Day 6

November 11, 2011 8:14am

November 10, 2011

Same position as yesterday

After attempting to repair the ski, I do not feel confident that the fix job can sustain another 4000 kilometers of hard ice and sastrugi at speed. With barely 30 kilometers separating us from the station, the only option is to go get it there. One of us will leave with a light pack and come back tomorrow. After some hesitation, due to their schedule, Andrei at the base, is kind enough to drive the ski about eight kilometers from where we are. I cannot say enough to thank him and his team for their support. Eric offers to ski that distance which is now negligible. The air is dead still, the sun shinning and the temperature very moderate at around minus 15C. As I sit alone in the tent, at the coastal edge of Antarctica, I contemplate the nature of doubt, failure, and introspective questioning. Failure is the blood relative of all successes. It looms along side the dreams and accomplishment. In this type of mission, it is with you with each challenge met–sometimes with each step–in spite of the forceful reneging of its very existence. Stubbornness is the spirit of expeditions. Failure is not an option, we say; until it is the only option. With so much planning, anticipating and double checking, we have had two major technical failures in our first five days–one of our satellite phones and the ski–each of which would have cost us the expedition had they happened, say, a week from now. I had opted to keep the skis I had used on Greenland since they barely had one season on them–about thirty days of kiting–and the wear was not substantial. I chose the tested ski over risking a surprise with a new one. Admittedly, a plant into sastrugi with 400 pounds in tow nets tremendous stress on the gear. Given the ice surface out here, this is something we will need to be extra careful about.

Breakdowns are commonplace on this type of trip. Part of the appeal is to find solutions with the materials on hand. But both of these could have been crippling. I am troubled by choices that I made, in spite of lessons that I already knew, but was not diligent enough to impose. Praying that this puts an end to our misfortunes, those simple lessons are these:
1. Both team members must be on the same equipment. One spare serves both.
2. Don’t compromise when your gut tells you otherwise
3. Just about everything should be new, save the boots that need be broken in.

Eighty to ninety days in an environment as harsh as this does not afford to cut corners.
Eric returns with the one ski. The air is dead still. It is 5PM and no traveling will be done today. I mount the binding on the new ski as the temperature drops inside the tent. Failure will not be with us tomorrow.

5 Responses to “Day 6”

  1. Penelope Casadesus says:

    Hi Bastie! What a depressing start to your adventure! Now you have your other ski, I hope all with be plain sailing – or rather – plain ski-ing – from now on.
    I have a message from your Dad who asked me to send it on to you: “”Mon fils cheri, Je suis sur la digue a Ars pour 2 jours face a la mer et je pense profondement a toi a l’autre bout du monde dans le froid, sur la glace et je croise mes doigts pour que cette fantastique adventure ne soit pas trop dure! Mes pensees ne te quittent pas; j’ai hate de te serrer dans mes bras. Bon courage et Good Luck! Ton Dad admiratif et qui t’aime.”
    All the family is rooting for you. I send your website to about 80 people so you will be having a lot of people thinking of you every day! Love you lots, your mother xxx Purrs from Calix and Diva who can’t understand why you like the cold when they are curled up on the radiators!

  2. jorge h. arias says:

    hi sebastian!!!!
    best times are coming!!!!
    wyour friends are sending confidence!!!!!
    en espanol


    • Chelsie says:

      I see. That does make sense. I just felt it would be a bit sad for any guy who’d like to take part and couldn’t. It’s quite sad that the ouootdr industry is such a male business – it’s pretty much the same in Germany. Good you’re trying to change that a little 🙂

  3. marc scarpa says:

    Indeed.. failure will not be with you tomorrow and no doubt the wind will pick up, along with your spirits.

    And what exactly are you hauling that is 400lbs, did you move there or what?

    and there is no truer statement than this

    “Don’t compromise when your gut tells you otherwise”


  4. BASILE says:

    The departure is not so easy, this time, but we believe in you and the result. Courage and cheerfulness!
    Best wishes ♥

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