Day 50 Last of the sastrugi..?!

Could it be?! Could it really be..?!

Could this be the last of the sastrugi? The conditions this morning were not great. Cloudy, windy, cold. At least the terrain was good for the first few kilometres, though whatever hope that I has passed the worst of it all yesterday quickly vanished as they started to reappear and become increasingly dense and large. Just as I got to it, the clouds became thicker and it effectively became a whiteout… typical. And it cleared up just as I approached the end of it all, after around 10km. Again, typical!

Smoothing out

But after that, the sastrugi and the climbing eased off significantly and it has since been really smooth. I have heard reports from other teams that it does get a lot better from roughly where I am, so here’s hoping! I have suspicions that it I might have left the sastrugi behind! Wow!

The Pole is so close

In terms of distance covered, I managed a total of 27km, so am pretty pleased to be getting back to the distances I was reaching prior to the climbs and sastrugi fields of the 86th and 87th degree. The forecast for the next three days is, however, not good, with whiteouts, snow and wind. But if the terrain is okay… then let’s see; hopefully can keep this up. The Pole is so close!!

Position: S88 18.8271 / W082 26.5886

Total distance covered today: 27km

Actual progress: 14.3 nautical miles

Distance remaining: 101.2 nautical miles

Keeping hands and fingers warm…

I mentioned yesterday about my mittens and  I realize that I haven’t really talked much about layering. With my hands, as I say, I am particularly worried as I have had frostbite in my thumbs before and it is incredibly painful warming them up, as the blood starts flowing again and the nerves start to feel. Everybody has their own preferences for gloves and how they layer up as well. So what’s good for me isn’t necessarily great for others.

Keeping fingers in good order

While I need to keep my hands warm, if they sweat, the water will get into the mittens. For the liners, that’s not the end of the world, as they can dry quickly. If that sweat gets into the larger mittens though, then they are much harder to dry. If they don’t dry properly then the water will freeze and the mittens become less effective in keeping you hands and fingers warm. So I can’t just wear the big mittens constantly: I need to take them off if I feel my hands getting too warm.

Snug mits

But then, with the liner gloves, they can be great for a while but depending on temperatures—it was fine a -10C—I can feel my hands cooling. It’s a constant monitoring process; just to make sure of the balance. Combining the woollen mittens with my liners seems to have created a nice solution for the colder temperatures. Especially as both dry so easily and wool keeps the warmth in even when wet. At -22C with no wind, I can wear them both together, without needing the larger mittens so often. Then when it gets windy, the larger mittens fit snugly over them.

I am constantly on the lookout for more effective means, and I have several other gloves and mittens with me. Though yes, this seems to work. I also have a spare pare if larger mittens in case I am unable to dry my main pair. Better safe than sorry!

Photo: mittens mittens everywhere!

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