Sunday, 21 May 2017 21:12

Vatnajökull Expedition - Smooth descent despite lack of visibility

The team called in from N 64° 08.243, W 016° 27.158.  They are hanging out in their tents, having just finished dinner and a poetry reading session (Robert Service always a favorite on all PolarExplorers expeditions!).  They are around 10 km from the edge of the glacier.  They had a fairly leisurely morning, starting on trail around 10 AM.   Overnight the winds were quite strong as had been forecast but they were comfortable in the protected campsite they had chosen with their wind walls. 

In the morning, the weather was beautiful with bright sun but they could see the weather moving in over the mountains.  They passed some beautiful ice falls and saw some lenticular cloud patterns that were stunning (see photo below) Around mid-day the clouds moved in to fully envelope them, they had 20' visibility at times and the snow became soft and wet as they were going down some steep inclines.  They alternated between skis and boots.  They stayed roped together all day as they were in crevasse territory.  They could see some crevasses in the distance but fortunately did not have any close encounters.  The temperature was around 20° F in the morning, increasing throughout the day to above freezing.  They did find that they had to shed some layers in order avoid over-heating.

They plan to get an early start in the morning and will get picked up around mid-day at the edge of the glacier.  All are looking forward to eating real food tomorrow!  They did express concern that the blog may be making this expedition sound too easy so be sure to listen to (or read the transcription) of Eric's audio update belowLaughing...

Beautiful clouds on our Ski traverse of Vatnajökull

Hello friends, family and followers.  This is Eric calling in from another day on the Vatnajokull Glacier here in Iceland.  It’s our second to last day actually.  We had a beautiful start to the day- bright and sunny as we started to descend down from the top of the glacier.  About halfway down, the clouds moved in and visibility went to almost nothing.  We traveled for about 7 hours, roped up the entire way, covering something like 15 kilometers, and now we are in our tents, and we're close enough to the road where we got a few bars of cell reception and were able to read the blog updates and heard how easy our expedition has been, but I just want to set the record straight.  This has been incredibly challenging and we have each saved each other's lives at least 5 times.  And it's been perhaps the hardest thing that all of us have ever done.  The weather has been trying, and this has just been an epic expedition all around.  So I know it sounds like we've been having fun, but it's really just been brutal and epic and challenging.  And Annie says fun, but for me just epic and brutal and challenging.  So we'll be back in civilization tomorrow if all goes according to plan.  So we will touch base then and thanks for following along.

Does this expedition sound fun to you? Want to join our 2018 Vatnajökull Expedition? Read more about it here.

Last modified on Thursday, 22 June 2017 15:21

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