The Routine’s Hard Learning Curve

Published on 19.03.2010 - Northpolechallenge.co.uk

The hardest thing for the Dan Darley/Amelia Russel duo, now at the beginning of their expedition, has been to learn how to improve their daily routine.

They unequivocally confess as much: during the first days of their adventure (they were deposited on the pack ice on 26 February), it was usual to see Dan and Amelia take more than five hours in the morning - and in the evening roughly the same -  to get ready either to set out or to go to bed. That was a waste of too much time.

That meant that they were having a lot of trouble getting used to the cramped conditions in the tent, for example, getting the stoves to start, another example, getting out the survival rations, and brushing their clothes and the tent. And heaven knows that those brushing sessions are key to an expedition's success. Because if you fail to proceed with what is almost a ritual for all polar explorers, the fine particles of ice that are inside the clothing, the sleeping bag and/or the tent will melt with your perspiration and will freeze on your skin, brrr.... Another example: they also had a lot of trouble putting on their wetsuits, on 14 March (the 16th day of their advance), when they had to wear them to cross an interstitial water channel that was completely barring their path.

But with time, their daily lives and the routine have improved and, even though they are experiencing conditions a thousand times more difficult than the other groups (temperatures less than -40°C, infernal chaos of hummocks and other glacial compressions, etc.  --we wonder why furthermore...), Dan and Amelia seem satisfied with the result of the first twenty days on the pack ice. With nearly 180 kilometres accomplished, in perfect physical shape, with morale as high as a kite, and especially, with equipment that seems not to have unduly suffered...

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