Packing the food

I am working on my final food preparations prior to shipment via air down to Chile. I am trying to figure out how to pack 90 days of food into the sled so I still have some room for something.

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90 bags is sure going to be a lot of space. Having everything pulverized & mashed into smaller space would definitely be better.
Also, I am trying to figure out why my bag of simulated food weighs way more than my food weight estimate. Either the packaging lies on some items or I miscalculated. I will figure this out quite immediately.

Static Peak

After 10 years, I was on top of Static Peak again!  At least this time it was not snowing and

Static Peak Marker
Static Peak Marker

storming.  Though, the morning looked really glum, as there was thunder, lighting and rain all around the valley.  The rain did little to help the fires threatening the town of Jackson but it did give us pause for thought when heading up the mountain.

Static Peak, at 11,303′, is a barren peak with no protection in case the weather comes up.  There’s a reason it’s called Static Peak.  After 8 hours of hiking, managing foot hot spots and eating constantly, we stood on the peak.  The hike up is class 3 (so says Wikipedia), so anyone who can scramble over rocks can make it..

Looking north, I didn’t realize that Timberline Lake was actually a lake.  I’ve only seen it covered in snow and ice, so I had (wrongly) guessed it was another permanent snowpack or glacier.

Cathedral Group in Silhouette
Cathedral Group in Silhouette

Coming back was rather interesting, as it got dark by the time we returned to patrol cabin in the heart of Death Canyon.  Yes, that’s the name of the canyon.  And at the west end of the canyon is the accompanying Death Shelf.  I’m not sure why the morbid name stuck to this gorgeous place but I’ll accept it.

Going down at night was exciting, as there is always the worry of running into large

Looking back toward Static Peak Divide, 2000' above
Looking back toward Static Peak Divide, 2000′ above

animals in the dark.  The Surefire EL2 lit up the night perfectly, though it didn’t prevent some stumbling in the darkness.

Oddly, I realized all of my shots of the peak are in video instead of stills.  Thinking in both formats while marching up a mountain is tough.  It was good practice for Antarctica, though.  I’ve got to make sure to come back with an effective set of both stills and video.  It’s not like I can just swing by there again!

Kelly on the edge showing off the Sony RX100 dynamic range
Kelly on the edge showing off the Sony RX100 dynamic range

The Sony RX100 and Sony HX20 seemed to perform admirably.  I’m still going through the video and stills.  But, so far, they look great.  The above were taken with them.  The dynamic range is quite good for a small camera.  That’s what I was hoping for.  A few shots are blurry – no surprise, especially with the wind.  I’ll work with them more so when it’s show time, there will be fewer operator errors.

One problem I found was the 1080p 60Hz from both cameras crushed my 7 year old Macbook pro.  The video barely plays in Final Cut Pro X.  Time to get a new laptop to edit with when I get back!  For this hike, I shot in the 1440x1080i setting.  Hopefully it’ll be easier to edit with for small trips.  I wish they had a 720p setting.

Snowsled.com Sponsorship

Thank you very much to Snowsled.com for your gear sponsorship.  The equipment will be

 

Snowsled.com
Snowsled.com

used to ensure that I and my gear travel safely through the vast Antarctic plateau.  I’m excited to try out the compass holder, relieving my hands to do the most important daily activity – skiing!

Being a British Company, they have set up an outlet in Canada so we North Americans can have access to their unique and helpful products.  If you have a moment, please check out their product line.

To crampon or not

I’ve been debating taking crampons.  Based on the information I’ve received from multiple

Crampons
Crampons

sources, they’re really not necessary.  No need to bring an additional 2 lbs.

From a former Antarctic skier:

We didn’t take crampons. Walked across blue ice with skins on skis. I could walk with my boots.  There was blue ice was halfway at Thiels – we had a resupply there – the blue ice was near the mountains.  I remember Fiona Thornewill, former solo speed ski record holder from Hercules Inlet, had crampons but she dumped them.  She was pretty well organized on the ice.

That’ll be nice!

They’re deleted from the gear list with a big smile next to it.

Idaho Falls Shopping

Road tripped yesterday to Idaho Falls to do some gearing up. Jackson has some resources, but a town of 8,000 people just won’t have everything to prepare an expedition.

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Anything can be ordered online with enough time. However, certain things have to be sized, inspected and handled in person.

Time has begun to run short. I must ship everything out of Salt Lake on October 1. Five weeks isn’t a lot of time to finish things up!

Getting ready

For the past week, I have been working feverishly to prepared to move up to Jackson, Wyoming, to continue my training there. Life in Carlsbad was great but it is not challenging. The hills are difficult to tow and run, but at an elevation of 300 feet, the area does not simulate Antarctica very well at all.

Part of my preparations are to make sure that my vehicle is running decently. At seven years old, it has 230,000 miles on it. Most of those miles originally were from commuting from Temecula to Carlsbad. That is the story of former blog posts, though. Most of my miles now are travel and road trip.

At around 200,000 miles, the head gasket of the engine went. I had it replaced and got a used engine in there. As long as that does not blow up, I should be okay. One of the things that happened when the install was done, though, was the skid plates were reinstalled.

My skid plates were custom bent up by yours truly. As a consequence, they did not fit together as the original factory intended. And, that made things rattle at the right RPM. It made the vehicle sound like a diesel. That annoyed me.

So, I borrowed my dad’s crowbar and made some adjustments, as can be seen in the below picture. It’s funny to take a large steel bar and bang on your trusty vehicle. It doesn’t make much sense, though it worked perfectly.

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Pulverized

It’s amazing how rapidly dragging a tire will pulverize your foot wear. I have absolutely shredded down my old skull crusher boots. I name them as such because when the going gets tough, these are what I go to.

This particular pair of Vasque boots have seen service in Yellowstone, Greenland, Europe, Washington, the Rockies, the Sierras – just about everywhere rough and tumble. They have seen 120° and they have seen -20°. Every time, these waffle stompers have worked perfectly.

So, the old pair are being replaced. I do have some shoe repair material to level them out and maybe make them half serviceable for lawn work but they’re done otherwise.

Long live the trusty boot.

Worn vs new:

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