Christmas eve meeting

Along the way an Antarctica, something unbelievably strange happened.  I heard a voice calling out my name in the literal middle of nowhere.  Having traveled over 300 miles at that point, it never occurred to me that someone might come across me.

And yet, it happened.

Vilborg Arna Gissurardóttir was vying to be the first woman from Iceland to solo-ski from Hercules Inlet on the Ronne Ice shelf situated on the Antarctic coast to the South Pole.  This meant she was to receive no outside assistance, either to move her equipment or to pick up along the way.

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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.

Icy skis

The last 2 days of travel were a test of endurance and attitude. The blizzard was pretty easy to tow through, save for the deep snow.

Most of the time the fur ruff on the parka kept the driving snow out, though I eventually broke down and put the goggles on.

Once the sky cleared up, it was full shield time to prevent getting roasted. I stopped every hour to eat 200 calories and drink. It was such a warm blizzard that I was down to my wool shirt and parka. Not bad for 25mph winds.

I camped above Lewis lake and enjoyed another 6 inches of heavily wind driven snow. The Hilleberg tent handled the wind with aplomb. I’m still not perfect setting it up in the snow but much better.

The last day was the toughest. Period.

Even though most of it was down hill, it was 34 deg, causing everything to get soaked and my skis to ice up. The lower in altitude I got, the worse it became. I tried putting on different wax and that helped at the higher elevations.

Once I got to the ranger station, the ski situation went to the pit. No matter what I did, the skis iced up. At more than one point there were fist sized ice balls in both top and bottom. This added 3-5 lbs to each ski.

Stomping broke the ice off but only for a few steps. I did keep up on the eating and felt so much better all the way in.

If took 1:45 to travel the same distance out downhill that it took one hour uphill going into the park. Bad!

Great time over all and plenty of lessons learned.

Rossignol BC 90 Positrack Backcountry Skis Review

The Rossignol BC-90 Positrack Backcounty skis ended up being a great ski for me on my

On the road in Yellowstone at -10 degrees

second expedition across Yellowstone in January 2011. In Jan 2010, I had the 189 skis with no skins and could not tow my sled at all with those skis. Originally, the thought was that I needed maximum floatation when traveling through the back country with those skis. They did have great float, virtually as good at my ultra-light snow shoes. Continue reading “Rossignol BC 90 Positrack Backcountry Skis Review”