Weather Warning (Log #26)

L O U ' S   D I A R Y  

Day 27 in Antarctica. Lou wakes up to a weather warning from ALE - a big weather front is coming in. He pushes on through howling winds and zero visibility. There's a few small disasters along the way - Lou takes a fall down some steep sastrugi and snaps the tip of his ski (don't worry, he's prepared and is carrying spares). In spite of the upturn in luck Lou keeps calm and makes 13.5 nautical miles...


Nov 29 2018 - 

Good evening everyone…  

Reporting in now from day 27 of the expedition. I had a weather warning come through to me yesterday from ALE warning that today there was big weather front coming in and it would be difficult conditions, so I was kind of expecting the worst. And I got it. I heard the wind building through the night while I was in the tent, and then as I was getting ready to go this morning I had a quick look out and yes – pretty howling winds and complete whiteout.

Probably the worst patch of whiteout I’ve had on the expedition so far. But I decided to go out anyway and give it a go. I want to keep making steady progress whenever I can. I went out and got everything packed up and set off, and there was absolutely zero visibility. It literally is like being inside a ping-pong ball. I couldn’t see anything and there was quite a lot of spindrift swirling around, and pretty strong winds, so I knew I was in for a challenging day but that’s the way it is. It was very much head down, focus on the compass, completely, and the old ski tips, and then just off I went, plodding along.

I seemed to have a catalogue of disasters, of things going wrong today. First, I managed to spill half my flask into the front of the pulk. I was trying to top up my Nalgene [water] bottle, during one of the breaks. It got knocked over and the wind caught it, and then poured half of the water out of the flask, which soaked everything in the pulk. That was the first thing. About half way through the day, the bottom of my ski stick where the basket is, detached. Luckily it hasn’t broken, it just came undone and came off. But I’m carrying two spare ski sticks, so that was a quick fix. I just swapped it out and sort it out in my repairs tonight. 

About an hour from the end of the day; I couldn’t see anything and I didn’t realise, I was obviously up on top of a big bit of sastrugi and there was a sheer drop of about 2-3ft off the other side of it. I was skiing along trying to make progress and skied straight off this vertical sort of lip of sastrugi and spanked in on some quite hard ice face first and managed to snap the tip of my ski, such was the impact. Luckily the pulk just teetered on the top just above me, and didn’t come crashing down on top otherwise I could have been quite badly injured. As it is, I’m alright – just a couple of bruises, nothing too drastic.

Then when I got in my tent tonight, trying to glue the tip of the ski and repair it, I managed to get glue all over the sleeping bag and all over the tent. It’s just been one of those days where if it can go wrong it will! Hey-ho, that’s all part of expedition life. Hopefully it’ll be slightly better conditions tomorrow but I managed to make over 13.5 nautical miles so I’m quite pleased with that. I’ve gained quite a bit of altitude as well. I’m up at 6.5 thousand feet.

Lou Rudd's Compass

Just to finish off, I’d like to do a shout out to my little brother, Nick Rudd. He’s very generously helped to sponsor the expedition so really pleased with that. I know I took the Mickey at the launch event in London and said he gave me a pound towards the expedition. He didn’t. It was way more than that and very generous. Thanks little bruv, I really appreciate the support and I hope you’re enjoying watching the expedition unfold. He’s otherwise known as the double-glazing Commando.

That’s all from me, I look forward to updating you tomorrow night.