Today was bit of strange day but was good with some mixed conditions; perfectly still for some time then increasing winds. Very clear at some points then threatening whiteouts at others before clearing again. It’s now quite cloudy. Lots of messy ice and sastrugi followed by whole stretches without any sastrugi at all. I can’t remember that happening before on this journey.. maybe at the start, but nothing as definite as this! Then plenty of still deep fresh snow slowing things down. That immediately followed by nice compact snow patches where I was able to slide along quite nicely! Overall though, I was pleased with progress. Another 27km skied, and getting closer to the halfway mark!
Contacting Mateusz again
In the morning, Mateusz started a little before me and we said hello again as i packed up my tent and sled. He doesn’t seem to be feeling that much better and his sled keeps overturning, which from experience is extremely frustrating. It really is, and it slows you right down as you have to keep going back to turn it the right way up. And it’s heavy. I caught up with him towards the end of my first session and now am not sure if we’ll see each other again before the end of the expedition. Hope he manages to get through his illness and feel better soon. Must be super tough.
On pacing and mileage…
You might have noticed a little obsession with (aside from sastrugi!) distances covered each day. It’s definitely a big concern. Altogether. To get to the Pole, I need to ski around 700 miles / 1130km / 10 degrees (600 nautical miles). And I have only limited supplies to be able to do this. I brought 51 days’ food and fuel so, to be able to manage, I have to average around 24km per day. This excluding up to five rest days. Obviously at the start, when the sled is at its heaviest and there the steepest climbs up from Hercules Inlet. It is expected that people will be slow at the start, then we need to speed up as time goes by and the sled gets lighter.
At the same time, it is important not to overdo it. Nice consistent distances though at the same time, distances reflecting the conditions. Whiteouts and soft snow inevitably mean harder days. While it’s fine to go out in them, you can’t overdo it as those conditions (and soft snow especially!) just sap energy. These conditions can be treacherous when there’s lots of sastrugi about. When the snow improves, visibility is good, you do need to lay on the mileage! Just not to the point of exhaustion! I am aiming for 25km/15.5miles day at moment, and if I can get 1-2km more than that each day. That little distance adds up, after 10 days, there’s around half a day’s extra travel.
So, I have around 360 more nautical miles left to the Pole. And around 24 days’ food supplies left. That means on average I now need to travel around 15nm (around 29km/18miles) per day for the rest of the journey. It will be tough. It’s borderline about whether I will need to request a resupply for 2-3 day’s extra rations… which would be a shame to have to do… not the end of the world, but a shame.
I will try my best. The sled is getting lighter meaning that hopefully I will be able to get up into the 30kms/day or so again more frequently, so there’s a good chance. I will have to see how I get on in the next few days.
Photo: the trip computer on my GPS. Only showing distance to the next waypoint, which is at Thiel Corner, so still plenty more to go after that!
song of the day your suggestions please!
Song of the day in head… For the third day running… Pink Floyd, Echoes!
On the subject of Pink Floyd, what are your ten favourite of their songs..?! Also, I need another song to go around in my head on endless repeat..! Any suggestions..?!
Please support Ben’s chosen charity Cancer Research UK https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/ben-weber1