The Long Climb (Log #21)

L O U ' S   D I A R Y  

Day 22 in Antarctica. After a night in his wind-hammered tent Lou steps out expecting raging katabatic winds. The hammering has eased off in the morning and Lou enjoys a wind-free day. Still, he has to face a 500ft morning climb over icy ground, trying to tame his sliding pulk as he heads up towards the Thiel mountains in the distance. 


Nov 24 2018 - 

Good evening everyone…  

Reporting in now from day 22 of the expedition. The katabatic winds I was getting slammed with all day yesterday carried on and raged through most of the night and the tent definitely took quite a hammering all through the night and periodically I was waking up and having a quick check to make sure the poles were holding out because there were some quite fierce gusts. But it did admirably, which is great. And then really just in time, this morning, just before I was due to set off, it seemed to ease right off and I had a pretty good, wind-free day overall.

When I first set out this morning I had huge climb this morning. I thought I’d seen it when I finished last night. I wasn’t quite sure as there was that much spin drift; I could see this big dark area in front. I wasn’t sure if it was cloud, or if it was a bank, or what it was. But yes, it was quite a big climb and it took me up 500ft. I’m just below 5,000ft now. And it took me a good part of the day to trudge my way up it. It was quite steep in places and quite icy as well – I was struggling to grip sometimes with the skis. It did make the pulk slide reasonably well as well, which helped. A long, hard slog, but once I got on top it levelled out nicely and the surface firmed up, and I was able to push out 13 nautical miles through just under 11 hours of skiing. Really pleased with that, and I’m just starting to see the Thiel mountains now, I can see in the distance and behind me, so I’ve got a real sense of progress that I’m clearing that area and moving on to the next, which is great. I’m hoping now to make 86 degrees South, so four degrees from the Pole, in two days’ time. If I can get to 86, that’ll be a great milestone to get across that in a couple of days. I need to achieve 11 nautical miles each day for the next two days and I’ll make it to 86.

I spent most of the day listening to an audio book today; it was recommended by a good friend of mine and it’s called Chasing The Scream, and it’s all about the war on drugs. Absolutely fascinating how it all came about, and some really interesting takes on the war on drugs and what it’s all about, so I’d definitely recommend that – it’s a good read. 

Just to finish off, a quick shout out to Ian Holdcroft from The Shackleton Company, who has done so much in support of the expedition. He’s been absolutely superb and he’s done a huge amount of work with the expedition website and making sure all the updates go onto there. He even came out to Iceland with me on my build up training, and had a bit of experience himself into what Polar travel is all about and was super-enthusiastic. So a massive personal thank you from me Ian, for everything you’ve done so far in support of this expedition. It really is hugely appreciated. 

That’s all from me for tonight; hoping for more good weather tomorrow and more good progress.