Blue Skies And Mountains (Log #52)

L O U ' S   D I A R Y  

Day 53 in Antarctica. Christmas Day. Lou is skiing in the early hours to make use of a weather gap. He gets in 14 nautical miles and stops at 0500. He then gets going again around 10am in foul weather, buffeted by strong winds, trying to keep control of his pulk. Weather clears during Lou's last hour and the blue skies open up to provide Lou's first close-up view of the Transantarctic mountains...


Dec 25 2018 - 

Good evening everyone...

Reporting in on day 53, Christmas Day, of the expedition. I hope you all had a great Christmas – it’ll be Boxing Day by the time you get this message. I hope you all had a fantastic day. I was thinking about everyone as I was skiing along – friends and family. A bit of a mixed bag for me on Christmas Day. I had some bad weather reports of stuff coming in, so I decided to work around it and split the day.

I set off at 2100 hours on Christmas Eve, and got a stint in for a few hours until 0500, trying to make use of the gap in the weather. I got about 14 nautical miles in. I stopped at 0500, put the tent up. I got all my ski kit off and just climbed in, and slept for three hours. I did a bit of prep and got going again around about 10 on Christmas Day and did another stint in truly foul weather. The wind was still really strong, it was a massive side wind, it was really buffeting me around – the pulk was just like an out-of-control dog on a leash behind me. I was all over the place trying to control the thing, pulling me about. Really bad visibility as well. The nav was really tricky.

Transantarctic Mountains

So I struggled on, got a few more hours in, and just went up till 1800 today. The last hour of the day, everything cleared weather-wise. The sun came out; blue skies and then the peaks of the Transantarctic mountains, which I haven’t seen at all all day, but I knew were close, all lit up before me. It was fantastic. I’ve sent an image in, the daily image, you’ll see the peak I’m skiing towards at the moment, which is getting bigger on the horizon now. I’m approaching the very top of the Leverett Glacier, I’m not far out, literally a few miles out. I’m tracking sideways in to the opening of the top of the Glacier.

Still up at altitude as well. It’s surprising, I’m still up at 8,142ft, so I’ve been climbing as well, in a compete whiteout, without even realising it, so that’s been pretty tough going. But hopefully from tomorrow I start to descend. As the crow flies, actually not as the crow flies, I mean the waypoints and routes marked out, I’m 70 nautical miles now from the finish point. So I’m going to try and crack that in three days – if the conditions, surface and weather allow – I’m going to try and get three 20 nautical mile days in, and get the expedition done in three days if all goes well. But hey, you never know with Antarctica, she may have other ideas, but that’s my plan. Let’s see if I can crack it.

Have a great Boxing Day everyone, I look forward to updating you on my further progress.