Day 31–Growing Concerns

December 5, 2011 3:51pm

December 5, 2011

S77°22.351 E021°38.508

Elevation 11278 feet

Short of our walking days, today was perhaps our personal worse for distance. It’s not that the will isn’t there; it is becoming alarming how weak the wind is up here. And this has all the makings of jeopardizing our plan to reach the–aptly named– Pole of Inaccessibility in the time delays necessary. In spite of an early rise, the wind (from the North, still) was very weak. We set off on a day which, if time was not of the essence, would have likely been a forced rest day for the conditions. I can’t decide whether this is pig headed stubbornness; wild and naïve optimism; or a desperate case for perseverance. Suffices to say that our projected daily average is lagging like a ship taking water. In the first two hours we barely managed 13 kilometers. By the end of our second section, the wind had dropped to 2.1 meters per second; barely enough to pull the sledges. Often, and for a few moments, we would simply stall–not able to move at all while the sledge butted against a piece of sastrugi. By mid afternoon, following what is clearly the trend, the wind shut off completely.

If I had one recommendation for future expeditions looking for a good time kiting on Antarctica: set your bearing elsewhere! These are not fun days–with or without music. There are hard working days with little results to show for. What’s more, we are imposed short hours from the wind. Walking and hauling up here is hardly an option, as the elevation robs a good amount of oxygen from each breath. We spend time sucking on air after each extraneous effort. And as the terrain alternates between rough ice and soft snow, and as the sledges are still very heavy, that option offers little prospects: we would barely cover a kilometer before packing it. In the next few days, I will be forced to evaluate whether to set our bearing to 90 degrees South–the South Pole. Unless stronger winds manifest, and fast, the POI could elude us yet.

And now for the numbers: we traveled 28 kilometers today. We have covered 852 kilometers so far and are 790 kilometers from Novo, as the crow flies. 828 kilometers separate us from the POI… But still, we hope!



10 Responses to “Day 31–Growing Concerns”

  1. BASILE says:

    “wild and naïve optimism;” something happens anyway NOt what you want but… what the Nature decides;
    You are always my hero
    Have a good music…

  2. Joe Robinson says:

    Looking forward to those 100km days ahead; they will be there.
    With 60 days on the expedition they better be!
    Take care out there; be safe an patient!


  3. Harald Golbach says:

    Hey Guys Don,t worry.our whole sangha prayed for stabil Wind on our Last Guru Rinpoche tsok Last sunday, Keep going

  4. Eva says:

    Now I´m really angry with the gods, they are not obeying my prayers for good wind for you! I have to have a serious conversation with them. I hope it helps. My thoughts and prayers are with you.

  5. Sammy says:

    Thinking of you Bast, keep going, truely inspiring, praying for wind…xx

  6. Daniela Maselli says:

    Every kilometer covered is an achievement for you and for anybody, no matter how much time it takes.

  7. Eric MTwater says:

    Sebastian and Eric,

    Your largest kite you have brought with you is an Ozone Yakuza GT 14.
    Ozone also supply the Yakuza GT 17.
    Since you are now traveling at high altitudes, the air is thinner compared to sea level.

    Normally 2.1 m/s should be enough to get moving, if not already too much wind for a Yakuza GT 17 on long lines.

    Have you considered bringing a 17 for traveling in thin air at light winds ?


    • db110099_wpress says:

      Generally speaking, the 14’s are plenty to go with. If they cannot get off the ground, it typically means that nothing will! Once they fly, they deliver a lot of power, especially with the long lines (80 meters). The larger kite would often be too powerful on long lines–and too close to the 14 on short ones.

  8. Penelope Casadesus says:

    Well, I can only say that I’m thinking of you both every minute. I wonder if thoughts help and actually reach you?
    Anyway, the thoughts are there, and I really think that this trip has been so tough. Courage! comme on dit en France!
    I’m with your sister Caroline who sends you her (slightly anguished!) love and kind of wonders what you are doing there?
    Love from the family and all my love from your mother xxx

  9. Paul says:

    Keep the faith

Leave a Reply