Today we woke up to sunshine, skied new record kilometers in the sunshine, and arrived at the campsite in the evening in an almost summer atmosphere: no wind and the sun was really, really hot. The end of the day was quite a contrast to the -15 degrees centigrade in the morning.
When cooking inside the tent, this heat and lack of wind is almost a problem as it’s not pleasantly cool. This is sometimes a problem, especially when sleeping at night, but we'll come back to it another day.
The most observant ones must have noticed that our daily journeys are getting longer. In addition to the improvement of the terrain, there is another very natural reason for this: the sledges are getting lighter every day. These long expeditions are quite multivariate problems where everything affects everything:
You can start out with really light sledges, little food, little repair and backup equipment. The pace is wildly better from the start when you're not dragging that extra 20 kg behind you from day one. On the other hand, this method does not withstand as many unexpected events (storms, broken equipment), and thus the risks of not reaching the goal are higher.
Another option is to play it safe: take enough food for several days with you, and be prepared for everything that makes sense to be prepared for. This method is more resilient to unpredictable events, but the cost is slower progress throughout the trip.
We have chosen the latter way. We have food for 50 days, and the main goal is to succeed, and not to set any records. People started after us in the opposite way, because they are trying to set new speed records. And the Norwegian couple who left at the same time as us is an "intermediate model Passat": they have 10 days less food compared to us, and with that setup (and with the good physical condition), they now make 50% longer journeys than us. But they're also in a bit of a hurry.
Hopefully, the above will make it easier to follow the activities of different expeditions from, for example, ExplorersWeb.
Today's photo shows a pair of sledges on the first leg of the day. Thanks to Sasta once again for these shell outfits; Sasta has been a tireless outfitter for the expeditions of the Airborne Ranger Club for 25 years
|Wind||2 m/s SW|
|Ski hours||8 h|
|Distance||23.9 km (3.0 km/h)|