17.04.2011 – 10th day on skis
It has been a while since the last update. Either I’ve been too busy/tired to write or we haven’t had enough power for personal blog updates.
Wednesday 13th was a full working day: eight legs and 17,25km as the crow flies. It was a good day of skiing with nice down hill section in the end (we still need to ski because of skins and heavy pulkas but it is easier). I decided that I won’t chance socks or under wear at least for the first two weeks. Just to see how it goes… Hopefully my tent partner Matias can tolerate it.
Thursday was a day of great weather! Sun shine, blue skies, calm, warm (well, -7 Celsius but it felt warm) and I skied without jacket wearing my Finnsvala Powerstretch shirt (superior!). And great views also! We skied 8 legs and made a record day with 18,25 kilometers of progress. At the end f the day we crossed to ski tracks! Apparently we are not the only ones here, but we haven’t seen any one else for a well over week now. We reached the so called Newtontoppen basecamp and planned to launch attempt to the top on the next morning… In the evening the temperature dropped to -26 Celsius. FIrt time I really had some use for my sleeping system.
The weather wasn’t too promising on Friday morning and we postponed the summit bid until 11:00 am. Nine of us (three stayed in camp resting and healing sore heals) started the ski towards the summit. The wind was getting stronger all the time and visibility was dropping accordingly. After 1,5 hours of skiing our guide Vaiska called a U-turn and we returned to camp. We were left 450 vertical meters and few hours of skiin shy of the summit. As the bad weather continued to reign, I decided to celebrate my birthday a day earlier. We made a great cake, 3 liter pot on Minttu-kaakao (actually, we made the full pot twice…) and invited everyone for a visit. Hilleberg Keron 3 GT can easily take 10 people and a stove box… It was a nice day and a special way to celebrate birthday. =)
We were woken up on Saturday morning with very stormy weather and poor visibility. Winds gusted over 18m/s with average speed being over 13m/s. This meant no go for the summit and we started the waiting game in our tents, mostly spending time burying ourselves deeper into our sleeping bags. After some time we took a vote and ended up leaving the basecamp and continuing towards our next goal: Perriertoppen. I was against this but as the weather didn’t improve during the rest of the day, it was a good desicion. We skied 7 legs towards the Perriertoppen basecamp, place with beautifull views called "Little Chamonix".
So we didn’t make it to the top of Newtontoppen but we crossed 79 degress of Northern Latitude which was one of our goals. This means that we have one hit, one miss and two things to try.
Today (Sunday 17th) we skied another seven legs but spent three hours lowering our pulkas down the Gallerbreen with climbing ropes. It was a very steep descent and we had to wear crampons and lowering the pulkas with ropes was the only way to get them down in one piece. But we reached the Perriertoppen basecamp which is insanel corgeus place! I can’t describe the views… Hopefully we get good weather tomorrow so that we can make it to the summit. If we make, the only thing left is seeing a polar bear and that is quite likely during our way back to Longyearbyen as we ski mostly along shores (and via the abandoned Russian town of Pyramdien).
All well for the expedition.
PS. SOrry for the typos, I’m in a hurry writing this. It’s not about the drinks but about the hurry!