A well-deserved first day of rest!

Published on 05.12.2008 - Finnish South Pole Expedition 2008

For the past 7 days, Kari Poppis Suomela and Pasi Ikonen have made good progress, despite the conditions, which have been difficult at times. Morale is good and both of them are very confident.

From 26th to 29th November, the two Finns had to contend with a real pea-souper, with visibility virtually nil. But taking advantage of the fact there was almost no wind, they broke new speed records, covering an average of 26.5 km per day. As the terrain was quite rough, the two explorers also demonstrated their ingenuity: "We left two 30-metre ropes dragging behind the leading sledge so that the second one could follow the tracks," reports Poppis. "Then we swapped position every quarter of an hour." "When evening came, having poor visibility makes things more complicated," continues Pasi, "because to choose a good site to put up the tent, you have to roll around on the ground to create a few square metres that are sufficiently flat so that you don't break your back when you lie down."

On the afternoon of 29th November, the wind picked up and the clouds thinned. The two men were delighted to be able to 'see' again, but the headwind slowed them down a little. With the return of the wind, the cold, or the feeling of cold called windchill, also came back. This meant taking shorter breaks. "It takes about 30 minutes of walking for your hands and body to heat up again and feel good," they explain. "But in one sense, the difficult conditions and the feeling of coping with them are quite good fun, making getting back into your tent after a 10-hour march into the wind in temperatures of minus 20ºC even more welcome," they add.

On 30th November, after battling into a wind howling at approximately 40 km/h, they got out their Advent calendar. With it came a new challenge: which will finish first, the calendar or the two Finns' expedition?

On 2nd December, after three weeks out on the ice, Poppis and Pasi took a 'day off'. They had originally planned to take a break from time to time and thought they would leave their 'days of rest' for when storms might stop them from making any progress. But it's good for the body to stop sometimes and as there has been no storm, there they were, asleep in their tent, doing a bit of maintenance on their equipment and... watching a film on their 6 inches screen, munching popcorn!

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