I awoke at 5 am, packed down tent and was surprised to feel a slight cold puff of wind on my face outside.
The night before I shared my concerns regarding the deep snow and it’s potential to derail the expedition with Sarah. We agreed to eat the proverbial elephant piece by piece and aim for 10km per day and inch towards Kunlun Station and Polar history.
Mentally I was prepared for a straight man hauling day but this light wind was a bonus, or so I thought!
Strap yourself in, the day's proceedings were complicated:
Kite sled 1, 1.5 km forward through deep snow and slightly off bearing for Kunlun. Return to pickup sled 2, run forward 3 km, drop off, return and pickup sled 1 run forward to 5 km mark. Return pickup sled 2 run to 5 km Mark. Both sleds at 5 km mark by lunch I was chuffed. Then things went south.
The wind looked like it was strengthening ( from 4 knots to 5 !) so I took a risk and ran sled 1 all the way to the 10 km Mark. Bear in mind that this is 10 km closer to Kunlun, but because I’m off bearing its 14 km from last camp.
I unhitched from sled 1 and the kite fell from the sky. Try as I might I could not reloft it. I was 7 km from sled 2, and I’d left the skis and skins in sled 2.
Bugger, nothing for it, long walk in deep snow. It took me two and a half hours to get to the sled then four hours to man haul it back to camp 36. I was toast, we got our 10 km but at huge cost in energy. 15 hours to make 10 km in this shitty snow!
The positive is that it’s now only 118 km to our goal and I learnt new tricks;
- Don’t get cocky and shuttle too far ahead. Make a mini sled with skis/skins/harness and keep with you always!
- That 7 km deep snow walk I’ll remember till I’m old and grey.
- Eating the elephant with a teaspoon, but I’m here.