Conditions improve for Stancer
Published on 21.04.2007 - Mars North Pole Solo
Over the past few days, conditions have improved somewhat for the Briton in terms of making progress. All of a sudden she is moving more quickly.
First of all there has been an area of ice where the drift has worked in her favour, which was something Rosie had been waiting and hoping for with some impatience. Stancer had had nothing but negative drift, virtually since the beginning of her trek. Then conditions improved: the ice has become less chaotic (although still full of cracks and channels of open water), the wind has dropped, visibility has improved and the temperatures have become less harsh. All of which means that for the past few days, Rosie has made better, faster progress.
And with these new conditions helping, she has taken advantage of the situation and has 'gone for it'. For a start, she is skiing for over twelve hours a day. "Rosie has been stretching out her days to 12 and a quarter hours of marching a day", says here progress report for 15th April, "and this has taken its toll physiologically with some strained muscles giving her difficulty, but hopefully Rosie's improved mileage will be able to buy her a rest day when her next resupply comes." She is also rationing her food carefully so that she can delay the time when she needs to take on new supplies. That way, she can do as much distance as possible with a 'light' sledge. Her website for 14th April reports: "Rosie has been eking out her rations today to lengthen the amount of time with a light sledge before a resupply, while this hasn't affected her strength, Rosie has been feeling hungrier than normal and could be found dipping into the ice with her spoon to retrieve a spare pine nut that had escaped her attention."
On 16th April, she had another major scare when her left leg went through the ice. Extract from her website: "Midway through the day, Rosie was crossing a lead when her left boot cracked through the ice and her leg plunged into the water below. The water swirled over the top of Rosie boot and into her socks and drenched the left side of her body. Shivering and wet Rosie pulled herself to safety and sped on trying to keep herself warm. However, the wet clothing and increasingly frozen boot meant that she stopped after a mere 11 hours of hauling her sledge through this frozen wilderness. It would be a long night ahead as each piece of clothing must be dried over Rosie's tiny sputtering stove, the frozen straps of her snowshoes must be melted and all this moisture meticulously expelled from the tent. Possibly not the most relaxing way to spend an evening..."
- Her position on 16th April: 85°32'49" N / 62°40'20" W
- Distance covered since her departure: 147 nautical miles (272.2 km)
- Distance remaining to the Pole: 268 nautical miles (496 km)
- Average distance covered daily since setting out: 6.6 km
- At that pace, she should reach the Pole in 75 days' time, i.e. the beginning of July!