Day 25 Back to the grindstone change of winds sastrugi hell and 26.5km

Well, back to the grindstone. I always knew the good conditions over the last few days wouldn’t last and today the weather did indeed change. Return of the whiteout! All day, and it’s snowing now.

Change of wind direction

The winds have changed with some northeasterlies – until now they have always come from the south, mainly south south west but occasionally from south south east as well. At least it meant for a “tail wind”, not that that helped at all! The change brought the heavy blanketed cloud that made it impossible to make anything out in the snow, making it a pretty challenging day.

Sastrugi – detailed description of hellstrugi

As you might have guessed, with my generally obsession with them, it was the sastrugi that created the most problems. I keep trying to think how to describe them better and the photo I posted didn’t do then justice. Imagine you are on a road, and you have your stepped curbs on the sidewalk… only the steps go out into the road, but often there are multiple steps. Some steps are 10cm, some are 50cm, some reach up a metre, or taller. Some steps have drops going deeper than surface level. Then there are more steps upon steps, going up and going down, forming grooves between them that you can get caught in.  But there are no regular features to each of these formations as they go out into and across the road at random. The only constant feature is how they go at an angle, reflecting the prevailing wind. But that’s it.

Now try it blindfolded!

Now imagine that you are effectively blindfolded and you have to work your way through them all.  Oh and you’re dragging a sled that occasionally gets caught in those grooves and tips over or just doesn’t want to follow you because it’ll mean it’ll have to plough through a larger step that you hadn’t seen.

Tough day but 26.5km

I managed 26.5km, so still good (though it’s just a little come down after the epic day yesterday!!). As I said yesterday, I was a bit worried about the conditions today and knew it would be hard to reach the travel distance. However, it is above my minimum target so to do this on a day like today isn’t bad at all. It was just hard work, and involved at least six falls down those steps! Tough on the shoulders though nothing worse and no equipment damaged.

Advent calendar chocolate of the day… Danzka vodka

Song in the head of the day: Chicken Run theme tune!

Thanks for all your positive comments and jokes – please keep them coming!

Please support Ben’s chosen charity Cancer Research UK

Photo: a bit colder in the tent today!

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