Well some days have been less hard than others! But today wasn’t one of them. I just found it tough.
It was a little colder today (still not as cold as what it was back in Carrbridge!) at about -17C, but there was a strong headwind right from the start so the windchill was around -30C. I always get worried about my fingers in conditions like these and I added an extra over-mitten in top of my liner, as well as using the pogies on the ski poles, and that worked okay for the most part. It’s just the breaks when you need to use your hands to eat and you start to cool down, and then taking down and putting up the tent can also be tricky. But no cold injuries, which is always good! The snow wasn’t great either, especially at the start. It did improve for a few hours but there were more soft snow patches and sastrugi towards the end of the day.
A game of numbers
But still, 27km again, so I can’t complain. One of my problems is that I can be very competitive with myself, so in doing 29km yesterday, I want to do it again or better. This can be a bit self-sabotaging, which isn’t great, so I have to force myself to recognise and remember that while not as far as that travelled yesterday, I was still ahead of my daily travel goal. So all’s good! I think I do need a rest day soon though as starting to feel a little drained. Don’t want to waste a good travel day, and a rest day would almost certainly mean that I need to take a resupply… but if so, then so be it!
Looking for Theil Mountains
Half-way through the S84th degree now, so getting near the halfway mark! In the 85th degree we have the Thiel Corner resupply point and the Thiel mountains! Can’t wait to see them; I wander when I will! Will make a change from just this endless expanse of snow and ice in all directions, and I keep looking to the horizon in the hope that I will start making them out! I remember cycling across South America with Natalia and getting towards the Andes at Mendoza in Argentina, with the mountains slowly fading into view – so exciting! I wander what it’ll be like here; whether they will appear above the crest of a climb, or also m gradually fade in.
Visualising the journey
With this, in terms of splitting this journey in my head it’s mainly been by degree. S80 was nice and easy to memorise before starting because of the climb up from Hercules Inlet and passing the various nunataks, the mountains there and the Three Sails mountains. S81-S84 I knew to be pretty desolate, with some more gradual climbing but nothing like mountains by way of eye candy. The extreme sastrugi was unexpected!! S85 and the Thiel mountains… then more desolation but endless climbing together with expected sastrugi fields from the end of S85 until around the start of S88. From then until the Pole, it will be relatively flat though much colder (-30C to -40C) as will be up on the plateau at around 2800m. The snow will be like sawdust up there apparently, because of the cold. Fun!
Ear worms of the day!
Today was a bit strange in terms of the music I was humming and rasping to myself! Had that tune from the climax of For a Few Dollars More, when they have the watches playing that simple tune but then Clint Eastward appears with another watch and it all builds up with the guitar… the trumpet… the full orchestral… brilliant scene!!! Got to love Sergio Leone and Ennio Moriconi! Then, music from the 50s and 60s or around then, with Sam Cooke, Twisting the Night Away and a few other tunes I neither know the names of, nor the names of the artists!
Photo: preparing to go out into the cold!
Please support Ben’s chosen charity Cancer Research UK Ben Weber is fundraising for Cancer Research UK (justgiving.com)