Trust In The GPS (Log #19)

L O U ' S   D I A R Y  

Day 20 in Antarctica. Tough conditions after heavy snowfall. Mild temperatures hover around -10. The fully loaded pulk becomes lodged in snow after around 500m. Whiteout descends. After a couple more miles Lou stops and opts to conserve energy. On previous expeditions he's had to wait for up to five days for conditions to clear... 


Nov 22 2018 - 

Good evening everyone…

Reporting in now from day 20 of the expedition. Again, really difficult conditions today with snow fall. It pretty much snowed all through the night, and it was still snowing this morning, when I first got up. Temperatures really mild as well, it’s probably only about -10, -15. I thought I’d give it a go. I packed up and set off. I tried moving with the full load, and the snow is so deep and soft, after half an hour, I checked my progress, and I’d moved about 500m. It was that difficult going. I thought, OK, I’ll try a half load and ferry things forwards. It was a complete whiteout today as well, just to add to the difficulty. I dropped half a load, skied forward a couple of miles, and within a few hundred metres I glanced back and I couldn’t see the gear I’d left behind, which is quite disconcerting. Obviously I had GPS marked it.

I skied forward a couple of miles and dropped my tent and my sleeping bag and some other kit but again with a complete whiteout it was quite risky really. I was totally reliant on the GPS. I couldn’t even see my ski tracks between the two cache sites. They were getting filled in that quickly with the snow and with the whiteout as well I just couldn’t make them out. I literally turned back and picked up the 30 days of food I’d left behind and obviously left my tent and my sleeping bag and other critical kit in the second cache, and I realised it was quite high-risk what I was doing, and I was totally reliant on the GPS device to get back to that gear. So I went back, picked up the 30 days of food, successfully made it back to the tent and the critical safety kit. I decided that in whiteout conditions, the risk was too high. If that device failed, I wasn’t able to make my way back.

I decided to call it a day. It got to about midday and I’d only moved forward a few miles, and I decided that the safest option was to stop for the day. Which is no bad thing. I can just take a bit of a rest now and wait for conditions to improve. I’ve been on expeditions before where I’ve been sometimes stuck for five days static because of the conditions. It’s all part of being on an Antarctic journey. So I’ll use the rest while I can and hopefully conditions will change and improve and I can get going again and make some decent progress.

Lou Rudd Up Close

I’ll mention what the prize is for people entering the competition to guess the bit of kit that’s done every single journey with me. It’s an exclusive expedition sew-on patch, will be for those who get the correct answer, and we’ll reveal the answer in a few days’ time.

That’s all. I want to finish off with a quick shout out for Rhodri Lewis from Nordic Life. He’s been one of the great sponsors of the expedition. Huge thanks to you Rhodri and for anyone needing anything specialist Polar kit, then Rhodri is probably one of the sole suppliers in the UK who can supply specialist kit such as the skis, the Alfa boots and some brilliant clothing. 

That’s it.