Tough Battle (Log #3)

L O U ' S   D I A R Y  

Lou wakes to a day of good conditions. Temperatures waver around -20C and there's little wind and plenty of sunlight. Lou then spends the day locked in battle with a loaded pulk and light sastrugi...


Nov 4 2018 – 

Good evening everyone,

This is me calling now from camp 2 of the expedition. I woke this morning to really good conditions outside, about -20 with very little wind, and the sun was shining. I managed to get out and moving for 0830 this morning, and set off.  

It got really tough with the pulk – that is without a doubt what makes this expedition so difficult; the sheer weight in the pulk and trying to move this thing. I found that today – light sastrugi all day, and the pulk was catching all the time and bringing me to a halt. I’d have to jerk forward with my hips and try and unblock it and then get the thing moving again and it was a constant battle really all day with me trying to get the pulk moving, and making progress.

And in my seven and a half hours out there today, I managed to achieve 8.3 nautical mile, which I was reasonably pleased with. I thought I’d gone less – it just felt so slow today.

Even at -20C I was soaked in sweat. I’d stripped down as far as I could right down to my base layer, I couldn’t really take anything else off. With the sheer exertion of trying to move the pulk I was absolutely soaked in sweat and really damp. And then about lunchtime a light wind picked up and it super-chilled me and I felt really cold. 

I started putting more kit back on. For a while, I was worried about my core temperature plummeting – I had to get my down jacket and mitts on and just ski in those briefly for about half an hour just to stabilise myself. The wind backed off again and I managed to dry myself out and keep moving. 

Just a real battle all day long and it’s really dawning on me how tough a challenge I’ve undertaken here. I briefly saw the American Colin O’Brady this morning. He was camped about an hour behind me when I woke up this morning so a bit of a speck in the distance, and after about an hour – he looked like he was up and moving and following in my track (obviously we’re both heading the same way) – but after a couple of hours I couldn’t see him anymore so I’m not sure how he’s getting on. I’m sure he’s having as difficult a time as I am trying to move this pulk.

On the positive side, hopefully things can only get better as the pulk gets lighter, and hopefully I can make better progress and I guess I’ll settle into the expedition, and get used to the routine, get used to being out for long hours hauling, and adjust to the food and everything else. It takes a while to settle into these things, so I hope things will get slightly easier. Tough battle today. 

But I’m now nice and warm inside my tent, I’ve had my evening meal and am writing my diary. I’ve got a couple of blisters on the backs of my heels and it’s just again, where I’m straining forwards and putting so much pressure on the backs of my heels inside my boots which has rubbed the skin away, so I’ve got a couple of blisters to patch up ready for tomorrow.

Hopefully the weather will stay the same and I can get out there and do battle once more. That’s all for now. Good night everyone.



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