Day 3: Pain

November 8, 2011 10:55am

November 7,2011

S70°56.597 E011°26.795

Elevation 3002 ft

It is hard to rationalize why individuals feel the need to submit themselves to some wretched feats of torture for the mere objective of reaching a goal. Yet this is a characteristic deeply ingrained in the human psyche, as universal and timeless as existence itself. To prove something; to stand out; those are the more obvious reasons but they don’t tell the whole story. It would be too simple, besides, there are many ways to stand out, and if this were the reason, more people would be doing it. In fact, there is a gene that activates at the sight of a mountain peak and dictates the will to climb it; or a frozen body of water and suggests swimming across it. In this case, something undefined allowed the thought of crossing one of the more inhospitable region on earth germinate in our mind and join the company of other crazies for whom this seemed to be a perfectly sound idea. It isn’t. And today illustrated why. In stark contrast to yesterday, we woke up to howling winds lashing at the tent making a move out of the reasonably comfortable den sound utterly uncivilized. But the inescapable truth about this type of effort is that the miles don’t cover themselves; and waiting only means more work to follow. Getting up to the plateau with 400 pounds in tow is to enter a world of pain. The winds which reached forty miles per hour today ad a frosty touch to the set up. But it was the surface that we encountered in the second half of our six hour venture–about four and a half of which spent walking–that could break your spirit were it not for the hard nose stubbornness required in this type of effort! For once, this plays to one’s advantage…

The sastrugi was so tightly weaved together that for the last two hours of our traveling day, virtually every step was a battle. Each foot of distance won with back breaking effort, motivated simply by the will to put one foot in front of the other. The sledges locked into every single depression, often both at a time. It seemed absurd. Occasionally I would look towards Eric and see him crawling on his knees to get past a one to two foot section. In spite of the absurd nature of our situation, I could not help but be awed by the visual context of the snow drift backlit by the sun’s low angle, cutting a silhouette of his body, amidst the sound and the furry of this wild environment. The battery on my camera had just given up, and I was too cold to dig up for a replacement. Another one that will live only in my memory–sadly. The curse of the image hunter.

We pushed for 30 minutes beyond yesterday’s time, and set up camp as the sun set behind the hill we will have to climb tomorrow. It is 8:00PM, and the sun will rise again in three and a half hours.We have covered 4.2 miles.

7 Responses to “Day 3: Pain”

  1. Greg Viera says:

    I will be checking in every day to see your progress, you are so incredible, I can only stand back and watch and wish I had your curage.
    Good luck my friend be safe.

  2. David says:

    Loving being able to live this with you guys through these blogs. Incredible courage to do this. I look forward to each day’s posts as you send them out. This adventure is incredible.

  3. Penelope Casadesus says:

    OMG, Bastie! What a nightmare! As I read this blog my toes curl up in sympathy—“only the crazies” eh? Hmmm! I wonder who they are??! All our thoughts are with you both day by day….and all my love – your mother xxx

  4. David Marconi says:

    Thinking of you and wishing you all the best, God’s speed and some decent foot-warmers!

  5. We are following your exploits with great interest and much concern for the haardships of your endeavour. Hang in there, Cousin.
    Love Priscilla and Allan

  6. Aunty Sonia says:

    Hi Sebastian….Listen, nephew, this is Aunty Sonia. I have read day 1 and Day 2 and Day 3….Enough is enough Sebastian…it all sounds ghastly…I hate the cold and this doesnt sound like fun for you ….I used to get chilblains in the old days… Come home…all is forgiven. Nobody will mind! Is this a punishment for somethin’? I can’t believe you are going to survive three months of this without a hot bath. I meant to remind you to take a hotwater bottle and bedsocks with you…Anyway Sebastian, give my love to Eric – take care both of you and keep wiggling your toes to keep the blood flowing…lots of love – what can one say…Aunty Sonia xxxxxxxx

  7. BASILE says:

    Maybe to answer at the simple — but deeply complicated — question: who am I? Actually who am I really? Maybe….

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