Into The Whiteout (Log #46)

L O U ' S   D I A R Y  

Day 47 in Antarctica. A hard day for Lou (conditions wise), after hearing the wind building outside the tent all night. He thinks twice about pushing on, but decides to go for it. He steps out into complete whiteout - 50mph winds - and starts to move off with the wind slightly behind him. The temperature is low. By 8 o’clock he stops after 13 punishing hours. He's made 20 nautical miles, which is a new personal best...


Dec 19 2018 - 

Good evening everyone...

Reporting in on day 47 of the expedition. A really hard day today with the conditions. I knew the forecast was bad for today. I didn’t realise how bad it was going to be. All through the night, every hour, I could hear the wind building and building, and the tent going ten to the dozen. I knew it was going to be a tough one. Had a look out this morning – complete whiteout and 50 mile-an-hour winds. I was in two minds whether or not to go for it. But I’m getting low on food and fuel and I need to keep moving forward. So I decided to go for it.

Really challenging getting the tent down safely and getting that packed. By the time I’d got everything in the pulk, the pulk was just full of spin drift and everything was covered. I was getting buried. Off I went, and got going. The wind was side on, but just enough diagonal, that it was slightly behind me. So I got a little bit of a push from it, which was great. But the temperatures were ferocious. If you think the still air is about -25, and then you add a 50 mile-an-hour wind to that, it was just absolutely freezing cold. Stopping and doing anything was really difficult and I was reluctant to stop at all for breaks, to take on food and drink, I kept them very short, and very few. As a result, I kept pushing on. I got to the usual finish time and it was still howling. I thought I’d go a bit longer just to see if I could get a lull so I could put the tent up, ‘cause I was quite worried about trying to get the tent back up in those conditions. I kept going, it got to about 8 o’clock and I’d been going for 13 hours.

I hadn’t eaten or drunk that much either, so I had to stop in the end. Getting the tent up – that took a while, I had to be really careful. I was lying on it, getting the poles in and just securing it – I had to carabiner it onto the pulk just to make sure I didn’t lose it. I was really worried about damaging it. If you rip the tent apart here, or even worse, lose control, you’re instantly into a life-threatening situation in these conditions.

I had to be really methodical. I got everything into the tent. I had a look at the GPS. I was pleasantly surprised. I’d gone 20 nautical miles today, which is a new personal best, so really pleased with that. Great considering the conditions. I must have had a bit of a push from the wind and obviously I’d gone longer as well.

Shackleton Pulk In Whiteout

The final thing. Seeing as the poo blog that I did apparently had the biggest reaction. I’m going to let you in on a little secret. On days like today when it’s absolutely howling, the thought of going out in my thermals… I know I’m going to get soaked in spindrift going outside, I actually went for a poo in the vestibule of the tent, into the pit of despair. Which is absolutely fantastic. I only do it on rough weather days. Please don’t tell anyone, it’s my personal secret. I poo-ed into the pit of despair and then, as long as you back-fill it straightaway with a bit of snow, all isn’t too bad, and it saves me going outside in 50-mile-an-hour winds and exposing my undercarriage, which would be a most unpleasant start to the day. So that’s the second time on this expedition I’ve had a vestibule poo.

That’s all from me.