Morning silence and afternoon nastiest ice conditions

Published on 13.12.2011 - Antarctica 2011-12 Legacy Crossing

Once more, Sebastian Copeland takes us into the decent (and fascinating) intimacy of his doings, from morning until night. This time he tells us more about the atmosphere in the tent when the pair wakes up. And describes an awful afternoon on the worst ice on earth...

Solemn wakenings

Who else but Copeland could have written that in the tent the "mornings are pretty solemn" ? Perhaps no one. In what way are these wakenings solemn ? Here is his statement (11 December) : "... The mornings are pretty solemn. Aside from a shared interest in the wind conditions, which can generally be ascertained by the flapping of the tent’s fabric–or lack thereof–we tend to keep to ourselves, and not much is said. We go through the daily ritual of melting snow, filling up the thermos’ with Herbalife protein powder and H3O electrolytes while charging the iPods and other electronics of the solar panels. We stuff the sleeping bags in their respective compression sacks, and little by little pack up the various items that made the tent a makeshift house for the night. We brush our teeth, swallow vitamins and Omega 3′s–again, courtesy of Herbalife–and finally get to breakfast. This consists of homemade granola or oatmeal, depending on the days. Either one become rather insipid after week on ends. The former is like chewing on pebbles soaked in water; the latter like eating cardboard soaked in maple syrup. The eating is also done silently, as is the process of suiting up, which follows. ... "

"A rattling brain"

The day before, on 10 December, the day 36 of the journey, Copeland has to do with maybe the worst ice conditions the pair has met since the beginning of the journey. He writes : "... The wind was there, consistent in direction with prior days, and capitalizing -in the first half of the day, anyway- on yesterday’s system. But our theory of good and bad ice alternating every thirty kilometers or so quickly vanished as we bucked and bounced over the nastiest, unrelenting ice conditions over eighty of the 94.34 kilometers we covered in the day. My brain is still rattling as I write this and I may have loosened all my fillings from the shaking that went on all day. It was not fun. Seeing the shredded ice stretch without mercy in all direction actually made me question what I was doing out here. I saw Eric get bounced around as if riding a bull and thought: “Any time now, that binding repair job is going to go, and we’ll be marooned in this hellish ice!” Meanwhile I was thrown around myself like a pantomime, begging for some smooth terrain. For kilometers on end, the ice was so bad that I could not see a spot where we could have set up a tent had we wanted to. It turns out the smoother terrain never came, though the severity mellowed out somewhat in the last hour. ... "

On 9 December (day 35) they have covered 160 km, the next day, they marched 94.34 km and on December 11, they achieved 42 km, having travelled 1.235 km so far.

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