Day 14-Some Manner of Cursing and Fickle Winds

November 19, 2011 9:29am

November 18, 2011

S71°58.811 E011°04.241

Elevation 7111 feet

The morning saw us wake to the familiar white sky, and the sun at the losing end of an uneven struggle with low clouds and light falling snow crystals. Like yesterday, the wind was non existent, and the best bet for the day was to cope a good attitude and welcome the struggle. Within a few minutes of hearing the hissing of the sledges over the Styrofoam snow, this was replaced by some measure of cursing, and various stages of undress from the sweat inducing labor! Hard though I tried to populate my mind with positive thoughts, my brain got sucked in an accelerating blender where not one idea stuck, but rather, all bumped and collided with no rhyme or reason. After a futile attempt at convincing myself that I loved the effort, what came out of me was:”this sucks!”
“Yep,” was what I heard back from Eric!

We took turn taking the lead. Barely noticeable in the distance through the light fog, was what appears to be the last of the mountain range. For two days, I have thought that we would reach this landmark by the end of our day. But given our pace, this now certainly seemed unlikely. In the middle of our second section, I caught a chill; a light breeze developed from the west and instantly cooled me down. It was light, but worth a shot. We changed boots and got dressed. And after a few attempts managed to get the big guns in the air. The Ozone Yakuza’s are powerful handle kites designed for light air; and these 14’s delivered. The wind picked up for a little while and we were cruising. Then it died. Then, minutes later, switched to the opposite direction, out of the east. Then died. Then picked up again, and strengthened enough to generate blowing snow. Eric and I each have one of the small sledges in tow of the big ones, but at the sped we are now traveling, Eric’s is regularly flipping. The sledges are bouncing all over the ice. The wind seems to be increasing still and we choose to down size for safety reasons. By the time we have wrapped the 14’s and released the 13 meter Frenzy’s, the wind had shut off entirely! It was now seven PM and we had finally reached that rocky outcrop, and camped next to it. We had covered 18 km and rose about 610 feet in elevation.

In the evening, we spoke to our friends Dixie and Sam who were flown back to Novo after encountering one meter sastrugi’s and 70 kilometer winds. They were dropped off on the plateau, not close to where we are going, but of course this raises concerns. They are trying to figure what to do from here, and we wish them the best of luck in finding solutions. In parting, they warn us that a three day storm is headed our way…

2 Responses to “Day 14-Some Manner of Cursing and Fickle Winds”

  1. Leila and Mathew says:

    Hi Sebastian!!!
    Aidan and I are reading your posts every day. He is so interested in what you are doing. We are thinking about you a lot!

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