Day 24–The Routine

November 29, 2011 8:04am

November 28, 2011

S75°03.035′ E013°10.911

Elevation 11231 feet

Antarctica is the largest ice mass in the world. But it wasn’t always the case, of course. During the last mini ice age, about 15,000 years ago, the Arctic ice cap expanded across all of Canada and as far south into the US as Pennsylvania. In fact, much of North America looked just like the terrain that we are experiencing here: vast, frozen and lifeless. As we advance farther into the heart of Antarctica, I can’t help but imagine–with a chill–what it would be like if the New York coastline was a mile or so below my skis. It may seem far fetched, but it isn’t, really. This is likely to happen again, though admittedly, I won’t be around when it does; which is just as well.

That thing about the early bird gets to fly from yesterday’s post has not turned out to be that, exactly. I woke up at six, then seven, then eight to the same lifeless excitement outside: the tent did not so much as flutter. Not a whiff of wind. It looked as though the day was a bust, but around 11:00 the low decibel sound of wind manifested timidly. There was just enough to get the big guns out, and the angle was acceptable: it meant beating upwind some, and with the powerful pull of the Yakuza’s, this translate to a real leg workout, but not necessarily much speed. Still, we were moving. The squeeze on my rib cage was less than ideal, but I have been popping Ibu 800’s like they were tic tacs–which brings up the concern of running out–and the pain comes and goes. I am frugal with the anti inflammatory at night to conserve on reserves. This means that any movement I make in the night typically wakes me up, and I am forced to sleep on my back. The strain is a downer, but I am getting used to it, and thankfully, apart from that, it is manageable.

The elephant in the room of this trip is, of course, the temperature. By the time we called the day, by 17:30, with winds so light the squeeze and effort were not worth the mileage, the temperature was around 35C below. The moment the effort stops, that cold has a bite that stays with you long after you’re in the tent and wrapped deep in the sleeping bag. Yesterday, I also noticed a crack in my sledge in one of the rails. It is of concern for the rest of the trip; not now while we are high on the plateau as the surface is smoother, but when we start encountering bad sastrugi again, this could have serious consequences. It surely happened on the demolition derby day, and I have been taking stowaway snow since. Argh! Another headache. We still managed 47.32 kilometers today and have broken 500 kilometers since Novo–504 to be exact!

4 Responses to “Day 24–The Routine”

  1. BASILE says:

    L’espoir fait avancer… Hope makes miracles…

  2. Anne de La Baume says:

    Dès que je lis tes récits je vais monter le thermostat du chauffage !
    Certes l’expérience est favorable à l’introspection mais comment supporte-t-on l’agitation du monde quand on revient ? Et l’inutile ? Et le small talk ? Enfin il est vrai que Pénélope t’attend, mais non pas ta mère, celle d’Ulysse, ta fiancée.
    Pensées joyeuses et admiratives. Anne dlb

  3. Matthew says:

    Mate, stop at 7/11 for some Advil……! Sorry, not funny but amusing. Look out for the green and orange sign reflecting off the ice. Be strong and safe my brother.
    Matthew :

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