Pole to Pole Run with Icetrek Expeditions

May 04

Dispatch #36

Published at 01:37
Dispatch created from email
A superlative day on many fronts. The temperature has been in the twenties which has helped freeze the leads, partially at least. We've had the good fortune to ski over some of the narrower ones today, gingerly, and rafted a wider one. There are still many large ponds about but they are solidifying, the slow freezing spawning immense frost flowers on their dark menisci. The cooler temperatures also contribute to a faster pace in order to stay warm. The recent snow is also beginning to form a crust and should be ripe in a few days if the cold conditions hold out. Also favourable is the N/S alignment of sastrugi and snow drifts, a remnant indicator of the wind directions of recent storms. These, together with the sun/shadow, are perfect navigation tools rendering the compass temporarily redundant.
The diurnal change in sun altitude is now palpable and at 1pm the sun hovers high and directly ahead, directly above our end point, Ward Hunt Island. We now feel the warmth of it on our faces as we stop for our three 20 minute breaks. The good run gave us 21km and we are now camped 268km from Canada, with, as the ptarmigan flies, 512km behind us to the North Pole. Today marks four weeks on the trail and we predict another two, more or less. In another few days, after our sleds have lightened a little more, we'll add another 30 minutes of hauling time to our day. I don't expect we'll get a clear run through to Canada, days of water,
pressure, wind, poor light and deep snow will surely follow, but it wouldn't be the Arctic without them, or an expedition without cursing them.
We are a well-oiled team. Our rafting of leads takes no more than 25 minutes or so and we all know our roles. Clip two sleds together, attach ferry lines, I go across, using a shovel as a paddle if it's water or an ice axe if it's thin ice, pull back the raft, Clark comes over followed by his sled Frankenstein on top (no longer watertight due to its operation), Jose and his sled Nanukin next and then Pat. Disassemble and off we trundle.
Thanks for all your messages. We do receive them but we can't reply.

  • Accumulated distance: 523 km
  • Distance to go: 269 km
  • Name: Camp 28
  • Elevation: 1 m
  • Latitude: 85° 2731North
  • Longitude: 77° 4315West


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