Day 5–Kiting and New Troubles

November 10, 2011 12:20pm

November 9, 2011
S71°03.916′ E011°13.219′

Elevation 3763ft

From inside the tent, the flapping of the fabric in strong wind has the sound of banging corrugated iron sheets. That is what most of last night was like. By morning, while the wind had reversed direction from yesterday–it now blew from the east–it still had good enough an angle to pull out the kites. We flew the nine meter frenzy’s for about an hour, but the wind was weakening which made it painfully slow and a lot of work. We were sweating bullets trying to move the sledges over the rough terrain. Eventually, I came to a stand still. The kite was flying but not enough power to haul. We switched to thirteen meters, and even that for a while was slow moving. But then it picked up a bit and soon the hard work lessened to a reasonable pull. The surface is still very rough and twice, my ski stuck into a sastrugi and had me do a face plant–the equivalent of a yard sale! However, we were moving, and the landscape was noticeably changing. As we rose in elevation, a mountain range revealed itself to the south east, superb, rising out of the ice, with sharp, rugged peaks. This is the northern range of Queen Maud Land. In spite of the slow speed, within two hours we had already doubled our daily average. Ahead stood a significant crevasse area. The depressions showed cracks large enough to swallow a house.

We were struggling to work our way up a hill, and that is when it happened: after taking a fall from looping the kite in an attempt to generate power to move the sledges, I noticed that one of my skis did not look right: the ski was delaminating under foot! With this our first day of kiting, this could have catastrophic consequences to the expedition. Needless to say we had to stop and set up camp to assess our options. In the tent, I drilled holes through the ski, and will screw in the de-lamed surface tomorrow morning after applying epoxy and hope for the best. Right now, it is too cold in the tent to do anything further. I have serious concerns. I had brought a spare ski with me, but in a compromise with Eric, we opted to leave it at the station to cut on weight. That decision could be crippling. We traveled 14 kilometers today for a total of 31.43 km…

One Response to “Day 5–Kiting and New Troubles”

  1. Jorge says:

    the Ice is white still pressurizing i would go sunady to kite on skis but wouldn’t try skates since blades are small and may cause a ice crack . fishing huts already there but Safety First !!! if you don’t feel comfortable stay off ice, just wait couple more weeks >

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