At the end of the day yesterday, Mateusz and the Australian team all arrived at Thiel Corner! As well as a Twin Otter plane with its crew. 11 of us all at the same place in the middle of nowhere! Skiing through it was almost overwhelming with so many people and tents! The pilots talked about how the sastrugi this year has been the worst they have seen for around eight years! Just to make life easier for the expeditions!
Australian Team challenges
It was nice chatting with everyone as they arrived and as I headed off in the morning. Unfortunately, Em, the leader of the Australian team has had to end her journey which is a real shame. Bad case of polar thigh – effectively frost bite in the thigh that was becoming dangerous. Must be so devastating after all the work and effort, but it sounded like that it was a wise decision for her to stop as there was an increasing risk of sepsis despite being constantly cleaned and dressed. She left on the plane back to Union Glacier. One of the other team members was also suffering from the same problem – am not sure whether they went back with Em or not.
Really hope that they recover quickly and that the rest of the team will be able to make the Pole.
Supplies on offer
The rest of the Australian team spent the day at Thiel Corner today organising their supplies for the rest of the journey. As I have decided to go ahead with a resupply at S88 degrees and I cannot say I am an unassisted expedition, even because of the medical resupply. I was so happy when they offered me a couple of days of extra rations! This will make sure that I get to S88 with no problem, and I can even afford another rest day or two if I need! They have had to abandon plans to cross the entire continent because of the conditions and issues, so had some food going spare but still, really so nice of them!
Skiing with Mateusz
It was great to see Mateusz going strong and recovering from his illness. We skied a little together in the morning before our different paces meant that once again there’s a little gap between us. I generally go a little faster but try to have shorter days so I get more time to recover, though each to their own and Mateusz has more supplies than me so has a heavier sled!
After saying goodbye to everybody, it turned into a good day. I managed to ski just over 32 km and the conditions were perfect blue skies, sun, just a little bit of a breeze, good snow conditions and very little sastrugi! It was my best day to date, so I’m very pleased with progress. Tomorrow is definitely going to be harder. I can see the looming climb towards the plateau ahead of me. It’s like a dome, you can see the rising ominously ahead of you. As the ground rises, there will also be more sastrugi, and you can really feel the weight of the sled, pulling back on you as you start going uphill. Also today I was feeling refreshed after the rest of yesterday, which definitely helped!
Change of Skins
One thing I did do differently was to switch my skis so that I used the skis with half skins on. Before this, I was using my skis with full skins because of the sastrugi and the snow, just to stop me slipping back and to give me grip. While I had tried the half skins a couple of times before, there was just no traction and it was extremely hard. But today was perfect. Hopefully, with the climbing tomorrow, I will be able to continue using the half skins. Also today I took off my compass mount and didn’t use it. I have been navigating fine using the snow formations and I want to see how I get on with my neck without having to continuously look down at the compass. The good thing about my watch is that I can also put coordinates into it and compass on the watch is also great for navigating with. Fingers crossed it will make a difference.
Ear worm of the day… Game of thrones theme tune! (Don’t know about you but I loved the first season of House of Dragon! Managed to binge watch it while I was waiting in Punta Arenas!) Thanks Jonathan for getting that in my head!
Photo – going through Thiel Corner