“Some of the sportiest rides of the voyage…”
Published on 19.12.2011 - Antarctica 2011-12 Legacy Crossing
The fact that since a couple of days Copeland and McNair have interchanged their boots was a good idea : Copeland's toes seems now stable -no spreading of the bite.
Bad weather since days...
What to do when a full blown storm arises ? To go back into the tent and...
Excerpts '16 December) : "... The wind was still building and by the time the tent was up, we were in a full blown storm. Antarctica was serving up a special we hadn’t seen in about twenty days. It was 9:00 O’clock, and from inside our thin shelter, the day seemed shot: we went back to sleep. At least Eric did; I thought this would be a good opportunity to lay down, and listen to music. Well, music is never as good as when you can’t have it! My iPod has been having tantrums about the temperature, and chose to have me pay for it by cutting off tracks unexpectedly, and then refusing to play altogether. I fell asleep with the headphones on, and twenty minutes later was suddenly woken up by Bob Seger blasting out “Against The Wind”–which it chose to play three times in a row before shutting down altogether! ..."
"... Well, that was my morning. I finally joined my fellow traveler in a nap. At 15:30, I stepped outside. The wind, while still strong, had dropped considerably, and visibility was restored to about two kilometers. “Let’s go for it”, I told Eric. I was eager to test the new boot system, as well as–needless to say–put in some miles. By 17:00, we were launching the nine meters for the wild gusty ride described earlier. We pushed until 20:00 and managed a modest 31.7 kilometers. But at least we were out of the tent, and, thankfully, my toe never got chilled!That was the best possible outcome to this chilly sortie, and the best news of the trip so far. Eric, in lending his boot, may well have saved the expedition. While we are both awkwardly dealing with riding two different skis, my boot, at least, is warm enough on his foot. Meanwhile, if storm chasing is not as fun as it sounds, the mission–that I can tell, at this stage–continues. We are back on track! ..."
Here is another page of the story teller
We have said several times already that Copeland is one of the best storyteller of this antarctic session 2011-12. Beter than anyone else, he can explain the unfolding of the day so that it becomes easy to understand and sometimes he even succeeds to give us the way to visualize the people on the ice. And in each update, we can't resist to the urge to publish large extracts of Copeland writings.
Here is another piece of art (17 December) : "... We were slow out of the tent, and when we finally got out at 10:30, the sun had totally disappeared. We rigged the thirteen meter Frenzy’s and faced another downwind rodeo over some pretty chewed up terrain. We were rockin’ and rolling over the sastrugi on a very bumpy ride that required full concentration at all times. The last two days have seen some of the sportiest rides of the trip; not especially fast given the direction of travel, but a real workout. Additionally, since we are moving with the wind, it feels less cold (you don’t feel the wind) which in this case isn’t such a good thing given how physically taxing the ride is. I was sweating bullets, which is not good for the breaks: that is when the body rapidly cools down, in spite of the mild 20C below–outside of wind-chill. The other inconvenience of downwinders, is that the steam from your breath travels in the same direction and at just about the same speed, which makes fogging of goggles very difficult to avoid. I switched to my REVO’s which have been custom vented and managed all day to keep them fog free. They worked great! Downwind travel is slow–basically the same speed as the wind. After two hours, we had covered twenty four kilometers and the effort was considerable. But the good news was that, again, my right foot was warm in the boot, and did not even require thirty minute breaks. Between yesterday’s very cold temps, and today’s mild ones–no cold feet. It seems that we have regained control of the narrative! The wind dropped long enough for us to switch to the fourteen meter Yakuza’s, but soon grew again to blowing snow. On the downwind tack, we are forced to ride at a ninety degree angle to the sastrugi around here and moving at eighteen kilometers per hour in this terrain made for a wild ride! I was concerned with the crack in my sledge, since at that speed, it is difficult to avoid the occasional airborne, and sometime flip. The shake of the sledge is so intense that the cargo is subjected to a real work-over! A bag of peanuts will literally turn to butter! And I am not exaggerating! ...
Their last position (on 17 December) : 80°55.392 S / 041°19.709 E / Elevation : 11677 feet.