Day 42: Seven Down, Three to Go
After breaking camp, Jenny is fitting the baskets to her ski poles. We take the baskets off when making camp, and use the poles to anchor the tent. The baskets are also tied to the poles with a short piece of cord, to prevent loss.
With very little wind, I'm skiing without my jacket for a few hours, to prevent the shirt from icing up.
Jenny and her ultra-cool sunglasses and earbuds. The headband is actually a pair of goggles worn backwards to clear the ice from the lens, which takes a few hours. We are at a rest stop and she has pulled her scarf down to drink water and eat a few quick snacks. Otherwise, the scarf covers her nose and mouth to guard against sunburn, and to help prevent the infamous cough caused by breathing the cold air. The temperature is -20 C but there is no wind. In wind (which is almost always) she would switch to goggles from sunglasses, and put the fur hood of her ski jacket up.
Today was nice weather, with very little wind most of the day, and some snow. But the sastrugi was a challenge and we spent the day going around, over, and through it. Mostly through it.
At one point we climbed a high sastrugi mound, one of many hundreds today. Usually we ski down the backside slope, but this one dropped off vertically 8 or 9 feet. Not good to encounter something like that in a white out!
At the end of our 10 hour day we usually find a campsite within five minutes, but this time it took half an hour to find the right snow consistency.
This afternoon we reached 87 degrees south. Seven down, three to go. Tonight we celebrated with cake and big steaming mugs of hot chocolate.
Distance to the Pole: 200 miles (statute as opposed to nautical)
Evening camp: S 87° 05.690' W 86° 48.692'
Today's mileage: 12.0 in 10.5 hrs
Altitude: 7250 ft., Temperature: -20 C