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Sunday, 27 May 2018 01:33

Skiing in a Whiteout

Tough day today. The visibility was nil, there was absolutely no contrast, there was wind in the face, and snow. A whole lot of nothing to look at but the backs of team mates and the butts of dogs.

To ponder what this is like imagine that you somehow ended up in a jug of milk. It's white everywhere. To the right, to the left, above you, below you, there is nothing but white. It can be hard to tell which way is up and down! When you encounter a drift in the snow you have no idea if it will be a tiny bump or a big hill. You just keep putting one foot in front of the next, trusting that it will all be good - a little like being led while you are blindfolded.

Like a GPS scanning the sky for a signal your eyes scan the horizon (which you can's see) for anything other than white. Your eyes scan back and forth, back and forth, looking for anything that will act as any sort of reference. And there is nothing. It's exhausting, and some what mind numbing work. But it's also pretty cool. At least for a while. After a day of it you are ready to hit the sac and dream about sunshine. As hard as a day like this is, it's good to have one or two of them behind you. Days like these make you appreciate all the other days where you can actually SEE! And when the sun finally comes back you feel like you've won the lottery!

The weather for tomorrow looks to be similar, but maybe a little less windy. As they approach the east coast they have a goal and a timeframe and they are working hard to get these two to match. They are all ready, willing and even excited to put in some hard days but a little cooperation from the weather would help!

Heather writes:

May 26th Snow cubed!!!
27.5 km skied, 26 km closer to destination (see below), 6664 ft elevation. -10 and windchill. We had huge snow drifts, big headwind blowing snow, and snow fall = snow cubed. The only tether to planet earth, allowing us to separate up from down, was gravity (thanks Sir Isaac). A complete whitewashed pallet with our jackets providing the only slashes of color. If I had been leading we would have wandered around in circles (always hard for me to relinquish control...). The guides used a chest mount compass to try to keep direction on target, hence the 1.5 km difference between total skied and our goal. Remarkable really as I had no idea where we were going the entire day. Unfortunately same weather expected tomorrow.


We have a photo to post but I'm having some technical difficulties with it. The photo is of Eric, wearing his goggles, a big grin on his face and nothing but white behind him. 

If we receive an audio dispatch we will post it. In the meantime everyone is doing well, and probably sleeping VERY well too!

Check back again tomorrow for another update from the icecap!