Day 15–World of ice

November 20, 2011 10:00am

November 19, 2011

S72°37.719 E010°37.657

Elevation 9497 feet

I looked back, and that was it: they were gone. It happened progressively, as we gained elevation. The last of the peaks had been waging a losing battle against the massive ice cap. These earthy features of snow covered rocks, which had been with us since Novo, and had once stood valiantly in their vertical splendor, had noticeably shrunk as we advanced south. Soon, the last ones–timid hills by the end–were swallowed up without ceremony by the rising ice. Somewhere below our feet were hills and valleys; but they would not reappear for the next forty eight hundred kilometers, on the opposite coast, crushed by over ten thousand feet of frozen crystals. We have entered the pure world of ice.

Ahead, as if to salute our sojourn, three Arctic Terns, small white birds, flew playfully around my kite for a while, most likely curious about the large colorful bird doing figure eight’s in the sky. Eventually, they disappeared in the white sky, and we were alone.

Today felt like the first official day of the expedition. The wind was there from morning to night, temperamental at first, but strong enough to get us up on the plateau, where it grew to twenty five knots, and blowing snow. In the afternoon back light, I looked at Eric, a little downwind from me, and the ice looked like a sea of silver; alive, undulating. The ice is hard–the temps have dipped to 30C below without windchill–and some portions saw nasty sastrugi, and dips over a meter high. The sledges are bouncing and sliding all over the place. Our bearing is a little too much in the south on account of the wind direction, but we should make up for it higher on the plateau where the predominant wind will be from our back.

We covered 72 kilometers today and climbed a remarkable 2390 feet in rise!

One Response to “Day 15–World of ice”

  1. BASILE says:

    WOW! Congratulations again and again,,, Your adventure is completely fascinating to read and follow♥

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