Day 56: Cold but Very Pretty
Today we skied for 10.5 hours. This was not unusual, we have averaged that for almost two months now. What was new was today's wind chill: -37C.
Needless to say we kept our rest breaks short, nothing over two minutes. Surprisingly, neither one of us wore our insulated jacket. This was to prevent sweating which could be dangerous. We were not exactly comfortable; all we could do was keep on truckin'. Every 15 or 20 minutes we would stop for half a minute to catch our breath, stretch some muscles, and admire the scenery - the ice cap, and the interesting clouds.
Despite the cold, it was an excellent day, very pretty, and the sun was shining, sometimes through thin cloud, sometimes directly. The surface was mixed, no big sastrugi (15 inches max). We had several hours during the middle of the day where the surface was fairly level. Then we started climbing again.
Again, at this evening's camp, we cannot see more than a few hundred yards ahead, to the top of the hill.
My face mask at day's end.
Antarctica's katabatic winds are born on the polar plateau. They are caused by the cold air descending to the surface, and picking up speed as they roll down the slope. So we are getting 10 to 12 knots, and Patriot Hills is reporting 40 knots.
For all those who drew a map of our progress, (the 10" line) we are at 89.5
Countdown: 28.5 miles to the Pole.
Evening camp: S 89° 33.582' W 86° 15.042'
Today's mileage: 12.8 in 10.5 hrs.
Altitude: 9165 ft., Temperature: -25C, Wind chill: -37C