Pink Polar Expedition

Weather4Expedtions is guiding Geoff Wilson from Union Glacier.

You can follow Geoff on http://www.5thelementexpeditions.com/pink-polar/

News from Geoff:

The wind last night swung a little to the South as I approached my waypoint in front of a crevassed area I’d marked on the map. Unwittingly that meant that I couldn’t kite directly to my waypoint and in fact ended one kilometre downwind, smack bang in the middle of the crevasse field.
Exhausted last night, I knew poor visibility was coming - but decided fatigue was more likely to create havoc in trying to walk out of there. So I pitched camp on as deep snow as I could find, using the only two ice screws I have to anchor the tent for the winds that Marc De Keyser (Weather4Expeditions- who is doing a stirling job again - we used him in the Sahara for wind forecasting - a maestro!) had predicted to arrive during the night. They did and I was concerned that my thin purchase on the blue ice would not be sufficient. Thankfully it held.

Another stormy nights sleep, but this morning I was able to put out two solar panels and recharge everything - satellite phones, computer, storage lithium batteries, cameras, iPods, all in a matter of hours. The sun is so fierce here, it’s amazing how it drives the solar cells.

Then about three pm it calmed again but stayed, so by four pm I was roped long to the boobsled and carefully tapping my way along the blue ice to get out of the crevassed area. Safely one kilometre upwind I am now camped in a better position to kite the last three kilometres to a turning point where my trail turns upwind and I’ll have to do the hardwork myself!

So, basically a lay day today, but I’m back on my schedule as planned thanks to the amazing kite yesterday. Tomorrow is a tough day of split loading uphill through another crevassed area, but nothing like today’s minefield. I can’t decide what was more stressful; today’s tap tap tapping through a crevasse field solo, or kiting with a team of four through a known Southern Sahara minefield. Still deciding, tomorrow may tell.

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In this pic I’m on the edge of a ten foot wide crevasse. You can see how easily the edge is seen in good visibility, but woe to someone who enters here in a whiteout like earlier this morning.

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The above pic is boobsled in eye view of long rope. Using the sled as an anchor in case of a fall is my intention and expectation is to never get close enough to a crevasse to fall in - but it pays to be careful.

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