Blindfolded (Log #12)

L O U ' S   D I A R Y  

Day 12 in Antarctica. Whiteout conditions leave Lou in two minds about whether to wait it out or push on. He opts to carry on across the sastrugi field, blindfolded by the incoming blizzard. After 10 hours and 7 nautical miles he calls it a day and reflects positively on his decision to stick it out.


Nov 14 2018 - 

Good evening everyone… 

Reporting in now from day 12 of the expedition. Again another really challenging day – just when you think things can’t get any harder, Antarctica decides to ramp it up to another level. So I came out of the tent this morning to complete whiteout conditions. So just zero visibility and I couldn’t see the ground, whether I was standing on any undulations or anything. Bearing in mind I’m still in quite a heavy sastrugi field. It just really added to the challenge. Basically I was going to be in for a day of tackling essentially an icy obstacle course, blindfolded and dragging essentially an [inaudible] behind me, is kind of what it boils down to.

I’m in two minds whether to travel today because I wouldn’t make that much progress in these conditions. It’s the kind of day where you can easily injure yourself – you know, fall over, dislocate a shoulder or break a binding or all the rest of it. But I decided to go out and give it a go anyway. With the reasoning that any distance I make is a bonus.

So yeah I went out and had to really relax, initially the first hour I was getting like frustrated and swearing and cursing and then I kind of realised that it is what is. And I kind of relaxed and just took my time and was just pushing the skis forward and trying to feel what kind of terrain I was on. Just taking the time – the pulk got caught a number of times. I’d just take my time, go back and sort it out and haul it out if I needed to. And I’d stop for a few seconds, catch my breath, settle down and then sort of plod on again. That’s kind of the way the whole day went.

For my exertions I managed 7 nautical miles. I was pretty amazed I’d gone that far because it felt like I’d barely moved. Towards the end of the day – the last couple of hours, I think the surface began to improve. I seemed to encounter less sastrugi. But I can’t be certain because I couldn’t see anything. Yeah hopefully I might well be coming to the edge of it now, which is great. And I just really focus on positive things: once I got back I was relatively warm and dry and boots weren’t hurting too much. So I kind of just focus on the positives and not the difficulties around me – it kind of works. Overall it was a reasonably, as much as it could be, enjoyable day. And I wasn’t too exhausted when I finished. And I did a full 10 hours as well...

Great, just to finish off – a quick shout out to Pete Marston from Skinzophrenic Tattoos in Hereford. Thanks for all your support Pete. And I look forward to doing some more future expeditions with you. I look forward to telling you all about it when I get back.