Today, along with Ruth and guide Carolyn, I skied to a patch of blue ice about 3.5km away to conduct some science experiments for Ruth’s project. The ski there was great as it was downhill on hard packed snow, except that as we neared our destination we noticed the tell-tale signs of crevasses. We stopped and investigated one patch in great detail with an ice axe, the snow fell away easily to reveal a hole that extended out of sight, at least 30ft … we went round that patch, took our skis off and hopped over another few, smaller, dodgy patches until we reached hard blue ice.
After a few hours of hunting around for Cryoconite (Ice Dust) we headed for home, a much harder task than getting there as it was uphill and we had to carry our skis on our rucksacks. The walk only took about 1.5 hours, but on arrival back at camp I was shattered. I think, though, that being tired is for a number of reasons:
- keeping warm takes lots of energy
- doing anything takes a lot of effort, for example, getting undressed involves climbing into your tent, getting all the layers off, knocking the ice off them, hanging them up somewhere to dry and then climbing (with great rapidity) into your sleeping bag
- moving around through the snow is hard work
- getting a good nights sleep is hard due to the 24 hours of daylight and the noise of the wind and your tent mate snoring.
Still loving the place, although there are some things that do weigh on the negative side:
- toilet arrangements (pee bottles and ig-loos)
- the fact that everything is frozen (toothpaste and suncream in particular)
- the slightest wind makes keeping warm very hard. Today temperatures are -16 deg C, but this evening a slight breeze has started up (9mph), that slight breeze has brought the experienced temperature down to nearly -30 deg C!
- the unchanging diet. There are three cereal options (ready brek, Jordans superfood bran flakes and alpen), lunch is always the same (cereal and chocolate bars) and there are four choices of dinner (chicken korma – good, chicken tikka – good, tuna pasta – good, spag bol – really good and chilli con carne – horrific).
Tomorrow we'll be ski-ing to another patch of blue ice to look for some more ice, lets hope for fewer crevasses!