Antarctica Blog - Day 23 - 9th January 2013

Hi Guys.  Another tiring day today but first yesterday.  I skied for 9½ hours and covered 34.3km/21 miles/18.51 nautical miles.  Great conditions yesterday but I started to climb to 1,505m in altitude and I also had challenging sastrugi, it was hard going.  The sastrugi was just constant and I was absolutely shattered.  When I got in my bag last night everything was screaming - my achilles, my knees, shins, hamstrings, quads, glutes, back, shoulder, absolutely everything was hurting yesterday.  It also got really cold towards the end of the day and it was pretty cold last night.

One of the things I love about expeditions though is that it gives you so much perspective.  At the end of an exhausting day the sound of my stove burning is the happiest sound in the world, it’s just lovely.  I know I am warm, sheltered and safe in my tent for the evening.  I was so tired I ate my food inside my bag last night and then went to sleep.

Today has been the coldest day so far.  Might be because I am gaining in altitude which is effecting me physiologically, I doubt that its that though as I’m not at significant altitude.  I think it’s just the body fat on me, or rather the lack of it.  It’s been another challenging day managing my fingers and face in the cold.

Conditions were glorious today visibility wise, total bluebird.  In the morning I still had to battle the sastrugi, the afternoon it cleared but there was an incline all afternoon.  Today is the first day I have skied in my Rab primaloft jacket - it was that cold today and because I was climbing uphill and tired, I couldn’t work hard enough to generate heat.  I had a headwind all afternoon, the cold wind coming down the slope as you climb straight in your face is just another cruel twist of nature!

I skied for 9 hours and 20 minutes, a slightly shorter day.  With the headwind and the climbing I was totally shattered again but I skied 32.2km/20 miles/17.38 nautical miles.  I am now at 1,627m/5,337ft.

I’m eating my lamb and potatoes, which is lush.  It’s cold tonight again.  Honestly I am not sure what the temperature is exactly.  I get the feeling it has dropped comfortably below –20c.  In my experience -20c is my threshold and below my threshold, about -28c to -32c is when it begins to get more challenging to manage, I feel like it has dropped below -20c significantly.

Physically it’s getting tough now and it’s very much the business end of the expedition when slight hiccups, food, calculations, all the tiny factors come in to play and play on my mind now - have I got all my calculations right? enough food, fuel, etc.  I am still within my safety margins but during the 10 hours skiing a day your mind does wonder.  I’m starting to feel like every day has got to count.

Although physically it’s getting tough and my morale has wobbled a little, it’s still high.  I am still smiling over here and every day I am a step closer to the Pole.

This will make you laugh I am sure, although I could have cried for hours…Today I spilt my Jelly Bellies in the snow.  I saved my 2 Jelly Bellies for the end of the day because they are like heaven, my treat at the end of a long day skiing.  It sounds really irrational but I had to stop myself from crying when I dropped both of them in the snow, I was so tired.  But I managed to save them and pick them up eating them one by one off the snow!

Today’s hashtag - #tootiredtohashtag