What a day! As always… tiring! A little bit colder at around -22C but with a stiff southeasterly wind, the windchill was around -34C or so. I always find days like this tough with the extra worry about making sure I don’t get any cold injuries. I ended up using my woollen mittens under my large liner mittens with a pair of comfy over-mittens for if and when my hands got a bit too cold and that worked a treat. It’s a bit colder in the tent now as well because of the clouds blocking out the sun. Miss those blue skies already!
Crossing into the 88th and 120 miles to go
But yes, the day started with me leaving my camp on the side of a sharply rising snow dune and in the middle of a mega sastrugi field, and the first 12km or so were a series of these short sharp dunes, covered with the sastrugi. It was constant! As I left the 87th degree, however, and got into the 88th (yay!!!! Less than 120 nautical miles to go and I am on the edge of the plateau, around 2,600m above sea level!), over the next 12km or so both the dunes and the sastrugi started to fade away and pretty much transformed to flat snow ahead! Could it be that I have left all that behind..?! Fingers crossed!!!
The Pole by the 9th; maybe even the 8th
So, 26.5km travelled! My best distance for a while now, and hopefully the conditions (and my body!) will allow me to sustain and build on this! I still think I can get to the Pole by the 9th; maybe even the 8th but that might be too hard. I will just go at the pace my body and the conditions allow. However, I do feel like I could do with one more rest day as I am starting to feel drained. 48 days skiing is a long time! I just want to make sure that any rest day coincides with bad weather: it would be terrible to take it on a good day only to have to travel in horrible conditions on the next.
Veered a little to the east
If you look at the map you will see I veered a little to the east: this is because I have my resupply at pretty much the same longitude that I have now reached. Still 30 nautical miles away so I veered too sharply!! So I should be heading pretty much directly south now. To the resupply, and to the Pole!
Thanks for the jokes and support
Glad to hear you are better JoJo! And as always, thank you so much to everyone for your support, your jokes, your Christmas and new year messages! It really does help me to keep going!
Photo; getting the stove ready
Photo: getting the stove ready. Need to pump the valve in the bottle, prime the stove by letting a little fuel into the cup at the bottom of it and lighting. Once it has heated up enough, you can hear the sound change to a kind of hissing, then you can open the valve again to let the fuel flow!
Ear worms! For some reason I had the Imperial March from Star Wars in my head. No idea why!
Position: S88 04.7342 / W082 35.9281
Approximate distance travelled: 485nm
Approximate distance remaining: 115nm
Please support Ben’s chosen charity Cancer Research UK https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/ben-weber1
Visit Ben’s blog site to hear Ben’s audio diary from his overnight camp. https://polarweber.com/