Day 41–Growing Concerns

December 15, 2011 8:09pm

December 15, 2011

S80°23.8123 E037°42.613

Elevation 11570 feet

Last night’s positive assessment of my toe condition was somewhat diminished this morning upon inspection. It is hard to tell whether the dead cells are continuing their degenerative cycle from prior damage–even within the contained environment of the tent–or whether yesterday’s travel damaged the toe further setting off more degeneration overnight. It remains that dead cells have extended further over the crown of the toe which has hardened into a shell. As such, ghastly though it looks, the injury is relatively contained. The imperative is to protect the next layer of skin from further cold exposure. The main concern with a frost injury is to prevent it from reaching the bone; consequences then can be dire. Luckily, we are not there. Nonetheless, the situation did require further assessment, and we decided to stay in the tent for the day, especially as winds were light.
I am taking this situation very seriously, and have no desire to lose a toe! I am interfacing with frostbite experts and providing them daily photographs of the condition. At the same time, the time has not come to throw in the towel.
I am somewhat perplexed about the steps that led to this, as my other toes have been exposed to the same conditions without displaying any signs of injury. I have not found my boots systems to be especially cold, but to mitigate the risk Eric and I will switch one boot. He is wearing Millet mountaineering boots, which are not especially great for skiing but are very warm. My foot is bigger than his, so we have reconfigured the inside with felt liners and a different socks system. Tomorrow, we will give that a shot and both wear different boots on each foot; different boots with different bindings, and different skis! Whatever works! We are a stone’s throw away from the POI at this stage and will take it one day at a time. Needless to say these are tense times. This is the time to dig deep: great achievements never come cheap. But if you have a moment, put in a good thought our way. Tomorrow will be critical.

14 Responses to “Day 41–Growing Concerns”

  1. Philip Ituarte says:

    Positive thoughts for you and your toe Mr Copeland!

  2. donovan leitch says:

    You are a hero Sebastian.

  3. super pet says:

    sending you all the love and strength I’ve got. xx

  4. Anna Lapushner says:

    Good thoughts your way Sebastian and Eric.

  5. Michel Schnaas says:

    Mind over matter and God speed ahead. You will reach your goal!

  6. Leila and Aidan says:

    Wow our whole house is completely involved with your trip and we are often discussing what you are up against. We are sending you our support and prayers and hope that Eric’s boot helps!
    Leila, Aidan, mathew and Francis

  7. Penelope Casadesus says:

    I’m glad you’re taking this situation seriously, and hope that if you have to stop once you get to the South Pole, you will take the decision to do so. It’s already an achievement to get that far. The conditions you are both facing seem to be so much worse than on your other trips. If you remember, you already had problems with that same toe this summer and the nail came off. Obviously, the cold and the constriction of your foot being in a boot doesn’t help. Anyway, I trust you to be sensible and if you have to stop, you will do so. We love you and want you home! Your mother xxxx

  8. Heidi says:

    I am willing your toe to behave itself! My kite trip across Greenland was cut short because of the same injury in the very same toe (plus a few fingers..) so I know how you feel! Sending you best of luck and good vibes, and if I could send some of the howling wind we have here in the UK I would!

  9. Ginger says:

    Sending positive thoughts and good vibes your way Sebastian! I do pray for health and swift recoverery!

  10. Richard Wegman says:

    Blessings to both of you and all 20 toes!!

  11. Gord Lang says:

    I have never actually said a prayer for a toe before….but will give it a shot this evening putting my little one to bed. She says a prayer for you and Eric every night! Stay Tough and Be Smart!

  12. Stephane Planchon says:

    Wish you the best for tomorrow !!!

  13. Tmac says:

    just watched your movie…….brilliant, hope the toe heals, thinking bout ya, stay warm T

  14. BASILE says:

    You are the best.
    Please take care of you (both of you)
    Good thoughts your way, Sebastian and Eric
    Your adventure is absolutely fascinating ♥

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