Day 12 Whiteouts, new sleeping attire and record 17.5km

Oh, wow today was hard!! Really hard! It started off with very strong winds to greet me as I had to pack up the tent, just to bid me good morning! It was bright at least at the start. This however soon changed as clouds sped overhead. Within an hour or so visibility deteriorated to a complete whiteout. I never tire of saying how strange it is in a whiteout! You know you are moving but it feels like you are staying in the same position! There is absolutely nothing to see to judge your movement…

Until you land right on top of a sastrugi that comes as a complete surprise as you can’t see them… they are all just white! There were plenty of sastrugi today, and the winds never did let up. There was also a lot of fresh snow, creating what I described to myself as “puddles of snow.” The wind blows the snow into hollows between sastrugi and other snow formation forming ‘puddles’. That makes life even harder. When you are skiing and pulling the sled over the hard compact snow, it glides okay and just bounces along. However when you get to these snow puddles and you sink into them. And there is no more glide! So, it’s harder to pull the sled! Exhausting stuff! Oh, and then my neck and shoulders. They just never seem to want to get better properly; painful throughout the day but as I say… just about tolerable! I think I am going to have to work out how to live with the pain for the expedition as there are only so many painkillers left in the medkit!

sleeping in 24 hr sunlight

So now have camped and about to eat and sleep. It’s quite hard to sleep here because of the 24 hours if sunlight. I cover my head with my hat. I also have an eye mask and a buff in which I have cut a hole for breathing. Otherwise it would just get wet from my breath. Looks quite funny really but it just about works. My air mattress as a puncture which for the life of me, I have been unable to find. Very annoying! So, I have to spend a few minutes filling that up as well each night. Oh well.

It’s snowing again meaning tomorrow is going to be hard as well. Never an easy or simple day here.

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Visit Ben’s blog site to hear Ben’s audio diary from his overnight camp.

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