90 minutes’ skiing, 7 minutes’ break…

Published on 07.12.2009 - Kaspersky Commonwealth Antarctic Expedition

It took a good week for the ladies of the Kaspersky Commonwealth Expedition to adapt to the specific routine required for every expedition. Normally, we tend to hear about the same rituals and habits out on the ice. But this time around, there is something extra going on out there...

It's one of the constant features of polar expeditions: even though they may be seasoned explorers and used to conditions at the poles, it often takes expedition members a number of days to get comfortably moulded into their new routine. That means establishing the timetable for being on the move, the position of each person in the line, the interval between breaks, the intricate dance of getting up in the morning and settling down again in the evening after the day's march. Of course, very often everything depends on their living conditions, the weather and the ups and downs of the terrain.

But with this ladies-only expedition, we have come across something new, something we weren't expecting – and all the more so, perhaps, because we are dealing with women. And what is this great new discovery? It's the military-like routine that the girls are putting themselves through each day. Here's what's happening: of course there's no bugle call to mark reveille, but come 6 o'clock sharp, the ladies all have to be up! Departure time is 9.00 am, but it is especially during the day's march that the military side of things comes particularly to the fore. The girls ski in 'runs' of 90 minutes, which each one taking the lead in turn. Once the 90 minutes are up, there's a break of precisely 7 minutes, not a minute more – they have even taken a timer along with them to time their breaks. And when the bell rings, they know their rest period is over and it's time to get back on the 'road' again. Until now, they have been doing 5 runs (of 90 minutes each) per day, but their leader believes that the team will shortly be stepping up to six runs a day. Final military feature of the day: every evening – at 8.10 pm precisely – one of the ladies calls base at Patriot to send back the latest news and especially to report their position for the evening.

Whatever we mere mortals may think of it, it appears that this rhythm suits the girls well. Because at the moment, the group is ahead of its best-case scenario. And they have even begun to calculate the actual day when they will reach the Pole!

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