Total white out

Here we have the latest message from Einar:

“Hi. Last two days the weather has been overcast and we have been fumbling our way through the sastrugis in a total white out. This slows down our speed considerably and makes our progress a much harder work. It is even complicated to choose a camp site in the evening since it is hard to see it the snow is flat or not. Yesterday we did only 18 km in 7 hours and 10 min and today we did 19,1 km in 7 hours and 20 min.

df817935-1ddd-4514-9d8c-e94e29920ebc984766666This is how the white out looks like

The weather forecast says that it should clear up tomorrow afternoon and we all look forward to that. My plan to get to Thyls Corner on the 23rd is getting tight and we might not get there until the 24th. Everyone is in good mood despite the hard work and looking forward to arriving to the next cache at Thyls where we will have clean clothes and the possibility to get rid of some stuff we do not need anymore. We are also happy that we have now gone over 500 km or 502 to be exact 🙂

Best regards

Einar”

Camp 25 at 84°14’224 S 80°39’357 W (end of 19th of December)

Camp 26 at 84°24’496 S 80°40’832 W. (end of 20th of December)

Click here to view the progress on a map

– bh

Past the 84th degree south

Einar’s team are now past the 84th degree south. We congratulate them of course. Here is Einar’s latest message:

“Hi. Yesterday was a great day, sunny and bright weather with about 10 knots wind from south and the temperature at -13°C. We still had the monster sastrugis but it was not so hard to find your way through until early afternoon when we had a very hard section. We did 23,9 km in 7 hours and 15 minutes.

ff366574-6191-484d-ab16-01d1be4853cb-1738955142_cropExample of a sastrugi snow wave

Today the weather was sunny but in the late afternoon the sky got covered with clouds. We just managed to camp before we had a total white out. The sastrugis became smaller but at the same time harder to negotiate a good route through the so the day was quite rough. Today we did all four sections with one hour and 50 minutes each, so the day ended with 23,3 km. We have now 113 to go to Thyls corner and the plan is to do that in 5 days.

Best regards
Einar”

Camp 23 at 83°52’026 S 80°43’585 W (end of 17th of December)

Camp 24 at 84°04’526 S 80°38’214 W (end of 18th of December)

Click here to view the progress on a map

 

– bh

415 km and counting

In the morning of the 15th of December, the wind was blowing hard and howling at over 20 knots around 10 am. This of course slowed the team down as the visibility was considerably reduced and the snow conditions got a lot worse.

“Our Rab shelter came very handy in these conditions as it is very difficult to eat outside. The wind born snow drift is more like sand than any normal snow. Pulling the pulkas through this terrible snow, against the wind and through the sastrugis demanded a lot of effort so we stopped early and put up camp. 4,5 hours and 12,7 km.”

Well, not too bad on a very demanding day with rough conditions.

Conditions each day can be very different and a bad day were it´s only possible to cover short distance can be followed by a great day with good weather and a good distance covered.

“This morning [16th of December] the weather was excellent and became one of the three best days we have had during the expedition. No shelter for lunch and good condition. The sastrugis are still very big and in the attached picture you can see the other expedition members sitting in them. We do a lot of zigzag between them and over them when needed and this affects our travel speed but it was still a good day with 23 km in 7 hours.”

20141216_105422No need for the Rab shelter on this beautiful day

That´s much better. They are quite content now, having done 415 km in total. Their plan is still to be at the next cache on the 23rd of December and that means 160 km to go in 7 days.

Camp 21 83°26’879 S 80°36’041 W (end of 15th of December)

Camp 22 83°39’228 S 80°36’796 W (end of 16th of December)

Click here to view the progress on a map

– bh

One third of the way behind

On Saturday the team started out in easy terrain but later on got to an area with big sastrugis and at the same time the visibility got worse. “During some time we did not see a thing, heaven and earth became one inseparable white mass we fumbled our way through.” Still, they managed to do 20,7 km like mentioned in last post.

Yesterday, Sunday the 14th of December, the weather was better than expected. Cloudy forecast but the weather turned out to be excellent. But the sastrugis only became bigger. “Terrain was a bit easier [than on Saturday] in the morning but in the afternoon we got “monster” sastrugis up to two meter high. We did 21,4 km today”

20141214_162419Bill passing one of the sastrugi waves

Total distance they have done now is 380 km and that means they have gone one third of the way. They now have 195 km to the next cache at Thyls corner. Forecast for tomorrow [Monday 15th of December] is very windy so they are going to see in the morning if that will be a rest day or not.

20141213_175253Sastrugis make the surface uneven and harder to ski over

Camp 20 at 83°20’020 S 80°35’620 W (end of 14th of December)

Click here to view the progress on a map

– bh

Heavy loads but good progress in nice weather

Einar and his team got to their first cache recently. The sleds had been getting much lighter as they used up the food and fuel. But after picking up more of both, the sleds became heavy again. Let´s see what Einar him self has to say about this.

“Last two days have been hard work with heavier sleds and rough climbing terrain. It helped that weather has been excellent and yesterday we had lunch for the first time outside in stead of sitting in the Rab emergency shelter we usually use for lunch break. We had no wind during the whole day. Yesterday [10th of December] we did 19,8 km and today [11th of December] 20,4 km. This morning we repaired Tim’s ski, it was delaminating in back and we used super glue to fix it. It seems to have worked.”

In the morning of the 11th of December they passed 300 km and in the end of the day they had done 318 km. Now they have 259 km to go until Thyls Corner where next cache is waiting.

20141211_210754Photo of a typical camp with the toilet in front, a very important building.

Einar tells us that their days have become very routined now.

“We wake up at 6 am, pack our things and have breakfast. We of course need to melt a lot of snow for the breakfast and to drink during the day. That can take up to one and a half hour. We normally start skiing at 8:45 and we ski 4 sections of one hour and forty five minutes each. We have two short breaks and one long where we put up the Rab emergency shelter so we can sit longer and eat. We normally stop between 5:30 and 6:00 pm and put up the camp. That takes up to one and a half hour and then of course we have dinner. Dinner is finished around 9:00 and we are normally snoring (according to Tim) soon after 10. Yesterday [12th of December] the terrain was better than Wednesday and we did 21,4km and today [13th of December] we did 20,7 km in sastrugis that became quite big by the late afternoon.”

SP_teamThis is how they look like during the day

Camp 16 at 82°34’960 S 80°48’588 W (end of 10th of December)
Camp 17 at 82°45’895 S 80°42’719 W (end of 11th of December)
Camp 18 at 82°57’424 S 80°41’577 W (end of 12th of December)
Camp 19 at 83°08’547 S 80°40’925 W (end of 13th of December)

Click here to view the progress on a map

– bh

Past the 82nd degree

We were just receiving the latest info from Einar and his team:

“Hi. Yesterday started well with beautiful weather and moderate wind. We saw Mt. Goodwin for the last time. In the early afternoon the wind started to blow stronger and was very quickly over 20 knots. We battled against it for a while but in the end we decided that it would be better to save the energy for later so we camped early after mere 16,9 km in 5 and a half hours. Today we had good conditions and advanced well and did over 24 km in 7 hours.”

 ec70eff2-dab3-4358-846e-86d2b6b1287a58532977Einar to the right and, hmmm… who´s that 🙂

“We had wind from the south east which is unusual since the catabatic winds are from south west. Today was the first one without seeing any mountains at the horizon. We are now alone in this white desert. We have passed the 82 degree and we have only one day left to reach our first cache.”

6559031b-b019-49e7-9107-d2486214e6d9-284078144At camp 13

The team is well and we are all happy and of course we toasted to a new degree with whisky.
Best regards, Einar”

Camp 12 81°51’449 S 80°31’528 W

Camp 13 82°04’322 S 80 °45’526 W.

– bh

Celebrating 200 K’s

When things are going well, it´s time to celebrate. Here is a fresh email from, Einar:

“Hi. Last two days we have advanced well. Over 23 km each day. Today we also gained 80 m altitude after having lost a total of 60 m in last 3 days. Tonight we toasted in whisky for having done 200km. And of course we listened to music on Tims ipad during dinner. We are now at 218 km and 3 days from our first cache.

Weather has been sunny and sastrugis are not to big, but always there. Temperature is fairly warm now at -9°C which is much easier than the -17°C we had a few days ago. We still walk with masks and that protects the face from sun burns. Camp 10 81°29’617 S 80°22’681 W and camp 11 81°42’361 S 80°29’882 W

Best regards,
Einar”

– bh

Two days of good weather

After a weather day at Camp 7, Einar and the team got two days in a row with good weather and they of course used them well after one day of resting.

“Last two days have been good. Weather has been fine, winds from 4 to 12 knots, sunny and temperature -13°C. Yesterday we did 22 km and today [3rd of December] we did 23 in 7 active hours. Today we have still been seeing two summits to the west and I wonder if they are Mount Goodwin and Tidd. I guess the distance is close to 100 km away from us. All is well with the group, just few blisters as to be expected.”

ET_samanFine weather for the last two days

Camp 8 (end of 2nd of December) at 81°04’531S 80°31’070W

Camp 9 (end of 3rd of December) at 81°16’795 S 80°27’132W

– bh

Weather day at Camp 7

At Camp 5, Einar and the team had done 90 km in total and gained around 850 vertical meters. After a bit of a disappointing day, a much better one followed.

“Yesterday [the 29th] was a good day. We where on the move for 7and half hour. Weather started to improve and so did terrain. We still have sections of sastrugis and the day ended with a sastrugi area. We made 22 km. Camp 6 at S80° 41′ 982 and W 80°27’540. We still could see Ellesworth mountains and the three sails to the north.“

a07ae994-5931-4082-aa33-a73729ca5b91-1451239750At camp 6

30th of November was a bit colder day than before, -17°C and 12 knots wind. “We had a good deal of sastrugis and a lot of this famous sandpaper snow. We moved for 7hours and did 20,6 km. Camp7 a.t 80°53’040 S and 80°26’878 W. We still see the Ellesworth and for a while we saw two peaks in the East.”

c7113700-2848-4d2f-8343-38399867b5b7729732670A selfie from Einar Torfi 

Yesterday morning the wind was even stronger, about 20 knots and a lot of spindrift. “We have decided to have a storm/rest day and gather strength for the week it will take us to push to our first cache. We used the opportunity to screw the skins under our skis, read, listen to music and tend to other similar things. Every one is fine.”

ed5e86c4-232c-4ad5-8309-0499dfeb5118-615196700Waiting time was used to screw the skins on the skis

It´s great we are getting a steady flow of information from Einar about the teams progress. In general things are going well and the rest day will for sure just do them good.

– bh

Good days, bad days…

26th of November, Einar and his team arrived at Camp 3 (80°12’579 and 80°33’941) after walking in a white out for 6 hours and 16 minutes.

“Very hard to negotiate Greenland size sastrugis when you don’t see a thing. Altitude at 771m which is half the gain for next 550 km. Thyl camp is at aprox 1500 m 550 km away. Temp in camp -12 wind 2 m/s . Plan is to walk 7 active hours tomorrow. With less height gain we should be faster.” Einar told us in a message in the end of the day.

db7bdea0-1d3d-4e89-948a-e2093e9d3b3f-781188147Hugh and Einar looking good

In the latest message from Einar that we were just receiving, Einar tells us that they indeed had a good day yesterday like he was hoping for.

“We had our first full day of 7 hours. During the day we had white out conditions which improved by the end of the day. In the white out it is much harder to navigate a good route through the sastrugis.”

In the end of the day they had done 18,2 km. Camp 4 at 80°22’392 w80°29’669.

Next day was a bit tougher. “Today [28th] total white out the whole day. Disappointed with the progress. Mere 14,2 km in 7 hours.”

Camp 5 at 80°30’005 80°26’548. -13C 8m/s

Well, good days and not as good days so far. All normal and we keep on following the teams every (almost) move.

– bh