Day 11: Howling Winds and Rough Terrain
he surface conditions today were much rougher. Instead of a relatively smooth and flat surface to ski on, we had a long and gradual uphill climb over rough bumps and a confusion of sastrugi. This was some of our highest sastrugi yet, up to 40 inches.
But we had a flawless blue sky with excellent visibility. In fact, the day was enjoyable, despite one other factor: the biting south wind. Throughout the morning it howled, up to 40 mph, sending a ground blizzard of snow swirling low across the surface.
"Ray is amazing; nothing ever bothers him. He just kept slogging along, oblivious to the cold and wind. In fact I once heard him laughing."
I skied beside Ray today, and as the hours wore on, I watched his face mask ice up until, from the nose down, it was a frozen mass of icicles. He could not drink from our water bottle, and he could barely pass a few thin salami pieces into his mouth. I tried to loosen the ice from around his mouth but it pulled painfully on his mustache and beard. But Ray is amazing; nothing ever bothers him. He just kept slogging along, oblivious to the cold and wind. In fact I once heard him laughing.
Jenny taking a wind reading.
Happy hour for me is when we stop to make camp after 9 hours of skiing. Setting up the tent and making the inside cozy with pads, quilt, clothing bags. Stove and food warms us both. I was pleased to see today that this took us only 50 minutes.
Transferring bags of food and camping gear from pulk to tent.
Evening camp: S 81° 37.024' W 82° 01.353'
Today's mileage: 11.5
Here is why that nunatak is usually visible at each camp.