Monday, May 26, 2014

Sastrugies vertigo


25/05, camp 34.
Distance today: 94 km
Total Distance: 3017 km
Position : N76.730 W29.347, alt: 2090 m
Moving time: 7 hours

Yes, sorry, just the same story again... More than 500 km skied on this really annoyingly wrinkled field, the "corrugated sheet" of the northern latitudes. Yesterday was one big of a day, by the size of them, their amount, shapes...
We went through them using our biggest wings, at speeds almost averaging 25 km/h for hours that we tried to hit sideways.
With the Speed 19, propped quiet high in the "window", we even sometimes use the momentum to take off the ground for a few meters. The pulkas do the same, tirelessly.

All our equipment is under great challenge due to the friction. It's amazing : i've never destroyed as much equipment than here, on this trip ! In the beginning we were constantly trying to repair every little hole and break. Now, we just realized that we're not gonna win this battle : holes are everywhere : even small sneaky ones make it to the powder food container, spreading our breakfast powder chocolate just everywhere : this even sneaks into the other food containers ; nothing is sealed anymore, the chocolate managed to go all the way into the sled itself. Wonderful, isn't it ? Even in some of our wings we have holes now.
Basically everything that is hard is going to pierce everything that's softer...

As we cannot reverse the destruction process, we have to accomodate to it : some of the equipment is not going to be re-used. We are more concerned with the electronic equipment (even though we have carefully protected) and our cooking gear (only one set left). All of our absolutely necessary equipment is now on our backpacks, for how long as it needs. At least until we get on better grounds.

Our bodies are also pretty challenged in this "shaker". Even though we have been accumulating fatigue after 3 weeks travelling, and exposition to cold temperatures, we have come to observe our increasing appetite at dinner time. We're sleeping more as well. And unfortunately we are travelling smaller distances ! We would like to do better, we don't manage these days. The ground condition is very difficult.

Today sastrugies were still going strong. But it was a bit smaller than yesterday. But the wind conditions (south-west) forced us to go a bit against it with our biggest wings, which requires a heavy foot work. And that's where my (Mika) feet are showing signs of fatigue : the pain is getting so big that we just have to stop at km 94. Without immediate solution i can only hope it's not gonna disturb systematically our progression...

We are now at the edge of the land of Reine Louise and have skied just a little over 3000 km.
I (Mika) dedicate those to my parents : since 3 years the Greenland authorities have changed the rules when it comes to take an adventure on the inlandsis, in order to avoid the greenlandic society to bear the cost of unfinished and abandoned expedition on the icecap that required heavy and expensive rescues and evacuation. Our expedition we need a cash guarantee of almost 30 000 € that could be used by the authorities in case of a need for evacuation for other reasons than sanitary, like because of the loss of cooking gear for example :-).
My living choices and conditions did not bring me to the condition of having even half of this guarantee, even though i'm 43 years old. My parents found the way to lend me this money ; here is my chance to say sincerely thank you again !

Cornelius wants to dedicate those 3000 km to all those he has had the chance to spend wonderful time with, going back country skiing, climbing, kiting and on other Arctic journeys. Experiences that nourished the idea and greed for this biggest expedition in the cold arctic environment...

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