“We will not move until Mr catabatic goes away ...”

Published on 28.04.2009 - Hubert at the Humboldt

Larry Hunt and Alain Hubert are facing quite strong catabatic winds during their ascent to the plateau. This time, it's Larry who wrote to us. (You can follow their progression on the map published under the Follow-up section)

Larry Hunt wrote : "I am sound asleep when I feel the whole tent lifting up and sliding around. At first I thought that I had overslept and that Alain was playing a little joke by unfolding the tent but when I see him in his sleeping bag loking as alarmed as me and I hear the wind howling on our tent, I realized that the wind wasthe culprit. Panic in the tent, Alain rushes out to stabilize the tent with ice screws and icepicks."

"Being tired the night before and not having seen the wind since we arrived in Greenland, we had been negligent in the anchoring of the tent. this will not happen again! The culprit is called "Catabatic Wind" ('Piteraq' is its local name in Greenland, it has been recorded at 230km/h on the east coast)Âblowing constantly at 60-70 km/h (40m/h)."

"As it dies down, we dismantle the camp and start ascending the ice cap. Unfortunately, Mr Catabatic quickly returns and stayed with us the whole day. We ascend unfortunately facing it without being able to see more than a few feet in front of us, face down trying to avoid the snow hitting our face, face completely covered, and quickly looking like icicles and covered with ice. "

"Alain estimates that the windchill factor brings the temperature down to -30°C (-22°F) we climbe for 7 hours stopping only twice for 5min as it is too brutal to stop more. The most comfortable position is moving which creates the internal heated for our frozen faces and hands. As our hopes of the wind stopping never materialize, we decide to set up our tent which required all of Alain's skills, experience and talent to succeed without breaking it. The decision is easy, we will not move until Mr catabatic goes away so lets turn on the TV and relax- welcome to the arctic! "

Their position yesterday : 77° 55' 36" N / 68° 22' 10" W
Photo: Larry typing this email in our tent.
Please find here more about the 'Catabatic Winds' (from Wikipedia)

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