(Digging the tent out of a snow drift)
The storm that hit us raged for three days. With only thirty days of food and fuel, we continued to push each of these days covering as much ground as possible. We had heard the other teams deployed on the ice had gone firm for the storm, though not ideal conditions we figured any progress we could make now would leave us less when our food supplies could be running low. In this weather any flesh exposed to the wind runs the risk of frostbite within seconds, this meant we have been covered head to toe; our goggle and mask combination making us look like something from a sci fi movie.
Once the storm passed, the thrill of the adventure we are embarked on was soon replaced by the sheer monotony of the task in hand; Skiing on one bearing into nothing but endless white soon loses its charm and the main challenge has become how we deal with the boredom each day. It feels almost like we are reliving the same day repeatedly which is incredibly surreal and tedious. Coupled with this we believe the equation we used for food we bought is under what our bodies require and are now beginning to run up a substantial calorie deficit. Hunger pangs, weakness and fatigue are a constant companion, and most legs skiing are spent daydreaming about what meals we will demolish once we return home.
(Searching for the chocolate in our day rations)
The incline, and fresh patches of snow piled up in sastrugis makes going incredibly tough we are doing 10 hour days now and by the end of each we are sore and tired. We have dubbed our tent the “Morale Dome” and it is a ray of sunshine each evening, “hot wets” flow freely once the stove is up and running, and we blast out tunes on our speaker and mp3 combination ranging from Elton John to Dolly Parton and even throw in some D12 for good measure. The rest is well received and the anticipation of being finished during the last leg of each day feels almost like being a child on Christmas eve. Our timings are extremely strict as they should be, each minute longer we take during rest periods we must make up as it will ultimately prove the difference between a successful or a failed expedition.
(The Morale dome in all its glory)
After 11 days of skiing uphill, we reached the summit of the Greenland ice sheet. At 2600m it is much colder up here, however with the gradual incline, it is impossible to decipher our surroundings from any other patch of ice we have travelled across. From here we will change from long to short skins and begin our slow descent of the icecap heading towards DYE2 (an old US radar station). We should begin to cover more ground now which is good as we have been growing increasingly concerned about our progress and the amount of food we have left to last us.
(Changing the skins on our skis)
Dye 2 should be around another 3 days away and from there we will need roughly a week to make it off the ice. Fingers crossed we aren’t slowed down anymore by storms as we really need to start upping our distance otherwise things could come to a head.
Our Expeditions have taken us all over the world, and despite the hardships we endure, we appreciate we are incredibly lucky to have created this opportunity for ourselves. Using the platform of our challenge to raise money for the Royal Marines Charity and Help for Heroes is something we are both honoured to be able to do.
If you are inspired, bewildered or simply feel sorry for us, you can “Chuck us a Fiver” for the 2 charities via the link below.