Our position is N89°35’19”, E79°37’51”. We have walked 25 km, but our situation is unchanged – Mike is in very poor condition. The day before yesterday was his worst on the expedition, and yesterday was even worse. Today has been a bit more stable.
It seems that the total strain on his body has been excessive. Well over a month ago he got frostbite and infections in his hands, and soon afterwards a lot of pus came out of his thumb. After that he has been chilled and frozen several times. His nails are cracked and his hands do not look good. All this and the incredible exertion of walking 10–12 hours a day has surely taken its toll. It’s a month ago since we had our last day of rest. The result seems to be that he now has a general infection in his body. He is very run down due to the infection and is barely hanging together.
We really do need a day of rest. The problem is that already on Thursday the weather is changing and we’ll be getting northeasterly winds, and from Friday and through next week the forecast is strong northwesterly wind – that’s the worst direction. We simply don’t think we stand much of a chance walking against that wind and would probably just drift backwards. So our only chance to reach the Pole is to continue walking and get it over in the next few days. Fortunately, we only have about 45 km to go.
We have talked about this thoroughly, and it is, of course, entirely Mike’s decision how much he wants to press himself. I have time and again repeated that the most important thing is our health. But he insists on not giving up and is dead set on continuing. The only question is whether his body is willing. We’re taking it one day at a time.
Today we have managed to continue. Mike is taking a double dose of antibiotics – and we just have to hope that the medication works. His symptoms indicate internal problems. He is tired, greatly fatigued, is suffering from nausea and stomach cramps. Last night he was unable to eat and simply had to throw it away before freezing… He has problems with… hasn’t vomited yet, but he has to stop now and again when we walk because of his cramps. It’s rough for him and he is clearly suffering.
On the other hand, Mike has an iron will and is extremely motivated to finish this journey. I am doing everything I can to help him, making sure that he rests and sleeps as much as possible. We can only cross our fingers and hope that we can make the final, obviously demanding stretch. Our challenges are not over yet, but I am convinced that we’re gong to make it.
Otherwise conditions have been stable today; the ice has been more or less the same today. Temperatures have been about –28°C and the winds calm. Today the tent poles snapped once again, just suddenly. We are extremely careful, knowing the materials have proven to be very fragile in these Arctic conditions. We were setting up the tent when we just heard a small explosion, and the tent pole snapped in three places all at once. The tent itself is great, it’s incredibly good – it’s our home, it’s spacious and we love it. There is, however, something very wrong with the tent pole materials. We can only hope…
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