Antarctica Blog - Day 2 - 19th December 2012

23.30pm GMT/20.30pm local time

I’ve got 2 full days under my belt, and just easing my way in, I feel like I am making good progress.  Yesterday on my first day it was tough going as there was a lot of climbs because the sea ice is naturally concaved so the first section climbing out of the inlet on to terra firma is a tough section, especially with a full pulk weighing about 89kg.  I also had a second climb through the first roll off of the glacier.

I climbed about 400m vertically on the first day and travelled 15km, slow going but was important to get myself in a good position for today.  Only skied for 6 hours but I was blessed with perfect conditions which was awesome to have on my first day.

Today I skied for 7 hours and covered 25.4km/13.7 nautical miles/15.78 miles.

I woke up this morning to a complete whiteout, couldn’t see 10 metres in front but decided to keep moving and after the first 4 hours the whiteout cleared a little, but then heavy cloud arrived so the light was flat.  It was really hard to navigate and keep my bearing, with no landmarks, nothing to navigate off and no shadows so I could use the sastrugi to navigate but this afternoon I had a bit more shadows so it was better.  Conditions under foot were very good.

I am easing my way in, I am not firing on all cylinders yet but my morale is good and every time I am in the tent and eat some food I know that my pulk is a little lighter.

Since I pitched my tent conditions have been perfect with awesome visibility – the irony!

Today was a big day as I am around and above the heavy crevassing by Hercules Inlet.  It’s a big milestone for me as it is one of the first major hazards navigated.

Got another climb tomorrow but in the next few days I will be out of the first mental leg of the journey for me and I am looking forward to getting in to my groove.

I had Thai Green Curry tonight for dinner and after my sked call (my scheduled phone call in to the ALE guys at union glacier) I had chocolate and orange rice pudding, I am eating well and doing good.

I am only 2 days in and it’s taken every ounce of my willpower not to open the Christmas cards my family gave me! Ha!  got another 6 days to wait until to Christmas.  Speak soon guys, thanks for all your tweets and messages of support.  Rich.

INFO: Sastrugi are sharp irregular grooves or ridges formed on a snow surface by wind erosion and deposition, and found in polar and temperate snow regions. They differ from sand dunes in that the ridges are parallel to the prevailing winds.