Winds Galore

April 15, 2009 4:14am


The wind shook our tent like rag doll all night , and by the time
we hit the trail, the were strengthening to a mid day high of 35-40
mph. Luckily, they were still in the south west coming in to our backs
and left side. Still, three days of being battered by the freezing
needles of the Arctic wind takes its toll; it is physically taxing.
Additionally, the field of vision is very reduced by the imperative use
of the fur ruff hood. Effective though it is at shielding the cold
prick of the wind, it is also very isolating. As I lead the trail, I
endlessly switch from checking the ground in front of me–a natural
position when pulling the sledge as the body leans forward–and
checking my bearing, which effectively feels like looking up at the
sky. Repeat that about 15,000 times a day and see what it does to your
neck! The stunning visuals of the fine particles of snow traveling
across the ice floor like smoke is worth the price of admission. It is
surreal and epic. I filmed and photographed some, further inviting cold
injuries and stealing precious time, but it had to be done! Filming the
snow drift into the endless sunset of the midnight sun…

We woke to a south drift loss of two miles and were determined to
make it up for it today. We were lucky again with the terrain and
managed to do 15 nautical miles in 13.5 hours of travel (which means we
really did 17 but lost another two to the treadmill-like drift).
Crossing a wet lead, the ice cracked and my ski and boot went through.
I was lucky: the ice had looked sturdy due to the snow deposits from
the wind. This environment is hard and does not forgive the slightest
misstep. I readc^e.

The race for the pole is still on. We hope for good luck in the
terrain again so we can maintain that speed. Our stopping position is
N87°55.313 and W68°00.675 and drifting east fast. By morning we will
have probably lost to the south as well. Wish us luck! Ten days to

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