Today was pretty tough. The conditions were lovely; around -25C with very little wind, and I thought as I packed up the tent and sled that I’d be able to get a good distance in. How lovely it would have been had that been the case!
Right from the off, Sledmund felt like he weighed as much as he did at the start of the expedition. I know I got a few days extra meals, but they’re not that heavy!! As I mentioned yesterday, a fair bit of snow came down over the last couple of days—and there was a fair amount of digging to get the tent out!—so I guess that didn’t help. Not sure about other reasons. I felt a bit breathless at the start, possibly due to the altitude: I mentioned in a post some time ago (at least I think I did! Sorry if I didn’t!!) that while the plateau is around 2,700m-2,800m above sea level on my route, the effect of the extreme latitude makes it feel closer to around 4,500m.
50 days on the move
Another factor could also simply be fatigue, considering I have been skiing for over 50 days now. Some stomach problems also didn’t help… needing to relieve myself twice after once already in the tent vestibule before leaving was really annoying! While the rest yesterday was good, the strain on the body has been immense and I think I’ll need some time to recover once this is over!
Doubts creeping in
So I just managed to ski 22km—far below the “glory days!” of 32km! It raises confidence issues again, especially while am skiing. Struggling to move forward and seeing how my pace was so much slower than it has been… Those doubts creeping into my head despite being less than 100 miles from the Pole. Do I have the strength and endurance left to manage this? What if it’s like this the rest of the way? Can I really manage? Not nice thoughts to have right now!
ETA 12th January
Worked out that I do have enough provisions to keep going at this pace and reach the Pole, which is comforting! Though that would be by the 12th January… better late than never I guess, but hopefully I’ll be able to manage to make better progress than this over the coming days.
Photo: a view from inside of the tent as the snow accumulates around it outside.
Visit Ben’s blog site to hear Ben’s audio diary from his overnight camp and donation links to Cancer Research UK at www.polarweber.com