Friday, May 30, 2014

Undulations...

29/30 mai, camp 38
Distance today: 113 km
Total distance: 3357 km
Position : N73.858 W30.900, alt 2720 m 
Moving time : about 9H30 (using Speed 10)

We are now on the Land of King Christian X. We left to our north-east the great glacier Waltershausen, which leaks out into the Kesjer Franz Joseph fjord, and can see on our south-east the Petermann mountains and the Land of Glaciers.

Within a few days we gained about 1000m of altitude (from about 1700 to 2700m). While the Inlandsis slowly and smoothly goes down in the north-east (which allowed us to travel at lower altitudes) here it collapses against high mountain ridges, which we have to go around the peaks at quiet high altitudes.

For a few hundreds of kilometers we have kited onto a pretty corrugated ground. On the land of King Frederik VIII already we felt like crossing some kind of small depression valleys, without really being able to measure properly the scale of it, because of the possible magnification due to light reflection for example.
Close to the Land of Queen Louise we could notice wider undulations, as we were getting higher in altitude.
Today the corrugated grounds were even more noticeable. Every uphill bit was marked by a strong flow of katabatic winds. On those grounds we saw the biggest sastrugies we've ever seen : some kind of "monsters", with edges up to about 40 cm high. No way we were gonna try to get or skies through there ! With winds up to 40km/h we tried our best to take them sideways, and navigate through them as good as we could ; we had to be very focused and pay attention to our wing positions and to what was going on the surface.

In one of the difficult bits in a tiny little lack of attention my pulks managed to get stuck in between 2 sastrugies. I tried to play with the wing to create enough force to get the pulks unstuck... I lost the game, and ended up falling myself, before the wing did the same and literally planted into a sastrugie. During a good 5 minutes i tried hard to pull and pull on the lines, hoping they'll eventually pop out of the monster. But no, that was not gonna work either ; i have to untie myself and walk out there to undo the mess. Of course as soon as it was free the wings was happy to take off and start to pull the 140 kg pulks again. It managed to catch the barre, luckily cause if not, i would have been left on my own !
A suspention line is now just flapping around... WOG a mess !

The temperatures tonight have been a bit colder than the last (about -25°C), and with the 30-4- km/h wind it's been hard to keep our finger tips very warm ; every break was a bit painful for the fingers.

Today we passed the latitude of the Bear Island (between the south of Spitzbergen and Cap nord in Norway).

PS :
- Again, thank you Damien (Fourcy) for your satellite pictures ; we're now going through a difficult terrain, very close to the mountains, and a careful analysis of your datas keep us away from the major crevasse areas.
- Humongus thanks to all of you that send us messages ; Hervé "350", Chrys, Alain, Cyril (have a nice journey home), Sophie, Thomas, Pascal #Golgot", brother Rémi, Niko and Lucile, Eric, Mai and the kids, Niklas, Corinne, Eric Gruyere, Matt le voisin, Aurel, Xav Ducros, Bernard and Jacqueline, Carène, Laurence and Luc, Nico and Anne-Laure (i'm doing my best for the 14th ;-)), Jean (we're still waiting for the "rattrack") and the others... We're delighted to read you all !

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