Antarctica Blog - Day 27 - 13th January 2013

Tough going again yesterday.  Especially after the day before.  I was still a bit frazzled from Friday.  I woke up to glorious conditions, no wind, bluebird sky and the first hour getting the heavy legs out of me was just awesome.  It took me about an hour to get in to it.  I always knew I was going to start climbing yesterday and all the epic sastrugi that everyone was talking about - I’d hoped I had navigated around it.  Oh no - there she was!  It was like a scene from a movie, some prehistoric landscape, I guess it is really.  I’ve encountered denser sastrugi but these were just absolutely massive.   You can’t ski over them they were about a metre and a half tall, some bigger than me so I had to ski around them.

I spent around 5 hours going through the sastrugi zone, pretty much most of the day yesterday and all the time climbing.  I said in my blog the other day that climbing in to a headwind is like a cruel twist of nature, she might have topped this off now with sastrugi and climbing.

Mentally I was prepared for it though; I got in to my stride and just ground it out, one step at a time.  I kept repeating the mantra in my head over and over again every day stronger, every day closer.

I had a day of food thoughts yesterday, all I could think about was meals I have had, meals I am planning or meals I want to cook myself when I get home.

It was pretty much 9 hours of solitary thinking about food and meals I want to cook!  I have tried to control my thoughts and be disciplined about this but in the end I just gave up and let my mind go with it, it didn’t seem to effect me too much and then the food bag I pulled out last night for dinner was one of my favourites; chilli con carne and chocolate and orange rice pudding.  I don’t rehydrate the rice pudding, I eat it dry, it’s really nice dry.

The last hour of yesterday the wind picked up which it seems to do each day so it was a real godsend to get in to the tent, relax and try and switch off.  It wasn’t my longest and toughest day but once again it was really rewarding, as it was another big chunk of difficult terrain crossed.

I skied for 9 hours and covered 28.1km/17 miles/15.16 nautical miles.

I am at 1,962m/6,437ft in altitude.  It’s hard to say if the altitude is affecting me, it’s probably just fatigue rather than the altitude but I am certainly taking a little longer to get going in the mornings and the legs are feeling heavier.  It is going to start to play a factor but I perform pretty well at altitude so I am feeling confident.  Over the next few days I still have got to climb to about 2,800m/9,186ft and then I have to navigate a heavy crevasse zone just as the glacier rolls off.

Today I am hoping for some more Roy Noble inspiration.  Every time I speak to him on BBC Radio Wales I seem to have a good day.  Today in my mind is a milestone day as it’s the day I plan to cross the 87th degree and if all things go to plan, it’ll mean that tomorrow I will be in single figures remaining and have 9 days left of the expedition so today is definitely a bit of a milestone in my mind.

Blister update: My blisters have almost healed.  They were maybe the size of 50p pieces on my heels.  After dressing them with some jelly stuff that Doc Martin (ALE’s doctor) gave me at Union Glacier Base Camp they have virtually healed.  He helped me tweak my first aid kit before I set off to make it lighter and only take what I need.  I was really grateful to him for spending some time with me to do this.  He gave me this jelly stuff to put on them, I took it off my blisters 2 days ago and now I don’t have any dressing on my heels.  They are in really good shape.  If I had enough of that jelly stuff I would stick it all over my body as well!

Today’s hashtags are #everydaystronger #everydaycloser

Expedition total km/miles skied to date: 790.82km/491miles.  

Expedition hours spent skiing to date: 224.45