One Day at a Time

Published on 14.04.2007 - The Arctic Arc

Whiteout - Copyright: IPF

Whiteout - Copyright: IPF

© International Polar Foundation

Even though we are experiencing a warm and quite stable beginning of spring under our latitudes, this is not the same story up North. Alain and Dixie have shifted from a beautiful Friday to a white Saturday.

Indeed, Friday was a cold (-24°C) but sunny day, starting with northwesterly winds and ending with a weakening southwesterly in the evening. This allowed them to charge the battery packs, but the day was made difficult due to ice conditions. Indeed, they proceeded all day in a zigzag course, looking for the best path around many water stretches. After eight hours, they had expected to cover more than the 14.2 Km they actually did, but decided to stop for the night, 191 Km from the North pole.

Saturday started with a typical good news-bad news story: the night wind had pushed them about 7 Km, 5 of which towards the north, getting them closer to the pole... but they were facing an all-white day.

The barometer is diving, weather is lousy, there is no visibility at all and the wind is picking up. Even though the temperature is a warm -4°C, the ice conditions are good and the skis slide easily. However, they face again the water and numerous ice chaos: under the white conditions, the ground level is invisible and the only items they can spot are some huge blue ice blocks but only when they are 20 to 50 meters away.

After 7 hours, they decide it is too dangerous to pursue in such conditions, too much water, everything is wet and no visibility, so they locate a spot to set camp, close to old ice blocks, where they are sure thickness is safe for the night. The barometer continues going down, the wind is fiercer by the minute and setting camp is somewhat of a struggle.

Tomorrow will be another day.

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