We used all three sizes of kites (15m, 12m, 9m) through wind from 8 to 20+ knots.

It feels good to be pushing some ‘nuskool’ kiting down here in the midst of an expedition. We are now 35km from our first depot, the next 120km further, due south. With perfect wind we could do that in a day! Walking it’ll take 10. Realistically we hope to try to snatch at least a couple more upwind sessions but are resided to more walking sooner or later.

We are tired but happy. We have become a tight little unit by now. Unphased by conditions and terrain that would have freaked us out a month ago. We are polar vagabonds with everything we need to survive and thrive out here for another month! It’s pretty incredible to be so far from everybody else on planet Earth, and so totally self-sufficient. And so utterly dependent on the mood swings of Antarctic winds…
Must rest…


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