L O U ' S D I A R Y
Another good day in Antarctica. Lou begins the first hard climbs and makes 11.5 nautical miles. Stiff breeze hangs around -25C. Clear sunshine and good visibility. Lou has been able to use his shadow as a guide and take a break from long periods of compass staring...
Nov 6 2018 –
Good evening everyone,
This is Lou now reporting in from day 4 of the expedition. Similar conditions weather-wise to yesterday, so a stiff breeze outside being roundabout -25 degrees, but again bright sunshine and good visibility which really helps with navigation. Most of the day I was just using my shadow so I didn’t have to stare down at the compass all day long. Every hour I’d have a quick glance at the compass and line up with my shadow and then ski on that which really helps and makes life a bit easier.
I gained a bit of altitude today, I’m now up at 1,205 ft and there’s a couple of brutal climbs throughout the day – big, long rolling banks that probably took me about an hour to get up. Probably the best decision I made was bringing two sets of skis on the expedition – I’ve got one set fitted with a full-length skin on the bottom exactly for that, for climbing. And I’ve got another set with a half skin.
For those not familiar with skins, they’re basically a synthetic fur which you stick on to the bottom of your skis. As you slide forward the pile folds flat so you get more of a glide, and as you pull back the resistance of the fibres folds out and grips the snow and you need that on for hauling a pulk as there’ that much weight. It really helped today when I got to the base of some of the big climbs, I’d quickly switch skis, put on long skins, and then tackle the climb.
As soon as it was flat enough, I could get back onto my half skin which I’m convinced is a little bit easier to ski in – less resistance. So great to be able to do that. If I didn’t have that then I’d have to stop and switch skins, put the tent up maybe, glue them on, and take a long time to keep switching skins, so really please. Bit of a weight penalty carrying two sets of skis, but it gives me a spare set of bindings then too, so I think it’s well worth it and I’m really pleased with that decision.
I managed a little bit further again today – 11.5 nautical miles – which I’m really pleased with considering the climbing I had in there. Overall a good day. Feet are taking a bit of a battering just being in the boots soaked in sweat for eight or nine hours, so a couple a couple of blisters to attend to tonight but nothing too serious. Overall feeling pretty good and looking forward to getting stuck in tomorrow.
I’d like to finish off – I’d like to wish my daughter Amy best of luck with her RAF assessment, tomorrow that she’s heading off to and a quick thank you. I’d like to thank Lt Colonel Shaun Chandler from the Infantry Battle School – he’s my current boss. I’d like so say thanks very much for all your support and for believing in me and the expedition and cutting me the slack to help me prepare. So huge thanks for everything you’ve done Colonel. I look forward to telling you all about it when I’m back.
That’s all from me for tonight. Signing off.