Monday, 11 April 2016

First Journeys

Arrival at camp

It's been a busy time since I got out here with a number of routes to recce and a team of 7 French to collect from Sydkap, as well as trying to get my head around being out here again and all that that entails.

The next big thing to happen is this Iceman ski race that Paul has organised.

Not quite sure why there's a picture of me on the Facebook page. I can't race to save my life

We had to try and make sure that we could get the skidoos round the whole route and there was this glacial col at the farthest point away from base that no one had ever been over on skidoos. Pink line on the map.

We tried a few days ago, to go round anticlockwise and made good progress up the first glacier and down the other side to the east coast.

Roping up for glacier travel

Our roped glacier travel system worked well and the folks are getting used to driving the skidoos roped up.

Building a road over a bare patch........
and driving over it

Going north up the next glacier, the snow got deeper and the ground steeper, so we ground to a halt and had to turn round and called it a day.

The slope behind proved too steep to go up


Next day we tried it in a clockwise direction, the way the people will ski it. This time going south up the glacier to the col, the slopes weren't so steep and we made it to the col, despite a broken drive belt on my skidoo on the way up, bringing everything to an abrupt halt.

Next day up from the other side
I was a bit concerned about committing us all to the descent on the other side, down towards the steep slope we failed on the day before. If we could not get down this part and had to turn round, I had to make sure we could return up the slopes to the col. All the slopes were convex, so I could not see down them.  By driving right to the side of the glacier, I could see the way was OK, until we got to the top of the steep slope and I committed us to the descent and joined our tracks from the day before.

Descending the steep slope that stopped us yesterday

The route was now complete for the race. However, the skidoos can only go round it one way, which luckily, is the way the competitors go.

Today, we have just got back from a 300km long journey to Sydkap and back (green line on the map) to collect the French group. A two day trip, over nighting at Sydkap, with about 7 hours driving each way. We know this route well now, the sea ice is good over that way and over the years I have found short cuts which makes it quicker. There were loads of Polar bear tracks on the sea ice and around Sydkap, with many of the windows broken in the house there.

Looking towards Sydcap and the icebergs

Fixing a broken sledge runner
The French team on their way back

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