Cas & Jonesy : 963 km done, 176 km still to cover

Published on 25.12.2011 - Cas & Jonesy : Crossing the Ice

While getting each day closer to the SP, Aussies Justin Jones and James Castrission have still a lot of questions to put forward. They do not have every answer yet.

Last week a smooth week

Their last position (on 25 December) : 88°25'10" S / 82°13'40" W / Gone today : 6 Nm / Since start : 963 km /Still to cover : 176 km.

Excerpts : " ... This week Cas and Jonesy picked up the pace to ski almost 200 km over the last 7 days (compared to 170 km the previous week). They are currently at an elevation of 2,532m – compared to 1742m a week ago.  The temperature has been getting colder due to the climb in elevation and now sits around minus 20 to minus 25 degrees Celsius. With only 300m left to climb to the South Pole, they are thinking about the altitude changes that lay ahead – there is approximately 30% less oxygen there than at sea level..."

The last week of Aussie pair has unfolded smoothly. Besides beaking a ski pole and making somes changes to their ski skins. Here is how it worked : the ski skin is a material that is attached to the bottom of the skis. It helps when skiing up hill. These skins are normally attached to the bottom of the skis with adhesive. But in Antarctica, the adhesives fail and therefore the skins are screwed on the ski into place.

What happened with their ski skins ? On the trail, the bit attached to the front end of the skin (the part meant to protect it) started to come off and so the skis begun to push up the snow, rather than glide over it. After a bit of work, the guys were able to fix the problem and get back on the trail.

Some important questions remain on fire

Amongst importants questions to be resolved one finds :

  • What to drop at each remaining depot ? Considering that Justin Jones and James Castrission (who are on a return trek Hercules Inlet > SP) still have two depots to make, they can't make up their minds. If they drop too much material and gear, that may cause problems further along the trail if ever they need something which has been left behind ; conversely, leaving too little behind will certainly make their last climb to the pole much more unpleasant and difficult.
  • What about the daily needed amount of calories ? Another problem is the food rationing which is underway since days and days already. In any case, this drives the guys hungry. In addition, they stay outside skiing and kiting 9.5 hours now instead of 8.5 hours before ; it means that thir bodies are running on little energy ; they certainly miss the 6.000 calories they had daily at the beginning of the voyage.
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