Another record for pair Copeland/McNair ?
Published on 10.12.2011 - Antarctica 2011-12 Legacy Crossing
After their Greenland record of last year (595 km in 24 hours kiting), pair Copeland/McNair might well beat another one this year, the slowness record ...
All this story concerns the day 34 of their expedition, 8 December. The day before (7 December, day 33) it was a forced rest day, not a whiff of wind (the day before, they had done 80 km).
The morning of the 24th day saw dead calm conditions again. So they did not have anything else to do but waiting tentbounded until the wind show his face again. Around midday, the tent's fabric began to flutter. Branle-bas-de-combat/General Quarters ! Pair was back again on the ice with the tent already packed in the sled. And yes they were on the move... But not for long.
Copeland on 8 December : "... A few slow meters, and a pause. When the sledge buttered against a piece of ice, the pause would extend beyond its welcome, and then fastidiously screech along with more theatrics than gusto. We were going nowhere. During a lull, my kite fell out of the sky and collapsed, lifeless, on the ice. The next weak gust moved it around just enough for the seventy five meter lines to get snagged again! I looked behind me to see Eric’s kite take the shape of a mushroom as it, too, fell to the ground. Twenty minutes, and we had covered one kilometer–or an average speed of three kilometers per hour! We decided to set the tent, as temporary shelter to see if conditions would improve. An hour later, they seemed to pull back some and we called it a day. Twenty minutes after that and the wind had shut off completely. There are times, and this is one of them, where the best thing to do–the only thing to do, in fact–is to surrender. No point in whining. Antarctica is serving us its array of conditions. And at the altitude we are traveling at to reach the POI, weak winds are on the menu. ..."
Result : distance covered by kite this day : 1.1 km and distance covered on foot : 31 meters ! A new record perhaps ?
Copeland the day before (after a day in the tent) : " ... Dead calm days, like storms, should always be factored into the accounting. But on that note, optimism–sometimes idealism, occasionally naivete–is, by necessity, the additional member of an expedition. The will to make it and the belief that you can are necessary bed fellows on this type of mission. You cannot sign on without a positive outlook. Still, I thought we would break our first one thousand kilometers today. There is always tomorrow. Oh, cruel nature…"