We’re now camped at N82?38’31”, E105?36’09”, after walking 16 km today and gaining a bonus of two from last night’s northerly ice drift. Even though it’s young, the ice has been excellent today, nice and flat and hardly any movement.
The wind has turned northeasterly, so walking has been a bit miserable, and now we’re drifting almost due east. It’s gradually warming up just ever so slightly; the thermometer shows –32?C. It seems that the ideal temperature for us is between 30 and 25 degrees below, so we’re hopeful that the weather will warm up another notch. The weather report is favourable for the next few days.
We did our job and walked for nine hours today. I must admit we felt tired after only sleeping half the night. It’s difficult when temperatures are extreme. After having been on the move for three weeks, we are happy to report that everything is working well, equipment and routines, and from day one our cooperation has been excellent.
We divide our tasks, for instance making breakfast every other day. We start by firing up the stove and making meltwater. While the stove is going, we scrape frozen condensation from the inside of our tent. When the water is warm, we fill our thermoses, make two portions of oatmeal, and enjoy our breakfast close to the warm stove. Afterwards, we have to dry these fantastic plastic bags that we use as a condensation barrier between our bodies and sleeping bags; they become rather most inside in the course of the night. Then it’s time to put on our clothes and get going.
All in all it takes three hours from the time we get up in the morning, until we have skis on our feet and are ready to pull the packed pulks further northwards. Naturally the morning is the worst time, because of the cold. After we’ve walked for an hour, we’re fine.
It’s now three weeks since we started – but it feels like we’ve been out here for an eternity.
Right now we’re really looking forward to next Saturday – because then we’ll start eating normal rations again. I’m thinking a lot about food, and I’m sure Mike is as well. Ten days ago we made a decision to reduce our rations to be on the safe side; it was necessary to gain an extra safety margin after the incredibly slow and difficult start of our expedition. We were conscious about saving fuel, too, when the weather was milder. Now our food and fuel will last a total of 70 days, rather than 67 – so we can continue for at least another 49 days.
It looks doubtful whether we can reach the North Pole by this year’s first sunrise, 23 March. The most important thing for us, however, is to finish our expedition and reach our goal. That’s why we’ve “slimmed down” a bit. If we progress faster, then we can always enjoy larger meals towards the end of our journey. Spirits are great and I assure you we’re highly motivated!View 2 comments