The Charge (Log #20)
L O U ' S D I A R Y
Day 21 in Antarctica. Three weeks into the journey, Lou charges on between pockets of soft snow, trudging hard up to higher ground on firm sastrugi, where he stops for a moment's rest before blasting across to the next elevation. After lunch Lou contends with strong winds and eventually pitches his tent and wraps himself in his bag with the banshees howling outside - he's made 10 nautical miles.
Nov 23 2018 -
Good evening everyone…
Reporting in now from day 21 of the expedition. Three weeks today I’ve been going. A difficult start to the day today, I woke up to still lots of pockets of soft snow around from the snow fall from the last few days and it was a really slow, difficult start. In between the pockets of soft snow there were higher bits of sastrugi that were a bit firmer, so I ended up hopping from one firm bit of ground to the next one – a bit like stepping across a pond with stepping stones, and using the firm bits of ground. What I had to do was run down into the soft stuff, and charge through that as hard as I could on skis, dragging my pulk for 20-30 feet, make it onto a firmer bit, stop, get my breath back, puffing and panting. Then line myself up and blast across to the next one. I made a little bit of decent progress doing that.
That was the first half of the day and then lunchtime the wind started to pick up and we got some real katabatic blasts and they’d come and blow hard for around half an hour, 45 minutes, and I’d be in a complete maelstrom of spindrift and everything else. And then it would eerily calm right down again. And that was the rest of the day. Each time I got a blast of the katabatic wind it hardened the surface of the snow and made the going much better and by the end of the day the whole area was much harder and firmer, which made the hauling that little bit easier.
I was quite pleased with the blasts of wind – they got more and more ferocious throughout the day and I really had to pick my moment: there was a lull in between right at the end of the day to basically get the tent up and get my kit in before the next one came. It’s howling away outside there now. I managed to make 10 nautical miles and I was quite pleased with that considering the conditions and hopefully more strong winds overnight and tomorrow again will just be again harden the surface and compact it down, which will definitely work in my favour.
To finish off, a shout out to my son, Luke Rudd, who’s serving with the Royal Marines. He’s just been away on exercise for two and a half months, and has just got home in these last couple of days. So I’d like to welcome Luke back home and I look forward to catching up with you in January when I get back from here son.
That’s all for tonight.